Toronto 2015: Day 5 Preview
by Nathan Bragg for the IWRF
Round robin plays wraps up at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games today,with another three games, including the highly anticipated matchups between Argentina and Colombia and the heavyweight clash between bitter rivals Canada and the United States.
Argentina vs Colombia
20th ranked Argentina and 21st ranked Colombia meet on the final day of pool play with the winner moving onto the semi-finals. Colombia has never beat Argentina in international play, but have improved significantly in the past two years and appear ready for the task at hand. Through their first four games Colombia have demonstrated that they are a hard-hitting and physical team, not afraid to get rough. Argentina struggled against Brazil but have shown they have the talent to push a team like Colombia.
Jhon Orozco has been an offensive force for Colombia and was an offensive catalyst in the hard-fought loss to Brazil. Argentina on the other hand have been led by a trio of Matias Cardozo, Juan Herrera and Fernando Cañumil who make up for their lack of a traditional high-pointer as a unit.
If Argentina is going to get a win they need to find a way to slow Orozco now, he’s a newer player who’s still working on his decision making so forcing him to pass will be key. Colombia’s mid-pointers will need to be alert on the defensive end against a team that is ready and willing to share the ball.
Turnovers have been a problem for Argentina and their ball handlers need to make better decisions and smarter passes for Argentina to advance to the semifinals.
Columbia’s coach Jhonathan Vargas Rojas said his team is trying to improve their defense ahead of the match.
“Our defense is our weakest point and we need to work on it now,” he said.
It’s going to a high-stakes and emotionally charged match between two competitive teams and should delight the crowd at the Mississauga Sports Centre
ARG: Juan Herrera, 35, Matias Cardoza, 35,Fernando Cañumil, 32
COL: Jhon Orozco, 52, Moises Alonso Alvarez, 25, Edgar Vanegas Cardona, 17
ARG: Juan Herrera, 27, Matias Cardozo, 26, Fernando Cañumil, 15
COL: Edgar Vanegas Cardona, 27 Jhon Orozco, 16, Christian Amaya Farjado, 16
Brazil and Chile
Brazil’s final round robin match sees them take on underdog Chile. Brazil are the heavy favorites and should use this game to experiment with different lineups and strategies ahead of a semi-final date with Canada or the United States. Chile will be focusing on small and achievable goals and will have the Canadian crowd behind them who have really adopted this Chilean side.
BRA: Alexandre Giuriato, 43, Bruno Damaceno, 29, Alexandre Taniguchi, 25
CHI: Juan Rodriguez Reyes, 12, Christian Madariaga, 10, Andreas Opazo, 9
BRA:Moises Batista, 14, Alexandre Taniguchi, 11, Alexandre Giuriato, 8
CHI: Christian Madariaga, 22, Carlos Novoa, 22, Juan Rodriguez Reyes, 18
Canada vs the United States
In the most anticipated matchup of the round robin and a likely preview of the gold medal game, #2 Canada takes on world #3 USA in what promises to be a phenomenal game. The two sides have met plenty of times and recent meetings have been tightly contested. At last year’s World Championship in Denmark, Canada prevailed 59-56 in overtime, in all previous Zonal championships the United States are undefeated and they crushed Canada at the 2013 Championship 63-40.
Both teams have cruised through their games so far. Canada has scored at will, while the United States have suffocated teams in their own half. Depth is a strength for the North Americans sides and they’ve employed a variety of lineups which is a trend that should continue today as they get a feel for each other before the medal round.
In their four games so far, both teams have forced opponents into an average of 29 turnovers per game and have showcased their speed and physicality against overmatched opposition.
American head coach James Gumbert says his team has been looking forward to tonight’s game since last year’s world championships in Denmark.
“Anytime that you suffer a loss, the only thing that’s going to make it better is to get back out on the court,” he said. “They’ve been circling this date and waiting a year to be able to play them again.”
The game has sold out and Canadian coach Kevin Orr couldn’t be happier.
“I’m really jazzed about the U.S. games because we’re going to have a crowd behind us, he said. “It’s like having a fifth player”
Orr also said that this game will serve as a test for both teams leading up to a likely gold medal match-up.
“It’s going to be great game don’t get me wrong, but whoever wins that game isn’t necessarily going to be the team that wins the final.”
The Americans have historically been very successful in Canada, they’ve won two world championships here in 1998 and 2010. USA have also won every Canada Cup International Rugby Tournament they’ve participated in. Despite this Gumbert says that in the rivalry "you throw out the record books,” and that his team is “extremely focused,” on securing a victory.
Canada’s hi-pointers have been prolific as Zak Madell and Fabien Lavoie lead the Parapan Am Games with 62 goals apiece. The Americans have five of the tournament’s top ten scorers and their mid-point players have had a very strong tournament. International rookie Clayton Brackett leads USA in scoring with 46 goals.
This is going to be a very physical and tightly contested game as both teams look for a psychological edge heading into the medal rounds.
CAN: Zak Madell, 62, Fabien Lavoie 62, Mike Whitehead, 40
USA: Clayton Brackett 46, Josh Wheeler, 37, Chuck Aoki/Joe Delagrave, 30
CAN: Zak Madell, 3, Fabien Lavoie, 3, Travis Murao, 2
USA: Clayton Brackett, 2, Eric Newby, 2, Rob Deller, 2
Today's games begin at 3:30 EAstern Time and can be watched live at www.IWRF.com