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U.S. Eliminated from FIFA Futsal World Cup Following 5-3 Loss to Thailand

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Oct. 4, 2008) – The U.S. Futsal National Team saw its dreams of qualification for the second round of the FIFA Futsal World Cup come to an end against Thailand on Saturday with a 5-3 loss in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Keith Tozer's side put up a spirited effort, fighting back to tie the match early in the second half after falling behind by two goals, but couldn’t hold back the deserving Thai side.

Despite the loss, the U.S. will still play one more group game against Portugal on Monday, Oct. 6. Kickoff for the game is at 9:30 a.m. ET and can be seen tape delayed on Galavision at 12:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 7.

“I thought we did a great job to fight back for those two goals, but individually we broke down on defense with some mistakes,” said Tozer. “It's disappointing because it has happened to us in the first two games as well. [After Thailand's 3rd goal] We all felt like we could fight back because we dug out of that two goal hole from the first half. Thailand were sharper though and they hurt is with their speed and counter attack.”

The U.S. came into the game knowing that a win would keep their hopes of qualification alive, and they had the first opportunity to take the lead. Matthew Stewart burst into the Thailand box before being taken down, and the U.S. was rightly awarded a penalty.

From just 5 meters away, saving a penalty in Futsal requires courage more than anything, and Thai goalkeeper Surapong Tompa showed just that, using his face to keep out Denison Cabral's driven shot.

The penalty save swung the momentum in Thailand's favor and The War Elephants got on the board in the 14th minute. A U.S. giveaway sparked a quick Thailand counterattack, with Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn feeding Eakapong Suratsawang, who completed the slick move by finishing under goalkeeper Nick Vorberg.

Soon Thailand were two up, with Prasert Innui knocking in a pass from Sermphan Khumthinkaew.

The U.S. was searching for a response, and just before halftime they got the boost that they needed. Stewart, generally the most dangerous U.S. player, fed Mike Apple with a beautiful diagonal pass, and Apple's onetime finish cut the Thailand lead in half.

With the goal coming with just five seconds to go until halftime, the U.S. knew they would want to carry that energy through into the second period. From the whistle, Tozer's side pressured Thailand and soon the energetic display paid off.

Apple led a counterattack for the U.S. before squaring it to Cabral at the top of the area. Still with lots to do, Cabral finished the move delightfully, chipping over the goalkeeper to even the score.

From there it was anybody's game, and the teams traded shots until the U.S. was undone again by its usually reliable defense. Mistakes have plagued the U.S. throughout this FIFA Futsal World Cup, and against Thailand, the outcome was unfortunately similar.

Thailand's third goal was produced after Issarasuwipakorn was able to find space and finished Natthapon Suttiroj's pass at the far post.

Knowing that three valuable points were within range, Thailand were galvanized and soon extended their lead when Panuwat Janta knocked home a corner kick by Eakapong Suratsawang.

With the U.S. pushing for a goal, The Elephants iced the game through Khumthinkaew's low near post shot. There was still time for Pat Morris to grab a goal from Ptah Myers' inbounds pass, but it was too little, too late.

The U.S. still has one more game to go, as they face Portugal on Oct. 6 at 9:30 a.m. ET from the Maracanãzinho.

-- U.S. National Futsal Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Thailand
Date: October 4, 2008
Competition: FIFA Futsal World Cup – Group B
Venue: Maracanãzinho – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. BRT
Attendance: 3,908

Scoring Summary:    1    2    F
USA                             1    2    3
THA                              2    3    5

THA – Eakapong Suratsawang (Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn)    14th minute
THA – Prasert Innui (Sermphan Khumthinkaew)                       8th minute
USA – Mike Apple (Matthew Stewart)                                       20th minute
USA – Denison Cabral (Mike Apple)                                        22nd minute
THA – Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn (Natthapon Suttiroj)             29th minute
THA – Panuwat Janta (Eakapong Suratsawang)                      30th minute
THA – Sermphan Khumthinkaew                                              39th minute
USA – Pat Morris (Ptah Myers)                                                  40th minute

USA: 1-Nick Vorberg (GK),  6-Andy Rosenband, 8-Chile Farias, 11-Matthew Stewart,  13-Pat Morris,
Subs: 2-Joe Hammes, 3-Mike Apple 5-Denison Cabral. 7-Ptah Myers, 9-Andrew Jacobson, 10-Sandre Naumoski
Subs not used: 12-Jeff Richey (GK)
Head Coach: Keith Tozer

THA: 12-Surapong Tompa; 4-Panuwat Janta (capt.), 5-Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn, 9-Prasert Innui,  10-Eakapong Suratsawang
Subs: 3-Natthapon Suttiroj,  8-Tanakorn Santanaprasit, 11- Ekkaphan Suratsawang, 13-Sermphan Khumthinkaew, 14-Narongsak Khongkaew
Subs not used: 1-Somkid Chuenta, 2-Parinya Pandee
Head Coach: Jose Pazos

Stats Summary: USA / THA
Shots                           22 / 31
Shots on Goal               14 / 20
Saves                           15 / 11
Corner Kicks               10 / 11
Fouls                          8/ 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Matthew Stewart (caution)        27h minute
USA – Chile Farias (caution)            28th minute
USA – Andy Rosenband (caution)        30th minute
THA -  Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn (caution)    36th minute
USA – Chile Farias (ejection)            40th minute

Referee: Hector Rojas (PER)
2nd Referee: Tals Goulart (BRA)
3rd Referee: Oleg Ivanov (UKR)
Timekeeper: Ivan Shabanov (RUS)