The U.S. has a 12 goal lead from the 1st leg and it’s really hard to envision Canada turning things around to the point of pasting an even bigger loss on the U.S. in the 2nd leg. While, it’s true that anything can happen, the odds of something like that happening are really remote. But, the Canadians are a tenacious team and play with a lot of pride. Can they turn things around and beat a vastly improved USA Team in front of a sold out crowd? With the huitième homme (eighth man) behind them? Absolutely, they can. (Just not by 13 goals)
To get a win, Canada, will need to play a full 60 minutes at the intensity level they played the first 50 minutes in Auburn. They will also need to do a better job at capitalizing on any scoring opportunities provided them. Most notably, they will need to make sure that they punish the U.S. when they go up a man as a result of two minute penalties. (This means score a goal or two and deny the U.S) On defense, they’ve now seen the athleticism and 1 on 1 skills of Fofana, Hueter and Hines. They know what they are up against and that it will take a team defensive effort to slow them down. A big challenge, but one they can meet.
For the U.S. Men, this is an opportunity to make a statement. To show themselves, and anyone watching, that the 12 goal win at Auburn was not a fluke. That they can get the same sort of convincing win in a more hostile environment. To do so they will need to play with poise and determination. They will need to cut down on mistakes at both ends of the floor. In particular, on defense, they will need to keep the aggressive intensity, but channel that aggressiveness to meet the offensive attack before it’s too late and results in sitting out for 2 minutes, too often.
While, there may not be PANAM Qualification on the line, this game should still be well worth watching. Can Canada get a little revenge with a win at home? Or, will the new look U.S. Men impress again? Show that Chile and Cuba have another team in this hemisphere at their level? Or, dare I say it: Have Brazil and Argentina looking over their shoulder in the run up to the PANAM Game next summer?
Wednesday, 5 September
Canada vs USA (Women) 1900 Eastern Time (0100 CET, Thursday)
Canada vs USA (Men) 2100 Eastern Time (0300 CET, Thursday).
The match will be live streamed on the Quebec Handball Federation Facebook page: Link