Preview of Day 2 and recap of Day 1 from Toronto
By Nathan Bragg
The first day of wheelchair rugby competition at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games didn’t offer any close games but had plenty of action, as Canada, the United States and Colombia all won their matches by a comfortable margin. Below is a preview of today's games followed by a recap of day ones matches.
Watch the games live at http://m.paralympic.org/live-sport.
DAY TWO PREVIEW
Canada vs. Colombia
After winning their matches yesterday, these two teams will meet in the first game of the evening AT 17:00 Eastern Time. Colombia played well against Chile last night, but if their play at the 2015 Metro Cup is any indication, they should struggle against the Canadian pressure. Colombia had no problem with Chile, but the Canadians are at an entirely different level. The last time Colombia played an elite team was in July when they were blown out by Great Britain. As for the Canadians, they will be hoping to replicate their success against Brazil and get everyone on the court to give the home fans plenty to cheer about.
Argentina vs. Chile
After being blown out by the United States last night, Argentina will be looking to turn things around against less experienced Chile. The young guns Juan Herrera and Matias Cardozo lead Argentina and expect them to lead on the score sheet. Chile likes to play with a more balanced line-up and will be looking to improve their fundamentals in this game. They have some good players in Victor Saiz and Christopher Flores and it will be interesting to see if they start the game or come off the bench as they did against Colombia.
Brazil vs. United States
The games don’t get any easier for Brazil as they go from a meeting with Canada to a match with 3rd ranked USA. The United States’ easily dispatched Argentina, but should face a stronger challenge from Brazil who brings more depth to the table. The Americans have a ton of speed that Brazil will struggle to contain. Alexandre Taniguchi should be the key man for Brazil from the start, and will try ensure his teammates stay calm. USA could have any of their players step into the spotlight as we saw yesterday when 9 of their players made the score sheet and their low-pointers chipped in with great picking and defensive play.
RECAP FROM DAY ONE IN TORONTO
Canada 65 Brazil 32
In the opening match, the reigning Paralympic and World Championship silver medalist put the pressure on Brazil right from the start. They got out to an early lead thanks to some Brazilian mistakes and just kept going from there as Canada's high pressure defence was too much for Brazil to handle. To their credit though, Brazil showed plenty of promise as most of their squad saw the floor and they never stopped pushing. For the Canadians, Zak Madell led the way with a game-high 23 goals. All eleven Canadian players saw court time in the win.
Canada’s Jason Crone praised his team’s depth. “We don’t need one guy to step up every game, we all step up as a team collectively and that’s a pretty special thing.”
United States 70 Argentina 25
The United States made a statement with a dominant performance against overmatched Argentina. Coach James Gumbert started the game with a less experienced line that delivered by giving USA an early seven-point lead. Eric Newby led the way for the US scoring 16 goals in less than ten minutes of play with three other Americans scoring 10 or more goals in the team effort.
Turnovers were the issue for Argentina who struggled against the press and coughed up the ball 30 times. Fernando Canumil led Argentina with 8 goals. Juan Herrera had an impressive game defensively but struggled with the ball committing 10 turnovers.
USA’s Chuck Aoki was happy with the performance of his team’s newer players: “All the new guys that are on our team came out and played really well, sometimes there are a lot of nerves in the first game but I thought they came out and played great.”
Colombia 66 Chile 12
Colombia welcomed Chile to the international rugby community with an absolute drubbing, only giving up four goals in the first half. The Colombians’ fundamentals were a cut above the inexperienced Chileans who struggled with their passing and press break. Colombian captain Carlos Neme led the team in minutes played and had a number of big plays on the defensive end. For Colombia this game has to give them confidence going forward as they aim to win their first medal.