What Makes Team Canada special
Defend the strong handed tendencies of Canadian ball carriers. The pride of every youth league coach in America hangs in the balance how can a bunch of one handed indoor players beat the two handed Americans?
Goal scorers. Led by John Grant Jr. this is a group of players defined by their shooting and interior ball handling skills. In their pool play win over the USA, the Canadians shot 10 of 24 while the Americans shot 9 of 37. Team USA missed the target 16 times.
Defend the two man pick and roll offense that is the staple of coach Dave Huntley game plan.
Jump on Brian Dougherty early. The hasn been horrible but he hasn been stellar either. He was 41% against Canada on July 17.
Canada trails the overall series with Team USA 14 3 but has won two consecutive games dating back to the 2006 final. Their motto has a relaxed tone, "Enjoy the experience".
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Make the Canadian midfielders score unassisted goals. Be slow to slide to isolation dodgers and funnel ball carriers to weak angles.
Team Canada goalie Chris Sanderson has been battling cancer since 2008, it an inspirational story. Team Canada is playing for a cause bigger them themselves. Can the USA match their emotion?
Win the face off battle. Canada Geoff Snider was the Team MVP in 2006 taking 40 of 55 draws in two games against Team USA. In pool play last week, he and Alex Smith split 10 10. The wing battles will be worth the price of admission between Max Seibald, Kyle Sweeney, Chris Schiller, Kevin Cassese of USA and Brodie Merrill, Ryan McClelland and Billy Dee Smith of Canada.
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This format favors young legs. Which recent college standout will shine brightest Kevin Crowley, Corey Small, Kevin Huntley, Zack Greer, Garrett Billings or Ned Crotty, Mike Leveille, Max Seibald, Paul Rabil, Drew Westervelt?
Guard John Grant Jr. The Americans must limit his touches and throw different packages at him. DJ Driscoll and Shawn Nadelen will handle the Nike Lebron Soldier 10 - Men's
Canada Brodie Merrill and USA Kyle Sweeney are both offensive threats from the long stick midfield position. Both played at Nike Zoom Matumbo 3 Georgetown and both are future Hall of Famers. But Merrill will have his work cut out for him chasing Paul Rabil and Kyle Dixon all day. Sweeney has scored six goals and chipped in two assists in England.
Can USA get production from their second midfield line of Kyle Dixon, Matt Striebel and Matt Zash?
Defenders Mac Allen and Jon Sullivan must have strong games against Brendan Mundorf and USA attackmen. The main difference between this team canada and one from the past is the quality of the close defense. Allen is a physical presence down below, while Sullivan is a fluid cover guy, grossly underrated by most American field followers. Both are starters for the Toronto Nationals and have extensive field experience.
Which coaching staff has another ace up their sleeve? The pool play win by Canada was merely an appetizer for Saturdays main course. I expecting to see some new strategy wrinkles in the final.
What Team Canada must do to win
a shot or clearing clock. Tempo starts on the defensive end of the field, by extending matchups and creating turnovers. Team Canada tipped its hand in pool play, a 10 9 win, where its first two possessions were extended and based on patience.
Make saves and defensive stops then run from defense to offense, scoring in transition.
If Team USA loses they will be known as the worst Team USA ever. No US National team has ever lost twice to Canada. Add to their FIL World Championship resume a January loss to Duke, a June loss to a bunch of college All Stars and a lackluster win over a short handed MLL All Star squad. But with a win, all team goals would be achieved and those bumps in the road easily forgotten and accepted as valuable steps toward a world title.
Chemistry hasn come easy for the star studded roster of the stars and stripes. In England, USA coach Mike Pressler has preached discipline and structure. And he told us on Friday via phone that he is very encouraged with the improvement and overall excitement Team USA has displayed in the past week. It difficult to tell if USA has made progress when they are dismantling and overwhelming outmanned squads like Germany and Japan.
Create favorable offensive match ups that will force the Canadians to slide. Team Canada successfully shorted Ryan Boyle and double poled USA midfielders in pool play
Speed. No squad on the planet owns the overall speed that Team USA possesses. Max Seibald, Paul Rabil, Kyle Sweeney and Eric Martin are world class burners and it essential that the stars and stripes injects tempo into a game without Nike Lebron Soldier 10 Grade School
rights are on the line on Saturday. It the most anticipated and hyped international game of all time.
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