MNT Defeat Uruguay 34-30; Clinch Semifinal Spot at Pan American Games for First Time in 20 Years
by Matthew Collins
With a 34-30 victory in their final group match at the 2023 Pan American Games, the Men's National Team has qualified for the Semifinals for the first time in two decades.
The last semifinal appearance for the Americans was in 2003, when the Pan American Games were held in the Dominican Republic. Gary Hines is the only member of the current roster who also took part in the last semifinal bout.
In the match versus Uruguay, the USA were able to command a four goal lead at the halftime break, and twice, was able to stretch the lead in the second half to six, before ultimately securing the victory with the four goal advantage.
Strong offensive performances from Joey Stromberg and Domagoj Srsen helped the American attack, with the right back and line runner going 5/5 and 4/4 on their shots, respectively.
With Brazil topping Group A, the USA will meet the Brazilians in the Semifinal match on Friday evening. The two teams last met at the Gjensidige Cup in January, in preparation for the World Championship. The USA were defeated by Brazil 27-22.
When asked about the progression of the squad in the group stage, and heading into the Semifinals, Joey Stromberg said, "We've had some good parts of every game, but we're just starting to piece it together more and more for every game."
"We didn't have a training camp before, so we're just still trying to work through and work together, cause we are all in different clubs, but every game it's getting better. We will see what we can do," Stromberg added.
Abou Fofana attributed the improvement from game to game on being able to "settle in" and "feel things out."
"I think it's normal the more...into the competition, the better we are going to feel," Fofana said.