USA Field Hockey Draws with No. 5 Japan
Aug. 12, 2008
BEIJING (AP) - The U.S. women's field hockey team has earned respect with back-to-back ties against highly ranked teams at the Olympics. If the Americans want to take the next step and earn medals, they had better start winning.
The 11th-ranked United States played No. 5 Japan to a 1-all result on Tuesday after playing second-ranked Argentina to a 2-all draw on Sunday.
The Americans have two points in Pool B with three games to play, and will face defending Olympic champion Germany on Thursday. The Germans are 2-0 in the pool after a late goal gave them a 2-1 win over New Zealand.
U.S. coach Lee Bodimeade wouldn't say his team must beat the Germans, but he knows how important a victory would be.
"I think there's a lot of water to go under the bridge in this tournament yet," he said. "We're going to go away from this and take a lot of positive out of what we did and the way we finished the game and really attack Germany, because three points there can put us in a very, very good position for the rest of the tournament."
The U.S. earned the draw when team captain Kate Barber scored in the 58th minute on a shot that slowly rolled into the goal to tie the score.
Barber said the U.S. didn't play well in the first 55 minutes, the team's second straight slow start at the Olympics. The U.S. trailed Argentina 2-0 on Sunday before rallying to salvage the tie.
"It's definitely something we've identified as a group that needs to be addressed and needs to change," she said. "The fact that we can turn it up shows how good we can be. It's frustrating as a group to know that it's there, and for us not to do it for the full 70 minutes is something we really need to focus in on."
While the Americans are under a bit of pressure, Japan is in good shape after improving to 1-0-1 in the pool.
"In the second half, although the U.S. team scored a goal and tied with us, our team numbers show very good," Japan coach Yoo Seung-jin said. "I do still think we have hope of winning a medal."
Japan scored first when Kaori Chiba deflected a long pass by Sakae Morimoto 12 minutes into the match.
The U.S. threatened late in the first half, but a shot from close in by Barber bounced off the right post, and Japan took the one-goal lead into halftime. Barber missed wide left in the 46th minute, but finally got it right 12 minutes later. Both goalies made saves in the final three minutes to preserve the tie.
Argentina had its second straight disappointing tie, a 2-2 split with Great Britain. Sarah Thomas scored after a penalty corner in the 49th minute, then Mel Clewlow followed with a goal off another penalty corner in the 51st minute for the British squad.
New Zealand led Germany 1-0 until Katharina Schulz scored in the 59th minute to tie the score. Anke Kuehn scored the game-winner off a penalty corner in the 69th minute. In Pool A, China, the Netherlands and Australia are 2-0 after Tuesday's action. China will play the Netherlands on Thursday.
China defeated South Africa 3-0. The Chinese are 2-0 and are unscored upon. Australia scored five goals in the final 23 minutes to beat Spain 6-1. Spain's Silvia Munoz scored in the sixth minute to give Spain a 1-0 lead, but it was all Australia after that. Spain fell to 0-2.
The Netherlands beat South Korea 3-2 on a goal by Maartje Paumen in the 55th minute.
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