The USA Men’s Senior National Team hung on to beat Russia 7-6 in front of a packed house on the opening day of competition at the FINA World Championship. Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) and Luca Cupido (Newport Beach, CA/California/Newport) each scored three goals in the win while Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) recorded 14 saves in net. The match against Russia can be viewed later today on Universal Sports at 7pm pt/4pm pt. Team USA returns to action on Wednesday against Greece at 10:20am local time. The match will stream live on UniversalSports.com at 2:20am et/11:20pm pt (July 28). To access live streaming, click here for more information. The match will air on Universal Sports at 6pm et/3pm pt.
Russia struck first in this match on the first of three goals from Alexey Bugyachuk to ignite the crowd and grab a 1-0 lead. Team USA responded swiftly with a power play goal from and a counter attack goal, both from Azevedo, to surge ahead 2-1. John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) capped the scoring with a goal late in the first for a 3-1 advantage. In the second period Bugyachuk delivered two more goals to even the match at 3-3 with :29 to play in the first half. Cupido had the last word in the period delivering with just three seconds to play to grab a 4-3 lead at halftime.
Midway through the third Azevedo delivered on the penalty shot and seemed to create some breathing room at 5-3. Russia quickly responded scoring two straight goals to tie the match at 5-5. Again Cupido came through late in the period finding the back of the net with just seven seconds to play for a 6-5 lead headed to the fourth.
With less than four minutes to play in the match Cupido struck again for his final goal, building a 7-5 lead. Russia would try one last rally, drawing to within one on a goal from Konstantin Stepaniuk to make it 7-6. Despite a few opportunities down the stretch Russia would get no closer and Team USA forced a turnover late in the match to seal the contest.
Team USA went 3/7 on power plays and 1/1 on penalty shots while Russia was 0/2 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot.
Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 7 (3, 1, 2, 1) L. Cupido 3, T. Azevedo 3, J. Mann 1
RUS 6 (1, 2, 2, 1) A. Bugyachuk 3, A. Odintsov 1, I. Nagaev 1, K. Stepaniuk 1
Saves – USA – M. Moses 14 – RUS – V. Ivanov 5
6×5 – USA – 3/7 – RUS – 0/2
Penalties – USA – 1/1 – RUS 0/0
Swimming News / Water Polo News courtesy of USA Water Polo.