This was the second meeting for both teams during this tournament and it was another physical match that saw 21 total fouls (USA-11, MEX-10), five yellow card cautions (USA-3, MEX-2) and four red card ejections (USA-2, MEX-2).
"You had two proud countries playing each other for the bronze medal and neither team wanted to lose," said Head Coach Keith Tozer. "After we were up 3-1, Mexico began to get frustrated and the match turned ugly towards the end, but I'm happy with the way the team played excellent defense and most of all stayed professional in and out of the game."
The battle for the last medal of the tournament began with the USA (4-1) falling behind early in the seventh minute when forward Jesus Torres scored on Mexico's (2-3) first shot of the game.
The Americans responded with a goal by forward Brian Loftin (Milwaukee Wave/Rampage - NPSL/A-League) off a corner kick by defender Sean Bowers (Detroit Rockers - NPSL) in the 11thminute.
The U.S. took the lead just before the half (19th minute), when forward Matt Tirschman (Milwaukee Wave - NPSL) intercepted a bad pass by Mexican goalkeeper Luis Kleyman and dished out a low cross to forward Lee Tschantret (Detroit Rockers - NPSL) who shot towards an empty net.
In the second half, Mexico came out determined to level the score with several dangerous scoring opportunities but USA ?keeper Otto Orf (Cleveland Crunch - NPSL), who extended his perfect lifetime futsal record to 7-0, made several key saves to maintain the lead.
"This is the highest honor for me personally," said Orf. "I take great pride with this streak and I hope that I can continue to put it to the test in the future."
The U.S. scored its third goal of the match in the 25th minute after a fast break started by Tschantret with defender Jeff Davis (St. Louis Steamers - WISL) finishing with a goal for the 3-1 advantage.
Loftin added his second goal of the game off a free kick in the 29th minute to give the Americans a comfortable 4-1 lead. The tough and physical game continued and resulted four ejections in the final five minutes of the match.
Then Loftin completed the hat-trick, in the 40th minute, off another free kick from 10 meters out after Mexico committed its sixth team foul.
"It is always nice to get a hat-trick in an international game," said Loftin, who earns his second medal in CONCACAF Tournament play. "It was great when we won the gold in 1996. The team rebounded well from our semifinal loss, so this bronze medal is very special to us."
The victory gives the USA a 7-2 lifetime record in two CONCACAF Championship Tournaments (1996 Guatemala, 2000 Costa Rica).
"We played our best game of the tournament," said Head Coach Keith Tozer. "The team played with a lot of character and even though the door to the world championship has closed for us, this win opens another one for the future."
In the nightcap, Costa Rica (5-0) took the gold medal in the Championship Game with a 2-0 blanking of Cuba. Both Costa Rica and Cuba advance to the FIFA Futsal World Championship in Guatemala (Nov. 18 - Dec. 3), while the USA will miss the tournament for the first time in its history.
Futsal is a sport derivative of soccer and played with five-man teams on a basketball style court, with no walls and a low bouncing ball. Great soccer superstars such as Pele, Zico and Ronaldo grew up playing the game and credit Futsal with developing their skills. U.S. Futsal under the banner of U.S. Soccer is the Governing Body for the sport.
2000 U.S. FUTSAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||United States Futsal Team vs. Mexico Futsal Team|
|Competition:||2000 CONCACAF Championship - Third Place Match|
|Venue:||Palacio de los Deportes (Heredia, Costa Rica|
|Date:||July 29, 2000 - kickoff 8:30 p.m. local (MT)|
MEX - Jesus Torres, (Meir Kastro), 7,
USA - Brian Loftin, (Sean Bowers), 11,
USA - Lee Tschantret, (Matt Tirschman), 19,
USA - Jeff Davis, (Tschantret), 25,
USA - Loftin (Unassisted), 29,
USA - Loftin (Unassisted), 40.
USA - GK-Otto Orf, D-Sean Bowers (Capt.), D-Jeff Davis, F-Lee Tschantret, F-Matt Tirschman; Subs - D-Glenn Carbonara, D-Josh Timbers, F-Bernie Lilavois, F-Temoc Suarez, F-Brian Loftin, F-Wes Wade.
MEXB - GK-Abel Treppmann (Capt.); D-Victor Huerta, D-Jose Montiel, F-Francisco Ramirez, F-Raul Sidaui; Subs - GK-Luis Kleyman, D-Jesus Rodriguez, F-Leonardo Morales, F-Abraham Sofer, F-Jesus Torres.
|Head Coach (ejection)||24,|
|Team Docter (ejection)||40,|
|2000 CONCACAF Championship (Heredia, Costa Rica)|
|Costa Rica*||3||3||0||0||19||6||9 (+13 GD)|
|Cuba*||3||2||1||0||24||10||6 (+14 GD)|
|Surinam||3||1||2||0||18||22||3 (-4 GD)|
|Nicaragua||3||0||3||0||7||30||0 (-23 GD)|
|2000 CONCACAF Championship (Heredia, Costa Rica)|
|United States*||3||3||0||0||15||2||9 (+13 GD)|
|Mexico*||3||2||1||0||10||6||6 (+4 GD)|
|Neth. Antilles||3||1||2||0||5||11||3 (-6 GD)|
|Puerto Rico||3||0||3||0||2||13||0 (-11 GD)|
* Advances to Semifinals
July 20 Cuba 13, Surinam 4
July 21 Mexico 4, Netherlands Antilles 1
July 22 Cuba 9, Nicaragua 2
July 23 Mexico 4, Puerto Rico 2
July 24 Surinam 11, Nicaragua 4
July 25 Netherlands Antilles 4, Puerto Rico 0
July 27 Cuba 4, USA 2
July 29 USA 5, Mexico 1 (Third Place Match)
^ Both finalists (Costa Rica & Cuba) advance to 2000 FIFA World Championship in Guatemala (November 18 - December 3).