London 2012 field hockey: In surprise upset, US takes down No. 2 Argentina
London 2012 field hockey: Ranked No. 10, the US women's field hockey team is considered an underdog by most. But on Tuesday, they kept their dream of a Olympic medal alive, defeating Argentina and one of the best players in the world.
On Tuesday night, the women beat their rival, Argentina, who was ranked No. 2 coming into the London Games. Some called it a huge upset, the US was ranked No. 10, but the team said it was just one step in the tournament.
"I don't think we think about things in terms of upsets any more," US goalie Amy Swensen, told the Associated Press. "It's wins and losses and we're just trying to win as many as we can right now."
The Argentine team is considered a powerhouse. They had not lost a single game at the Pan American Games in 25 years, until the US overcame them last year in what was considered a humiliating 4-2 defeat for the Argentines.
Tuesday's Olympic win was both hard-fought and lucky. Argentina had many great charges to the goal and the US was fortunate when a few power shots barely missed or were blocked by Swensen.
Shannon Taylor scored late in the first half, earning the only point of the game, and ultimately winning it for the US.
It was a stunning loss for Luciana Aymar, the Argentine field hockey star, considered the world's best female player. Aymar had said the US team was "not at our level," after the Pan American Games, but struggled to explain Tuesday night's loss.
"They (the US team) are very physical, they play man-to-man marking, a style we do not like," she told the Chicago Tribune. "They make a lot of fouls. It's effective."
But the US has a lot of work left to do on the bright blue field hockey turf in London. The women are now ranked fourth in Group B, and will take on Australia Thursday at 5:45 a.m. Eastern time. To win a medal, the US may have to play one of the top-ranked teams, Great Britain or the Netherlands. The final medal matches will take place August 10.
The women have not won an Olympic medal since 1984, when they took bronze at the Los Angeles Games, and since then the US team has only qualified for four of the last seven summer Games. The US men have not won a field hockey medal since they took silver at the 1932 Olympics.