In its final game, against Australia, the U.S. was assured of the bronze medal, win or lose. The U.S. trailed the Aussies by three goals in the late going but drew to within one by the end of the fourth quarter. Again they were a man up with 35 seconds left, and again their opponents held on for an 8-7 victory. The win clinched the gold for the Aussies.
So the Americans returned home to their gondolas, computer terminals and, in Nitta's case, the gaming tables in Vegas. The Goons plan to reunite in December to begin training for next summer's FINA Cup. But the event is in New Zealand and funding is scarce—figure on one training table that will be loaded with macaroni and cheese.