PAPEETE, Tahiti (Sept. 23, 2013) – The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team closed out its trip to the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup with a 6-4 victory against United Arab Emirates.
Nick Perera led the way with three goals, becoming the team’s scoring leader with five tallies throughout the tournament. Perera entered the Beach Soccer World Cup with 11 goals and two hat tricks during qualifying.
The USA (1-2) finished in third place in Group A and entered Monday’s remaining match knowing full well that quarterfinal advancement was out of the picture. Spain and Tahiti qualified for the quarterfinals on Saturday.
It marked the USA’s first win in the tournament since a 7-6 victory against Iran at the 2007 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
Playing in abnormally rainy and cool conditions at To’ata Stadium, United Arab Emirates’ Hasan Alhammadi needed only three seconds with a long-distance shot past U.S. goalkeeper Michael McAndrews and defender Francis Farberoff at the near right post to give his side an early lead. Perera responded, however, in just the second minute with a left-footed redirect set up by Jason Leopoldo to tie the score at 1-1. Tomas Canale then scored the first of his two goals – a left-footed volley – in the eighth minute for a 2-1 USA advantage, only to see UAE’s Karim Albalooshi knot things up about 20 seconds later as the score stood at 2-2 through the first period.
In the second period, Canale finished off his brace with an assist from Lewie Valentine, and Perera tallied his second goal approximately a minute later on a free kick as the USA pushed its lead to 4-2 through two periods. UAE goalkeeper Mohamed Aljasmi got away with running well off of his line to close the distance on Perera’s free kick, but the U.S. striker did not miss a beat with a low shot to the right of the frame.
To open the third, Canale did the brunt of the leg work in the right corner to set up Perera for his third goal with 10 minutes remaining for the USA’s biggest lead at 5-2. UAE made things interesting when Alhammadi notched his second goal of the game, followed by a surprising long-distance tally from UAE’s backup goalkeeper Abbas Hussain, who found the upper left corner to cut the U.S. lead to 5-4 with less than six minutes on the clock.
The U.S. secured a bit of a cushion with 2:26 remaining as Leopoldo scored his first goal of the event – a well-struck right-footed side volley to the far right post off of a Farberoff cross that cemented the final 6-4 score line.
The six goals were the most the U.S. scored in a single game at this year’s Beach Soccer World Cup.