Sports

U.S. men in a bind after suffering second Olympic water polo loss

 

The U.S. Olympic men's water polo team finds itself in a bit of trouble after dropping its second straight game to open Olympic competition.

Stanford grad Bret Bonanni scored four times but Spain rallied to earn a 10-9 victory on Monday.


Bret Bonanni. Photo by Kelley L Cox/KLC fotos
Bonanni scored midway through the third period to give the U.S. a 7-6 edge but the Spaniards reeled off four straight to take control.

Merrill Moses went the distance in the net, stopping 10 shots.

Team USA (0-2 in Group B, 16-5 overall) takes on France on Wednesday morning.

A physical match throughout with three different players given game exclusions, it was Spain striking first on a score from Gonzalo Echenique, who scored three goals.

Cardinal grad and five-time Olympian Tony Azevedo evened the game at 1-1 about a minute later. Cal's Luca Cupido gave Team USA their first lead on a score with 3:56 to play in the first.

Echenique scored two straight, followed by another from Guillermo Molina, and Spain took a 4-2 advantage after one period.

Team USA outscored Spain the rest of the way, though the damage had been done.

Bonanni scored twice and Stanford grad Alex Bowen added another to even the game at 5 at halftime.

Molina gave Spain a 6-5 lead early in the second half but Bowen and Bonanni each scored for the Americans.

Spain took over, opening a 10-7 edge into the fourth quarter. Bonanni and Bowen followed with goals to make it 10-9 with just under a minute to play but the United States couldn't find the back of the net to force the draw.

The United States went 3-of-12 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty while Spain was 3-of-13 on power plays and converted on its lone penalty shot.

Team USA needs to finish in the top four (of six) in their group to advance to the quarterfinals.

France and the U.S. are winless. The Americans also have Italy (two wins) and Montenegro (1-1) to play.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA water polo

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