The U.S. women's field hockey team stands just three games away from its third straight Pan American Games gold medal — and an automatic berth at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
After wrapping up pool play on Friday, FIH No. 13 Team USA will face No. 63 Cuba, the fourth-place team from Pool A, in the quarterfinals on Sunday. The game is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern at the Villa Maria del Triunfo complex in Lima, Peru.
Before the game gets underway, here's a closer look at the matchup.
About the opponent
While there has been a lot of talk about how young Team USA's roster is, the Americans look like seasoned veterans compared to their Cuban counterparts.
Cuba entered the Pan Am Games with a roster full of players making their international debuts. Goalie Yusnaidy Betancourt leads Cuba with 17 caps, while Jessica Ortiz and goalie Yurismailis Garcia are second with five caps each.
It's been four years since Team USA and Cuba last met at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Warwick graduate Alyssa Manley is the only American returning from the squad which beat Cuba 12-0 in pool play. Nine different members of Team USA scored that day with Katie Bam, then Katie O'Donnell, netting the first goal two minutes into the game and finishing as one of three players — along with Melissa Gonzalez and Penn Manor graduate Jill Funk, then Jill Witmer — to score twice.
Cuba struggled through the first three games of the tournament, getting outscored 31-2 in Pool A. First came a 10-0 shutout loss to Canada followed by 8-1 and 13-1 losses to Uruguay and Argentina, respectively.
Yunia Milanes scored both goals for Cuba.
Team USA finished pool play a perfect 3-0 in Pool B, including shutting out Mexico 5-0 and Peru 8-0 — with Donegal graduate Mackenzie Allessie scoring four goals against Peru. The Americans' biggest test came against Chile, where they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit with four fourth-quarter goals.
Allessie leads Team USA in scoring, followed by three goals each from Erin Matson and Lauren Moyer.
The winner of Sunday's game will advance to face either Canada or Mexico in Tuesday's semifinals, with the game tentatively scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern. The Team USA-Cuba loser will meet the Canada-Mexico loser in a placement game at 12:45 p.m.