GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (June 7, 2008) — A thunderous home crowd at Domo Polideportivo carried Guatemala over the U.S. national futsal team 4-0 on Saturday in the semifinals of the 2008 CONCACAF Championships. In order to qualify for this year’s FIFA World Championships in Brazil, the U.S. must beat Panama in the third-place game on Sunday.
After a scoreless first half, the game turned dramatically in just three minutes.
Guatemala got on the board first when Marion Noj’s toe poke to the near post snuck past Nick Vorberg in the 22nd minute. In the 23rd minute, Carlos Eduardo Estrada left a backheel for a streaking Erick Acevedo, and he chipped the ball past Vorberg to put Guatemala up 2-0.
Just 14 seconds later, the U.S.’s Ptah Myers was given his second yellow card of the game, for a handball, and was sent off. Already missing Jamar Beasley and Denison Cabral for card accumulations, the Americans played the last 17 minutes with just seven field players.
“We felt 0-0 at halftime was OK for us,” said U.S. Head Coach Keith Tozer. “There were opportunities for us as well as them. But we got tired, and when they got a two-goal lead, they pretty much shut us down.”
The U.S. was unable to generate many good offensive chances until sending Pat Morris out as the sixth attacker with 5: 23 to go. Then the pressure increased on Guatemala keeper Carlos Merida, who was up to that challenge.
Mike Apple headed a ball to Sandre Naumoski at the back post at the 5:12 mark, but he couldn’t redirect it in. Dan DeGeer met the same fate about a minute later on another feed from Apple.
Then Guatemala really put the screws to the U.S. with the third goal, by Jannick Ramirez, in the 37th minute. The best U.S. chance after that came when Morris drilled the post from distance, but the game ended as the first shutout loss for the U.S. in CONCACAF play. Merida’s punt the length of the court was the final tally in the 40th minute.
“When they got that second goal, they made it very difficult for us,” Tozer said. “We couldn’t find any gaps in their defense.”
Defensively, the noise at Domo Polideportivo — “7,000 that sounded like 50,000,” Tozer said — made it tough for the U.S. to communicate. After using their defensive pressure to create scores in the group stage, the U.S. just couldn’t get that done on Saturday.
“Our goal was to come to Guatemala and qualify for the World Championships,” Tozer said. “That door is not closed for us.”
In group play, the U.S. tied Panama 1-1 as Panama packed in its defense and sought to counter. The same strategy in the semifinals against Cuba worked until they fell behind 2-1 and were forced to come out. Cuba added a third goal, then the keeper punted in a clincher in the final minute.
“It’s important for us to bring them out and play a game that’s up and down the court,” Tozer said.
The U.S. will have to do that once again playing without two field players. Myers sits out following his red card, and DeGeer picked up his second yellow of the tournament and also is unavailable.
Participants: U.S. National Futsal Team vs Guatemala
Competition: CONCACAF Futsal Championships 2008
Location: Domo Polideportivo, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Date: June 7, 2008
1st 2nd Final
GUA 0 4 4
USA 0 0 0
GUA — Marion Noj, 22nd minute
GUA — Erick Acevedo, 23rd minute
GUA — Jannick Ramirez, 37th minute
GUA — Carlos Merida, 40th minute
GUA— 1-Carlos Merida, 3-Marion Noj, 5-Manuel Aristondo, 10-Erick Acevedo, 11-Estuardo De Leon
Subs used: 2-Daniel Eduardo Tejada, 4-Jose Rafael Gonzalez, 6-Oliver Lopez, 7-Jannick Ramirez, 8-Reinaldo Rosales, 9-Carlos Eduardo Estrada
Did not play: 12-William Ramirez
Head coach: Carlos Eduardo Estrada
USA — 1-Nick Vorberg, 4-Mike Apple, 8-Chile Farias, 9-Pat Morris, 11-Matthew Stewart
Subs used: 2-Dan DeGeer, 6-Andy Rosenband, 7-Ptah Myers, 10-Sandre Naumoski.
Did not play: 12-Jeff Richey
Not available: 3-Jamar Beasley, 5-Denison Cabral
Head coach: Keith Tozer.
USA — DeGeer (yellow, 3rd), Morris (yellow, 9th), Myers (yellow, 22nd), Myers (red, 23rd (second yellow))
GUA — None.
Referee: Francisco Rivera (MEX)
Second referee: Eduardo Hernandez (MEX)
Third referee: Ricardo Diaz (PAN)
Timekeeper: Antonio Alvarez (CUB)
GP W L T PTS GF GA GD
CUB 3 1 0 2 5 14 7 7
GUA 3 1 0 2 5 11 6 5
MEX 3 1 0 2 5 12 8 4
TRT 3 0 3 0 0 6 21 -15
June 3: Cuba 2, Mexico 2
June 3: Guatemala 5, Trinidad & Tobago 0
June 4: Cuba 9, Trinidad & Tobago 2
June 4: Guatemala 3, Mexico 3
June 5: Mexico 7, Trinidad & Tobago 3
June 5: Guatemala 3, Cuba 3
GP W L T PTS GF GA GD
USA 3 2 0 1 7 12 6 6
PAN 3 1 0 2 5 11 7 4
CRC 2 1 1 1 4 21 12 9
HTI 3 0 3 0 0 3 22 -19
June 3: Panama 6, Costa Rica 6
June 3: USA 5, Haiti 3
June 4: Costa Rica 13, Haiti 0
June 4: USA 1, Panama 1
June 5: Panama 4, Haiti 0
June 5: USA 6, Costa Rica 2
June 7: Cuba 4, Panama 1
June 7: Guatemala 4, USA 0
Final/Third Place Game:
June 8: USA vs. Panama, 2 p.m.
June 8: Guatemala vs. Cuba, 4 p.m.