A 60-minute thriller culminated in the last two minutes of play with back-to-back goals. Denise Krimerman scored with less than 20 seconds on the clock to power Chile 4-3 over USA, marking the first time ever that the Pan American Cup final will not involve Argentina and USA and the first time Chile has ever won against USA in official competition.
It was end-to-end action right off the bat as USA earned their first penalty corner just seconds in to the game. Ashley Hoffman’s flick bounced into the bottom corner sending the packed stands at Spooky Nook into a roar. With USA leading 1-0, Chile was poised to equalize. Manuela Urroz gained the circle and ran the baseline but her pass intended for Krimerman was well intercepted by USA defender Amanda Magadan. USA had a flurry of chances as Jill Witmer blazed past two defenders to blast a hard shot but it was saved well by Chilean keeper Claudia Schuler in the 4th minute. Witmer hit the post in the 12th minute as if it was a sign of what was to come.
Chile pressured high up the pitch and were able to intercept a pass to USA captain Melissa Gonzalez. Urroz crafted her way through the circle but her shot was blocked. The loose ball was then smashed in by Josefa Salas to equalize the game 1-1. Chile extended their lead in the 20th minute when Urroz deflected a pass sent into the circle. USA keeper Jackie Briggs misread the bounce and the off-pace ball snuck through her pads for Chile to take the lead 2-1.
USA had three-consecutive penalty corners in the 23rd minute but they couldn’t capitalize. Moments later USA stripped Sofia Walbaum at the 23-m line and Sharkey charged the circle and unleashed a back-hand shot that ricocheted off the back boards. Following the goal the umpires conferred that the initial tackle was not clean, keeping the game 2-1 in favour of Chile. USA did manage to draw level before half time. Sharkey’s penalty corner strike was saved by the pads of Schuler but the ball popped loose for Erin Matson to sweep in leaving the game 2-2 at half time.
A small but boisterous section of the stands seemed to fuel the Chileans as they created a lot of trouble for the USA. An errant pass in the backfield allowed Chile’s Krimerman some space and her acceleration left her nothing but Briggs in goal. Krimerman’s shot, though not rifling, found a way past Briggs to give Chile the 3-2 edge, a fitting reward for the West Vancouver World League Round 2 Top Junior Player who was the nucleus of all of Chile’s momentum.
USA had three penalty corners in the final five minutes of the match, and with 1:28 left on the clock, Magadan deflected in Michelle Vittese’s penalty corner sweep shot at the far post to equalize 3-3. Not to be deterred, Chile raced to the other end and with unbelievable effort Krimerman was able to score a midst all the traffic in the USA circle. The 4-3 win makes Pan American and Chilean history as Chile will now play Argentina in the final, while USA resorts to the bronze-medal game against Canada. Both games will be played on Sunday.
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