Another day, another domination.
USA cruised to its second victory of the World Championships on Saturday at ESPN Field, handling Blue Division foe Australia 19-1.
The Americans controlled the game from the first face-off, piling up 14 before Australia got onto the scoreboard 56 minutes into the game, proof positive of a defensive clinic.
“They communicate so well,” said American attackman Marcus Holman, who scored a hat trick on the day, of his team’s defense. “If the ball is on the ground, they get it up so quickly. They’re really great at first-time ground balls.”
USA’s transition play in particular was clicking, with several of the team’s goals coming off the break. Even when the Americans weren’t able to turn transition opportunities into goals, they found plenty of value in moving upfield quickly and avoiding any chance of a turnover in their own half.
Improving in transition was something Holman said the team zeroed in on after defeating the Iroquois Nationals 17-9 on Thursday.
“It was something we had mentioned after watching the film,” Holman said. “I think we only had two transition opportunities against the Iroquois, and we had a few more today. I think we did a good job of capitalizing when we had them.”
Australia’s shot quality wasn’t where it would have hoped, with plenty of the team’s looks on net going stick-side high, easy work for American goalies John Galloway and Jack Kelly.
“The American defenders are very good at getting on gloves, we couldn’t get our hands free to make that bounce shot that we wanted,” said Australia head coach Glenn Meredith. “It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but credit to the American defense. They put us under tremendous pressure. It’s a learning experience for us.”
Despite the defeat, Meredith found silver linings in his team’s performance. In the third quarter, Australia was outscored only 2-1 and managed to hold America to five in the fourth, possible good signs for the Aussies moving forward.
“We only play at this level once every four years,” Meredith explained. “It took us probably half a game to adjust to the level, but by then the score was out of our reach. We know where the level is now, and if we start at that level, then we should be just fine.”
USA didn’t escape cleanly, though, as Kelly left the game after a non-contact injury during an attempted clear in the third quarter. After the game, he was seen limping off the field on crutches with a bandage around his right knee.
“From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t look great,” Holman said. “I hope he’s able to help us out moving forward.”
USA matches up next against archrival and reigning gold medalist Canada on Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPN Field. Australia will be back in action Sunday at 8:15 p.m. versus the Iroquois Nationals on Epoch Field.