With a bandage on his forehead to stop a gash from bleeding, Omar Amr
typified the U.S. men's water polo team that also suffered a blow
from Greece in an opening game of the FINA World League Super Final.
Team USA, which includes five former UC Irvine standouts, lost,
13-12, in a penalty shootout to a physical Greece squad in front of
3,417 fans, that were rather subdued, at the Charter All-Digital
Aquatic Centre in Long Beach Friday night.
The game was tied, 8-8, at the end of regulation, and there were
seven ties. Christos Afroudakis scored the game-winning goal in the
After the game, Amr, a UCI product, sat and signed autographs,
while every so often, holding the bandage that covered a gash on the
right side of his forehead. He said he would need stitches.
With 1:40 left in regulation, Amr said Theodoros Kalakonas grabbed
Amr's head and smashed it into Kalakonas' knee under the water.
"They're a physical team," Amr said when asked if the play was
dirty. "We just wanted to stay with them. We gave it everything we
could, but we didn't come through. I was frustrated. It's not fair
that I had to leave the game like that."
The Americans, ranked No. 6, will play Spain today at 6:30 p.m. in
a fifth-place game. Greece, ranked No. 4, will take on top-ranked
Hungary at 8 p.m.
Brett Ormsby gave Team USA its first lead, connecting on an
outside shot with a skip-shot goal, giving the Americans an 8-7 lead
with 6:43 remaining. But Meuthos Voulgarakis scored on a six-on-five
situation with five minutes left, which would send the game into the
There were five players selected from each team for the shootout,
that had the shooters firing away from five meters out. Tony Acevedo,
who scored three goals, missed to open the shootout, but Jesse Smith,
as well. Goalie Brandon Brooks made two saves during the first round
of the shootout. Wigo's goal gave Team USA an 11-10 lead. But the Greeks scored again.
The teams traded goals again, and then Smith's shot was stuffed by
Nikolaos Deligiannis, setting the stage for Afroudakis, who had three
The Americans had to rally in the first quarter, just to stay on
pace with Greece and eventually set up the shootout. The Greeks
opened the game with a 2-0 lead.
Team USA was 4 for 12 and Greece was 5 for 8 on the man advantage.
It's disappointing that we never played to the best of our ability
in front of our own crowd," said Bailey, a former UCI standout. "In
the beginning we gave them two quick goals and that cost us the
Bill Barnett, a former Olympic coach and the current Newport
Harbor High girls water polo head man, is on the U.S. Olympic
coaching staff. He's the video scout coach and will be accompanying
the team in Athens, Greece next month.