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U.S. rebounds in style, drops Greece

Published Sep. 16, 2005

The U.S. team bounced back from its opening-day loss to Italy in powerful style Sunday, beating Greece 9-7 behind four goals by Chris Humbert and three by Wolf Wigo.

The United States still has three games to play, including a tough match against Croatia. The Americans face Ukraine today.

"We played real well as a team and hopefully we can build on this game," Humbert said.

Four teams from each of the six-nation groups advance to the quarterfinals, at which stage the tournament becomes single elimination. The higher the Americans place in their group, the likelier they are to get an easier opponent in the quarterfinals.

"You have to learn quickly from your mistakes," U.S. coach Rich Corso said. "We were up on our toes, trying to dictate to our opponents. Greece is a strong opponent."

Greece's Thomas Chatzis opened the scoring 1:23 into the game. But the Americans got two goals from Humbert and one from Wigo to take a 4-2 lead after one quarter. Humbert and Wigo each scored in the second to put the United States up 7-3.

The U.S. defense rarely allowed the Greeks to come into shooting position at the 2-meter line, forcing them to take long-range shots that usually were stopped by goalkeeper Chris Duplanty.

Wigo, a New Yorker who is the first East Coast player on Team USA in four decades, added his third goal as the United States ended the third quarter up 8-5.

"I got lucky tonight," Wigo said. "I hope this gives us more confidence."

Despite two goals by Filippos Kaifas in the last quarter, the Americans held on to drop Greece to 0-2.

In other action, Viktor Jelenic of Yugoslavia scored a late goal to salvage a 9-9 draw with Russia. Italy defeated Ukraine 8-6, Hungary beat Germany 9-8, Croatia defeated Romania 11-6 and Spain topped the Netherlands 8-7. Italy, Hungary, Croatia and Spain have 2-0 records.