Investec World League 5th-8th place: USA 3-1 Spain.

USA snatched a well-deserved victory over Spain to secure a clash with Italy in tomorrow’s 5th/6th playoff, whilst Spain will line up against South Africa in the 7th-8th match.

Goals from Paige Selenski, Katie Reinprecht and a stunning strike from Rachel Dawson were enough to give the USA their first win of the competition. 

Spain had the first real chance of the game Berta Bonastre collected a poor clearance from Alesha Widdall but her reverse stick shot went over the bar.

Widdall did well minutes later to repel a penalty corner from Lola Riera with her feet as Spain ramped up the pressure.

Both teams were playing some neat and tidy passes around the pitch, but seemed to be struggling to break down their opponents’ defence.

Ten minutes before the break the USA took the lead. The penalty corner injection went wide but it was played back to the far post where Selenski forced it home.

Spain equalised immediately with a beautiful move down the right. The cross was played in and Bonastre swept home on the run from near the penalty spot to make it 1-1.

After the break Spain went close to taking the lead, Maria Romagosa hit a fierce penalty corner which was well blocked by Widdall. At the other end, Michelle Kasold showed good improvisation to deflect a cross goal wards but it was just too high.

USA captain Katie O’Donnell was growing in influence, probing and threading some lovely passes into team mates as well as showing some splendid individual skills to create space and cause the Spanish defence some real problems.

Katelyn Falgowski did well to get to the baseline and found Shannon Taylor but she was crowded out as she tried to shoot.

With ten minutes to play and thoughts turning to another penalty shootout the USA struck two decisive blows.

In the 64th minute Rachel Dawson’s penalty corner popped up off a defender as was forced home by Katie Reinprecht from close range.

Three minutes later came the goal of the match. O’Donnell did well to keep the ball in inside the D. Showing excellent composure she picked out Dawson who lashed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-1.

It was an excellent result for the USA who finally found some goals to go with their good approach work. They will face Italy in their final match of the competition tomorrow.

Spain will try to bounce back against South Africa as both sides try to avoid finishing in last place in this competition.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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