Twelve goals in two days is an individual scoreline usually reserved for age-group water polo mismatches. Not so this week as USA Senior Men’s National Team sharpshooter Bret Bonanni has already achieved that tally after two games at the 2015 Pan American Games being held in Toronto.
The US men are there with the quite serious mission of winning the tournament to gain an automatic bid to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Failing to do so would not automatically eliminate them from next summer’s Olympics but would make it more difficult, an outcome that coach Dejan Udovicic and his players would very much like to avoid.
His team has already collected a gaudy 48 goals in two games against Ecuador and Cuba, neither of whom was expected to present a challenge to the improving Americans. Bonanni scored an incredible nine by himself in the first match and could be poised to run away as the tournament’s scoring leader. The team gets two days off after the convincing 21-4 win over Cuba and faces Argentina on Saturday for a chance at the medal stage. The South Americans are not expected to create many problems for Team USA who if victorious are prepared to face the much greater challenge posed by Canada and Brazil. The much-improved Brazilians defeated the US at the recent World League Super Final in one of the great overtime shootout matches in memory.
Prior to the team’s world travels multimedia journalist Steve Dent spent the day with Bonanni making the Huntington Beach rounds, including a bit of animal good Samaritanship and some copious feeding thanks to mom, all captured on film.