With no shot at a medal, the U.S. men’s water polo team could have simply gone through the motions against an Italian team looking to take first place in Group B.
That didn’t happen however, with the Americans not only showing up for the match but winning by the final score of 10-7. Four players scored two goals apiece for the U.S., Josh Samuels, Tony Azevedo, Bret Bonanni and Alex Obert. Samuels’ second goal of the match with 4:41 remaining in the third period even the score at 7-all, and Obert’s goal with a man advantage with 15 seconds left in the period gave the Americans a lead they would not relinquish.
Goals from Azevedo and Bonanni in the fourth quarter finalized the scoring.
As a result of the defeat Italy finished group play third in Group B on six points, with Croatia taking second via head-to-head tiebreaker. The U.S. finishes their Olympics in fifth place in Group B.
Merrill Moses was again one of the stories for the U.S., with the 38-year-old goalkeeper making plenty of solid saves, but Team USA dropped to 0-2 following a 10-9 loss to Spain on Monday at the Olympics.
Alex Bowen scored his third goal with just over a minute to play to bring the Yanks within a goal.
Spain took an early lead, but Tony Azevedo buried a near-side shot with his second attempt of the game to make it 1-1 with five minutes to go in the first.
Luca Capido got in close to make it 2-1 moments later, and the Yanks were ahead.
Spain winger Gonzalo Echenique made it 3-2 by completing his early hat trick. The Spanish later went ahead 5-3, but USA tied it before half on goals from Brett Bonanni and Alex Bowen.
Spain took a 6-5 lead, but the U.S. earned a 6-on-5 advanage midway through the quarter to tie through Bowen. Bonanni then scored to make it 7-6.
The Spanish scored the next four goals across the third and fourth quarters.
The U.S. next plays Wednesday against France, who is also 0-2.