GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (June 8, 2008) — Scoring early to draw Panama out of its favored tight zone, then making it pay for coming out, the U.S. national futsal team defeated Panama 7-1 on Sunday in the third-place game of the 2008 CONCACAF Championships, qualifying for the FIFA World Championships in Brazil.
Pat Morris and Andy Rosenband did the first-half damage, then Matthew Stewart connected for three scores in the second half as the U.S. qualified for the worlds for the third time in four CONCACAF Championships. It is the Americans’ second bronze medal in the CONCACAF, but the first time three teams were taken from the region for the worlds.
“The futsal program was on a treadmill today,” said U.S. Head Coach Keith Tozer. “And if we’d have lost, it would probably be on speed no. 1. If we won, it would go up to 10. Now we’re full speed ahead to get ready for the world championships.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys to come here, finish 3-1-1, get a medal, but most importantly, do what we really came to do — for a non-futsal nation, be considered one of the top teams in our region. We look forward to the challenge in Rio de Janeiro in September.”
Following the deflating 4-0 loss to Guatemala in the semifinals, the U.S. was challenged to return to the form it showed in crushing Costa Rica 6-2 at the close of Group B play. And it would have to do that without two field players, Dan DeGeer and Ptah Myers, who were sitting out for card accumulations. While not closing down Panama as convincingly in the back end, the U.S. clearly responded well.
Morris beat Oscar McFarlane at the far post on a direct kick in the 7th minute, after Denison Cabral took the ball away and drew a foul just outside the arc on the right flank. Soon after, Panama began to extend its defense and even engage in some man marking. It was a tactic Panama never had to use in its 1-1 tie with the U.S. in group play.
Finally, in the 19th minute, the open floor proved beneficial to the U.S. Sandre Naumoski made a run down the left side, into the corner, and left a ball for Rosenband streaking down the middle. His one-time finish sent the U.S. into the break up 2-0.
“I thought the game plan, the guys executed to a T,” Tozer said. “The first time we played Panama, we pressured them full-court but couldn’t create any counterattacks because of our pressure. This time, we dropped the pressure to halfcourt to give us space to get in behind them, and it worked.”
While Panama was able to generate some chances in the second half, keeper Jeff Richey kept his sheet clean until the game was well in hand. Richey made 19 saves and allowed just four goals in three CONCACAF starts.
“Jeff played brilliant,” Tozer said. “He was brilliant in the Costa Rica game, then today he did a really good job of controlling the area, a good job of seeing the ball and making big saves when we needed it.”
Stewart scored the first of his goals at the end of a classic target play in the 24th minute. Mike Apple held firm just above the top of the arc and left the ball for Stewart. He made one move then chipped the ball over a sliding McFarlane to make it 3-0.
Captain Denison Cabral set up the fourth goal in the 29th, deking two defenders and McFarlane on the right flank, then sliding a pass between the defenders to Stewart in the box.
Rosenband’s steal lead to a disputed fifth goal by Beasley, whose shot struck the underside of the crossbar and went straight down, and Stewart and Morris closed out the U.S. scoring late. Stewart led the U.S. with five goals in the tournament.
Guatemala and Cuba will join the U.S. in Brazil from the CONCACAF region. Twenty teams, including host Brazil and defending champion Spain, will vie for the FIFA World Championship beginning Sept. 30 in Rio and Brasilia.
Participants: U.S. National Futsal Team vs Panama
Competition: CONCACAF Futsal Championships 2008
Location: Domo Polideportivo, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Date: June 8, 2008
1st 2nd Final
PAN 0 1 1
USA 2 5 7
USA — Pat Morris, 7th minute
USA — Andy Rosenband, 19.
USA — Matthew Stewart, 24.
USA — Matthew Stewart, 29.
USA — Jamar Beasley, 36.
USA — Matthew Stewart, 38
PAN — Alfredo Phillips, 38
USA — Pat Morris, 38.
USA: 3-Jamar Beasley, 5-Denison Cabral,, 9-Pat Morris, 11-Matthew Stewart, 12-Jeff Richey
Subs used: 4-Mike Apple, 6-Andy Rosenband, 8-Chile Farias, 10-Sandre Naumoski.
Did not play: 1-Nick Vorberg
Not available: 2-Dan DeGeer, 7-Ptah Myers
Head coach: Keith Tozer.
PAN: 4-Augusto Harrison, 5-Alfredo Phillips, 6-Juan Murillo, 10-Apolinar Galvez, 12-Oscar McFarlane.
Subs used: 2-Chamiyr Toyloy, 3-Oscar Hinks, 8-Gilberto Rangel, 9-Miguel Lasso, 11-Alquis Alvarado.
Not available 1-Jose Victoria, 7-Aramis Haywood.
Head coach: Poriforio Rebolledo
USA - Beasley (Caution), 17th minute.
PAN - McFarlane (Caution), 32nd.
USA - Apple (Caution), 32nd.
PAN - Toyloy (Caution), 34th.
USA - Rosenband (Ejection), 36th.
PAN - McFarlane (Ejection), 38th.
Referee: Carlos Del Cid (GUA)
Second referee: Antonio Alvarez (CUB)
Third referee: Nelson Norales (GUA)
Timekeeper: Eduardo Hernandez (MEX)
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
June 8: USA 6, Panama 1
June 8: Guatemala vs. Cuba, 4 p.m.