PAHF: Leonas head to 10th-straight Pan Am finals with shutout win over Canada

Argentina booked their ticket to a 10th-straight Pan American Games final after a 3-0 dismissal of Canada in the semifinals. Canadian keeper Rowan Harris was exceptional in denying multiple close-range shots and penalty corner flicks but the Argentina offence was full-on and non-stop. Penalty corner goals from Valentina Raposo and Delfina Thome, plus a trademark Julieta Jankunas back-hand was enough to do Canada in.

In just the second minute Agustina Gorzelany had her first set-piece attempt but Harris was dialled in from the get-go. Good running by Madi Thompson denied another series of penalty corners including a nifty shift at the top of the battery between Gorzelany and Costa.

A wave of attack including back-to-back shots from Jankunas were turned away by Harris. The break came on a penalty corner in the 23rd minute after Canadian defender Kathleen Leahy made a mid-air save on Raposo’s shot but the rebound was batted in out of the air by a waiting Thome. Canada huddled up to re-group but just two minutes later the Leonas worked a nice set piece on a free hit. Agostina Alonso’s pass was touched into the circle for Jankunas to smash off her back foot and in to make it 2-0 for Argentina.

Canada looked defensively sharp, doing just enough to get in the way but a lack of offensive strategy left them mostly just defending. A few individual runs from Natalie Sourisseau and some hard running up front from Thompson and Thora Rae was all Canada could seem to muster. Meanwhile, the Canadian defence struggled to manage the constant interchange of Jankunas and Majo Granatto.  

Argentina made it 3-0 late in the third quarter on a penalty corner variation that saw Raposo slide to her right and smash a ball past Harris. The volume of shots didn’t seem to faze Harris all game as she went on to deny additional penalty corner flicks including a fabulous diving stick save to deny Gorzelany. 

Argentina had 14 penalty corners in the game, scoring only on two, a testament to Harris and her defensive corner unit. With the win, Argentina continue their streak to never miss an appearance in a Pan American Games final, having won seven of the nine editions, win the USA winning only two of those (2011 and 2015).  

Canada will now regroup to face the loser of the Chile vs USA game for bronze, while Argentina will face the winner for the gold medal and a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Earlier in the day Uruguay beat Mexico 3-0 and then Cuba beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 to set up the 5-6th game between Uruguay and Cuba and then the 7-8th game for Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.


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