The men's United States water polo team was expected to breeze through the UANA qualification tournament and earn a bid to the 2013 FINA World Championships. However, after Wednesday's night's 10-6 loss to Canada, nothing is for certain.
This loss is the United States sixth straight dating back to the London Olympics, and to add even more salt to the wound the last two loses came against Australia and now Canada. As mentioned from the above mentioned tweet, this is the first time that Canada has beaten the United States in a major international competition.
There is little detail from this game so far, but it was not pretty. Canada started out strong by leading 4-2 after the first period, and then shutting down Team USA in the second quarter. At the half Canada had a commanding 7-2 lead, and Team USA was unable to get any closer the rest of the way.
The United States had their chances by forcing nine exclusions, but they only converted 1 of 9, well technically they made three goals after a kick out as the other two scores came just after the 20 second penalty expired. While Canada was able to convert 3 of 4 power plays, and the other was made at the 21st second after the exclusion, basically they were perfect in their power play chances.
The United States was led in scoring by Scott Davidson with two goals, but the big surprise was that Jesse Smith was held scoreless.
Losing this game is just unacceptable. Canada was pumped for this game since it was being played in their own backyard, but they have not had any significant water polo history. Without much more information it is hard to tell how Canada scored their goals, because it was not on their power play chances.
A likely reason that Team USA lost was due to a lack of focus -- as well as shooters -- because they probably felt they could walk into this tournament and breeze to a victory. The team had just four returning Olympians out of the 13, an interim head coach who knew this is likely their only tournament he would be coaching and just six weeks of training.
That combination is very dangerous, plus when the team trained in Northern California interim coach Jovan Vavic was not there to coach the team since he was busy coaching USC.
The new set of players was probably not a good idea for this tournament. Bring back at least half of the Olympic team, if that was possible, and take this tournament very seriously.
This loss makes things very uncertain for Team USA the rest of the way through this tournament. They did beat Argentina in an exhibition match last week, so that is a positive. Their next game is Thursday against Brazil, who currently is in a fight in their game.
Team USA needs to put this loss behind them and come out with a strong performance against Brazil to avoid starting 0-2.