COMMERCE CITY — The United States, the giant of international lacrosse, has plowed to the title game of the World Lacrosse Championships like a runaway freight train. The only remaining question is, will the Americans dominate from start to finish or crash at the ending?
"If we don't play our game, don't play well, we will be beaten," U.S. goalie Jesse Schwartzman of the Denver Outlaws said. "But the way we're controlling the faceoffs and dominating possessions right now, it's going to be tough."
Schwartzman spent more time watching than preparing to make a save Thursday in the first WLC semifinal match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Americans breezed to a 22-3 victory over Australia to make it 12-for-12 in advancing to the WLC title game. Saturday they will play Canada, which rallied to beat the Iroquois Nationals 12-6 in the second semifinal Thursday.
Substitute David Lawson led the U.S. with six points (four goals) against Australia and starting attack Brendan Mundorf and first-line midfielder Paul Rabil each had five points on three goals.
The Americans held massive advantages in shots (45-11), groundballs (35-17) and faceoffs (26-3). The score was 11-2 at halftime.
Yet Schwartzman appeared to be searching for ways the Americans could have played better.
"We only gave up three goals against a good Australia team, but we look at opportunities given up, and we gave up a lot of opportunities inside, and that could haunt us come Saturday," he said. "We have to clean up a little bit, but we're definitely confident and really looking forward to Saturday. It's why we came here."
The U.S. is looking for its 10th gold medal and second straight. Canada (1978 and 2006) is the only other country to win gold at the tournament, which is played every four years. The Americans and Canadians kicked off the 142-game tournament July 10, with the U.S. winning 10-7 in its closest game thus far.
The Americans (6-0) have outscored their opponents 107-26.
"We're just trying to work on what we need to work on to be the best that we can be," reserve USA attack Kevin Leveille said. "It's hard, sometimes, when you get up early, to sustain the pressure and be careful to what we're doing to their feelings and whatnot, but I think we did a good job."