Scotland 1 – 3 USA
Scotland, playing in their traditional kit of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks, started the game. USA were in their alternate kit of white shirts, with navy shorts and socks. Scotland take the push back and immediately turn over the ball with a mistrap from a sideways pass that bobbles over the sideline. This, perhaps, is an omen for the rest of the game.
In the fifth minute of the game, the USA get a free hit in the central channel of the pitch, three quarters of the way up the field. They play the ball forward, find a tourist inside the ‘D’ and play it just the wrong side of the post. The game becomes somewhat end to end in midfield play, but without any end product. In the last minute of the quarter the American defence block a shot from the Scots at the top of their shooting area. The score remains 0 – 0 at the end of the first 15 minutes.
As we get into the second quarter, it becomes increasingly noticeable the lack of one vs one match ups are happening. Both teams are quick to transition into defence and use the majority of their players in a half court press, stifling attacking end products. The Scotland team is particularly proficient at sideways and backwards passing. In the fourth minute of the second quarter, the Americans attack down their right hand side and play the ball into the ‘D’. Sean Cicchi, of Conejo Bulldogs, finds himself behind the Scottish defensive line and in space. The first shot on target in the match is a goal and the tourists take the lead for the first time in the test series. 1 – 0 to the USA.
A poor pass from Scotland’s Michael Bremner almost allows the USA in for a second goal in the eighth minute of the second period. As he passes square across the half way line, the ball is intercepted and the American counter attack leads to a long corner. The ball is flashed across the face of Gordon Alexander’s goal, but is unable to be converted. Scotland win their first short corner of the game in shortly after this. The ball is injected to the top of the ‘D’ and shot to the keeper’s left. Tim Atkins of Reading Hockey Club, equalises for Scotland.
Four minutes later the USA take the lead for the second time. The ball is crashed in from the right hand side, from a 45 degree angle and tapped in by Johnny Orrocci from close range. Scotland finish the half defending rather deeply and losing 2 -1 to the Americans.
The second half begins with the tourists in the lead, who still have not had a short corner in the test series… Scotland continue to move the ball side to side when they are in possession of the ball, whilst the Americans are a lot more direct in their attacking play. After six minutes they launch their second aerial pass of the third quarter, forcing the Scots onto the back foot. In the ninth minute the USA win another long corner. The ball is played into the ‘D’ to the left hand side and is deflected towards the on rushing Pat Harris, who finishes first time. The third quarter finishes 3 – 1 to the Americans, with Scotland managing only one shot on target in 15 minutes.
The fourth quarter gets underway and within three minutes the American defender Tom Barrett, who also plays for Beeston HC, receives a yellow card for fouling. In the sixth minute Scotland win another short corner. It’s played out to the first castle, but Johnathan Klages in the American goalkeeper saves down to his right and the Americans counter quickly, taking the ball up to the top right hand corner, before eventually losing out. In the twelfth minute the Scotland player Michael Bremner gets a green card. The Americans nearly score a fourth when Paul Singh fires over the bar in the fourteenth minute. Just before the final whistle The Scots get another short corner and a chance to pull a goal back, but to no avail. The game finishes 3 – 1 to the Americans, which ties the series at one game each, with one game left.