United States' Kathleen Sharkey, right, challenges against Argentina's Agustina Habif, left, during a women's field hockey match at 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Hussein Malla
August 07, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The United States claimed one of the biggest wins in its Olympic women's field hockey history, defeating No. 2 Argentina 2-1 Saturday in its opening match.

Agustina Albertarrio appeared to break a scoreless tie two minutes into the third period, but the Argentine's goal was nullified. Three minutes later, Katie Reinprecht slipped one under the goalkeeper to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.

Michelle Kasold then scored on a penalty corner with 10:26 to play. Delfina Merino scored for Argentina with 3:27 remaining, but he Americans held on.

The Americans haven't medaled since 1984, when they claimed bronze in Los Angeles. The United States gained momentum this year by placing third in the Champions Trophy in June, and its No. 5 world ranking is its highest ever.

The Americans spent most of the first period defending their side of the field, but they never broke, and the match was scoreless after the first 15 minutes, despite Argentina's 6-0 shot advantage.

The United States controlled the action through much of the second period, with six shots to Argentina's two. The Americans couldn't break through, and the match remained scoreless at halftime.

The United States dominated much of the second half.

Argentina is among the sport's greatest powers, but the United States has had success in some of their biggest matchups. The Americans defeated Argentina during the 2012 London Games before Argentina eventually recovered and earned silver. The Americans also beat Argentina last year in the gold medal match at the Pan American Games.

Argentina won the Champions Trophy final over No. 1-ranked Netherlands in June.

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: (at)CliffBruntAP

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