Heidelberg, Germany (July 20, 2019) – The U.S. Under-24 Men’s National Team earned the gold medal at the 2019 World Under-24 Ultimate Championships in Heidelberg this afternoon, defeating our neighbor to the north, Canada, 15-12. On a warm afternoon in Germany, the wind started to swirl, but overall, it didn’t seem to impact the play on the field. The game was a little contentious at times and also incredibly hard fought on both sides.
The teams traded a couple turns apiece as everyone settled in on the first point, but the U.S. eventually held, Mac Hecht to Tannor Johnson – who else? Throughout the game, the U.S. defense primarily defaulted to their spongy set, at least to begin with. It helped get the first break of the game for the U.S. to jump out 2-0, but the lead didn’t last long. Canada held then broke on back-to-back points to go up 3-2. After crumbling out of the spongy look, we worked hard to force them underneath, using the last person in the stack to played heads up and help on any deep looks. The defense did an especially great job of clamping down around the end zone.
On the other side of the disc, Canada’s primary zone look was a tall, four-person cup, always an exciting proposition for the U.S. handlers. Hecht, Elijah Long and Eric Taylor, who spent a fair amount of time on the offensive line today, ran things from behind the cup, with people like Henry Fisher, Xander Cuizon Tice and Tannor Johnson doing a great job of popping through the middle and working the open spaces on the sidelines.
With the game tied at 4-4, Tim Schoch knocked down an around pass, after a great mark from Chance Cochran, and set Cochran, Cole Wallin and Eric Sjostrom to work. Sjostrom played what might be the game of his life this afternoon, completely taking on the distribution role for his D line. A beautiful away throw up the line to Cochran was Sjostrom’s first of two assists on the day and a huge break for the U.S. Now in front 5-4, the U.S. got another break right away when Canada just missed on the same kind of throw Sjostrom has just done perfectly. With pressure on his shoulder, Walker Matthews went up to reel in a huck from Eric Taylor, and a couple resets later, the U.S. was up 6-4. One more break before the half put the U.S. in front 8-5, a lead they maintained through the rest of the game.
On game point number one, at 14-12, the U.S. put out a great crossover line. Throughout the game, lines were a little tighter than they had been through the rest of the week, and players like Eric Taylor, Sol Yanuck, and John Randolph crossed over to the offensive with some regularity. All three were on the field at 14-12, convenient when we missed wide on our shot into the end zone. Taylor got a hand on what ended up being the assist for Canada, but they managed to bring it in on the second chance effort. But on take two, the U.S. was successful. They marched the disc down the field. Randolph reset to Eric Taylor who dumped to Leandro Marx. Randolph slashed upfield and into the end zone, just beating the Canadian defender who poached off the stack to try and make a play, to get the gold-medal-winning goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team.