The United States powered past Canada, 7-5, in the opening game of the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship, in front a home crowd at Snapdragon Stadium.
The United States extended its winning streak over its rival in the men’s championship to three games and improved to 19-4 all-time against Canada in the competition.
Thousands of fans enjoyed a Steve Aoki concert at halftime, as well as a festival at the stadium and the opening ceremony with all 30 teams in attendance on a gorgeous night in San Diego.
Collegiate star Brennan O’Neill impressed in his senior debut with a hat trick for the United States. Attacker Rob Pannell added two assists.
The USA dominated face-offs on the night, with a 13-3 advantage. Trevor Baptiste won eight of 10 and TD Ierlan won five of six.
The United States also won 21 ground balls compared to seven for Canada, and limited the Canadian attack to 10 shots on goal. Goalkeeper Jack Kelly made five saves.
Clarke Petterson added two goals for Canada, and Josh Byrne recorded two goals and two assists.
The two teams traded blows in a measured first half. Canada struck first with a goal from Ryan Lee and scored a buzzer-beating goal to tie the game at 2-2 to end the first quarter. Petterson scored his two goals in the second quarter as Canada took another lead at 4-3, but O’Neill answered with his second goal of the game to tie the game at 4-4 heading into halftime.
The American defense took control of the game, holding Canada to a scoreless third quarter while the offense pulled away with three goals, capped off by a man-up goal for O’Neill’s third on an assist from Tom Schreiber.
The USA is back in action in Pool A on Friday, taking on Australia at 7 p.m. PT at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium. Canada plays again on Saturday against Australia at 4 p.m.