Wroclaw, Poland (July 21, 2017) – The U.S. jumped into their World Games campaign against a familiar opponent – Colombia. After facing off twice at TEP earlier this year – games the teams split 1-1 – they know each other well, so there shouldn’t have been much surprise in store.
The first few points went as expected – the U.S. starting on defense, and the offenses holding for 2-1, with Colombia in front. Then Colombia’s poachy defense starting causing some problems for the U.S., making it difficult for cutters to find open lanes and forcing difficult throws into tight spaces and, sometimes, directly into the poaches. Sticking with their bread and butter, Colombia used quick movement and plenty of give and goes to march their way down the field and to a big lead. The defensive pressure from the U.S. was there, forcing Colombia to work in small spaces, but that suited them just fine. A Callahan took Colombia into halftime up 7-3.
Starting the second half on offense, expectations for a quick U.S. hold were high, but a floaty throw into the end zone was knocked away by Colombia, and the score was quickly 8-3 in their favor. But with some defensive adjustments and a renewed commitment to taking away Colombia’s under cuts and stopping some of their give and goes – along with a healthy dose of Dylan Freechild – the U.S. started to claw their way back. Huge pulls from Jimmy Mickle gave the U.S. the opportunity to set up the defense deep in Colombia’s end zone, the U.S. women worked to contain the huge play-making ability of the Cardenas sisters and Yina Cartagena, and Grant Lindsley and George Stubbs took away countless underneath and reset cuts, all of which combined to force several high-stall throws and rushed execution from Colombia. Then Freechild took over on offense, using his quick first step to always be available for resets and short gains on strike cuts. Watching Freechild and Sarah Griffith, along with the other U.S. women, eat up yards was a thing of beauty. In the midst of an 8-1 run, Freechild was responsible for five goals: two assists and three scores.
The U.S. broke to take their first lead at 11-10, with Freechild doing work on the defensive side of the disc as well; he had two Ds on that point alone. Another break put the U.S. up 12-10 in a game to 13, but Colombia wasn’t finished yet. Miscues from the U.S. on consecutive points gave Colombia the opportunities they needed. Colombia finished out the game with back-to-back breaks to complete the upset, defeating the U.S. 13-12.
Afterward, coaches Alex Ghesquiere and Matty Tsang turned the team’s focus to the positive aspects of the game – that they were able to make up five breaks in the second half, and end up plus two in that category when they pulled ahead 12-10, and knowing what they are capable of going forward.
With the rust shaken off and their first game behind them, it’s full speed ahead for the U.S. as they look ahead to their second game of the day. They’ll face another familiar opponent, Canada, at 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. EDT).