Stats & Info: United States

USA-Canada is offense vs defense

February, 20, 2014

Getty ImagesSidney Crosby (left) and Patrick Kane (right) will face off Friday in the Olympic semifinals
In the NHL-era of the Winter Olympics, Canada has gone 3-1-0 against the United States. The United States’ only win came in the 2010 preliminaries, which was later avenged by Canada in the gold medal game.

The two teams will meet in the Olympic semifinals for the first time ever Friday. The United States is hoping its high-scoring offense will lead it back into the gold medal game, while Canada will be relying on its defense.

USA crashing the net

The United States has scored a tournament-high 20 goals this Olympics, scoring at least five times in three of its four games played. The U.S. is on pace to top its previous goal scoring high in the NHL-era of the Olympics (26), set by the 2002 silver-medal winning team.

The U.S. has been focusing on getting to the net to score goals in the tournament. Fourteen of its 20 goals scored have been from shots taken directly in front of the net, most this Olympics.

That works out to 70 percent of its total goals scored. No other team in the semifinals has scored more than half of its goals from in front. Canada goaltender Carey Price has allowed only three goals this Olympics, one of which was from in front.

Canada winning with defense

The United States’ goal-scoring will be put to the test against Canada’s defense and goaltending. Canada has allowed the fewest goals (three) and shots (74) this Olympics.

Canada is allowing a mere 19 shots per game in the tournament. The U.S. has averaged 30 shots in its four games, with a low of 25 against the Czech Republic.

Not only has Canada’s defense been bringing offenses to a halt, it has been providing much of the offense as well.

Defensemen Drew Doughty (four goals) and Shea Weber (three goals) are among the top three scorers for Canada this Olympics. Six of their seven combined goals have come from the faceoff circles or further out.

Canada has relied on defensemen scoring due to a goal-shortage from its offensive stars. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Corey Perry, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash, Patrick Marleau and Martin St. Louis are among the names without a goal in Sochi. Canada also lost John Tavares, who is third in the NHL in points this season, to injury.

When Canada has scored, it has been to the stick side of the goaltender. Seven of Canada's 13 goals have been scored that way this Olympics, but U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick has allowed only one such goal.

What’s at stake?

If Canada wins, it will have an opportunity to win back-to-back gold medals for the first time since the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games.

If the United States wins, it will have the opportunity to take home the gold medal for the first time since the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team. The U.S. has not medaled outside of North America since 1972 (silver).

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

LeBron James' triple-double helped lead the United States to victory over Australia, but if the U.S. is to move on to the gold-medal game, it will need the 3-pointers to fall against Argentina.
After a scare against Lithuania, the United States men’s basketball team has cruised to victories over Argentina and Australia, and continues a quest for its 14th gold medal in the 17 Olympics in which the United States has played men’s basketball.

The U.S. improved to 14-0 against Australia in FIBA tournaments, but the competition will take a step up in the semifinals against Argentina, the third-ranked team in the FIBA rankings.

Argentina has two of the three leading scorers in the tournament, with Luis Scola averaging 19.7 points a game, and Manu Ginobili 19.3, a combined 39 a contest. But in the group play game between these teams, the United States held those two to 27 points.

In that contest, the U.S. led by only one point at halftime, but pulled away by outscoring Argentina 42-17 in the third quarter. The key, as it has been throughout the tournament for the Americans, was 3-point shooting.

The U.S. went 19-46 on 3-point shooting in that game, and through its first six games, has made 96 3-pointers, 44 more than any other team. The Americans are shooting nearly 45 percent from 3-point range in the tournament, also best of any team.

When the 3s aren’t falling, the Americans have struggled. In the close call against Lithuania, the U.S. went just 10-33 on 3-pointers. It’s also led to some tight scores early in games. The U.S. went 8-25 against France in its opener, and only led by one at the end of the first quarter. Against Tunisia, the Americans were 10-25 on 3-point shooting, and led by six at the end of the first quarter.

But 3-point shooting hasn’t been the Americans’ only strength. The U.S. has had 114 second-chance points, no other team has more than 75. Team USA also has 159 fast-break points, with no other team having more than 98. However, potential finals opponent Russia has allowed 43 fast-break points, fewest in the tournament.

The Americans are also performing defensively, leading all teams with 71 steals, fueling their fast-break offense. However, Argentina has allowed just 26 steals, the third-lowest mark of the tournament.

An area of concern could be offensive rebounding. In the near-loss to Lithuania, the Americans were outrebounded 36-24 on the offensive glass.

LeBron James has already made his mark on these Olympics, with a triple-double against Australia, the first by an American man in the Olympics. With the potential for two more games, James could keep writing his name in the record book. He enters the semifinal game against Argentina with 236 career points in Olympic play, third-most all-time by a USA player, trailing only David Robinson and Michael Jordan.

With a gold medal, James could also become the third player to win an NBA Championship and a gold medal in the same year, joining Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
In the second FIFA Women's World Cup Final to ever reach penalty kicks, Japan defeats the United States to win its first World Cup title. The Americans, who had never missed a penalty kick in two previous shootouts at the Women's World Cup, missed their first three on Sunday.

Japan evened the game twice after the United States took leads of 1-0 and 2-1. Homare Sawa's tournament-leading fifth goal came in the 117th minute and forced penalty kicks. Sawa's goal was the latest ever in a Women's World Cup Final and made Sawa, at age 32, the oldest player to ever score in the Women's World Cup Final.

Both of those records had been set just minutes earlier, when 31-year-old Abby Wambach scored in the 104th minute. For Wambach, it was her 13th career World Cup goal, an American record and the third-most in tournament history. Wambach, who famously forced penalty kicks vs Brazil in the quarterfinals with a goal in extra time, became the first player in Women's World Cup history with two career goals in extra time.

The U.S. failed to capitalize on several chances Sunday, particularly in the first half. The Americans hit the post three times, bringing their total for the tournament to six, three more than any other team. Instead of finishing the tournament as the first country to win the Women's World Cup three times, the U.S. must settle for its first-ever runner-up finish.