The U.S. will meet Brazil at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, at the Delamare Aquatic Park in Maracanã. The two teams met at the finals of the 2003 Pan American Games, with the U.S. winning gold 13-7.
The Pan American Games serves as the Olympic qualification tournament for the Americas; the championship team will earn a berth to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The U.S. was the top-placing team from the Americas at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, where they finished ninth. Canada, the other Worlds qualifier competing this week in Rio, finished 12th.
The veterans of the U.S. squad include Azevedo and Ryan Bailey (Long Beach, Calif.), both of whom were members of the U.S. Team at the 1999 and 2003 Pan Am Games, as well as the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Other top players include Jeff Powers (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), who scored a hat trick in the USA's gold-medal win over Brazil at the 2003 Pan Am Games; Jesse Smith (Coronado, Calif.); and Adam Wright (Seal Beach, Calif.), one of the most experienced members of the U.S. National Team.
The eight men's water polo teams that qualified to compete at the Pan American Games have been split into two groups for round robin play. Making up Group A are Argentina, Canada, Columbia and Cuba. Group B consists of Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States. The top two teams from each group will move on to the semi-finals.
Team USA's Pan Am Games Schedule:
- Saturday, July 21 - vs. Brazil - 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, July 22 - vs. Mexico - 4:30 p.m.
- Monday, July 23 - vs. Puerto Rico - 3:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, July 24 - no games - n/a
- Wednesday, July 25 - semi-finals - TBD
- Thursday, July 26 - finals - TBD
About USA Water Polo: USA Water Polo, Inc. is a non-profit corporation organized for the purpose to serve as the national governing body for the sport of water polo in the United States under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).