The United States men’s water polo team will not advance from pool play after falling 8-5 to Montenegro in a must-win game at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center in Rio on Friday.
Filip Klikovac put the Montenegrins up within a half-minute of play, but Bret Bonanni netted to even things up. Sasa Misic then scored, and the Yanks missed a power play chance. That double whammy had the U.S. down 2-1.
Montenegro’s stifling defense held up well into the third , when Joshua Samuels’ equalizer woke the game up. Montenegro went back ahead moments later. Were we off and running, offensively-speaking? 3-2 Montenegro.
The teams traded goals, the U.S. tally from John Mann, and the Americans headed to the fourth quarter down 4-3.
Star goalkeeper Merrill Moses stopped a penalty shot, only to see Montenegro find a fifth goal with 7:17 to go.
The U.S. will finish group play with a match against Italy on Sunday. Their record stands at 1-3.
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.
Team USA put a major scare into reigning gold medalists Croatia before ultimately falling 7-5 in both teams’ Olympic water polo openers on Saturday at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center in Rio de Janeiro.
MORE: Full match replay
USA led 4-3 with five minutes to play in the third, with Tony Azevedo leading the offense with a pair of goals and 38-year-old goalkeeper Merrill Moses starring between the posts.
But Croatia was too good, scoring four-straight to take a commanding lead in the fourth quarter. The Yanks answered back for one, but got no closer.
Next up for the U.S. is Spain on Monday. USA needs to finish in the Top Four of Group B, and a win or draw against Croatia would’ve been a pleasant surprise.