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U.S. edges Haiti 5-3 to go out in front in CONCACAF Futsal Championships Group B

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (June 3, 2008) — The United States futsal team grabbed the early lead in Group B of the CONCACAF Futsal Championships today, holding off Haiti 5-3 to earn the full three points at Domo Polideportivo.

Panama and Costa Rica tied, 6-6, in the first Group B contest, putting the Americans in position to advance to the semifinals merely by winning one of their last two games.

Five different players scored for the U.S., who took a 4-1 lead early in the second half, then saw Haiti cut the margin to 4-3 before Matthew Stewart scored the clinching goal in the 39th minute.

“I don’t think we played our best game,” said U.S. Head Coach Keith Tozer. “I thought our passing wasn’t really that crisp at times. I don’t think our finishing was that good. Overall, our goal was to get three points, and that’s what we did.”

The U.S. game plan was to take the lead first didn’t pan out, as Haiti fired a long shot in the fourth minute that was deflected in front of the net and changed direction. Nick Vorberg had no chance to make the stop, and Haiti took the early lead in its first CONCACAF futsal match.

But the defensive pressure that Tozer sees as a hallmark of this team paid off just one minute later. Chile Farias forced a turnover and played some back-and-forth with Denison Cabral, leading to Cabral’s score in the fifth minute.

Sandre Naumoski scored his first international goal in his first game in the 11th minute, after Mike Apple drew a foul near the 10-meter spot. Naumoski’s free kick put the U.S. head to stay.

Another set piece led to a 3-1 advantage in the 16th minute. Pat Morris touched a corner kick into Cabral, who played it back to Morris. The defender rifled a left-footed cross to Jamar Beasley, and he volleyed it in at the back post. Morris (19 caps) and Beasley (18) are the two most experienced international players on the U.S. roster, and it showed on that play.

“Set pieces are a big part of the game of soccer, and we’ve got some great guys on the ball,” Tozer said. “Denison Cabral, Pat Morris, Chile Farias — they’re guys who can really strike the ball.”

When Farias rifled in a long shot after Stewart forced a turnover, it was 4-1 in the 26th minute and the U.S. looked to be in position to run away.

But Haiti countered in the 27th minute, then scored another deflected goal from distance in the 36th minute to create a tense situation for the Americans.

“We’re a very good team that presses the point of attack and, on all three goals, we did not step out quick enough,” Tozer said. “And when you don’t step out, it allows the shot, and then the deflection.”

But Stewart gave the U.S. a cushion with just under two minutes remaining at the end of a 3-on-1 break. The initial opportunity was saved, but a loose ball rolled in front with the keeper out of position, and Stewart poked it into the empty net.

“We feel that with the youth of our team, we will only get better as the tournament goes on,” Tozer said. “We had the opportunity to score more goals today. Our finishing wasn’t that sharp.”

The U.S. team next faces Panama at 12 p.m. local time, 2 p.m. ET, on Wednesday, June 4. The U.S. and Panama played to a 2-all draw in the 2004 CONCACAF Championships in the only futsal match the two countries have played. Panama is making its second appearance in the CONCACAF Championships.

Panama scored a stunning tie against Costa Rica on Tuesday in a breathtaking match. Panama led 4-0, saw Costa Rica scored six consecutive times, then tallied twice in the final 3 minutes to knot the score. A chance to win in the final minute barely eluded the Canaleros, when a shot at the back post caught just enough of the inside post to deflect out of bounds in the far corner.

Participants: U.S. National Futsal Team vs. Haiti
Competition: CONCACAF Futsal Championships 2008
Location: Domo Polideportivo. Guatemala City, Guatemala
Date: June 3, 2008

Scoring Summary:    1     2     Final
Haiti                               1     2       3
USA                               3     2       5

HTI — Edouard Voltaire             3rd minute.
USA — Denison Cabral             4.
USA — Sandre Naumoski        10.
USA — Jamar Beasley              16.
USA — Chile Farias                    26.
HTI —Edouard Voltaire               25.
HTI — Elaicin Rigarden              38.
USA — Matthew Stewart             39.

USA: 1-Nick Vorberg, 5-Denison Cabral, 8-Chile Farias, 9-Pat Morris, 11-Matthew Stewart
Subs Used: 2-Dan DeGeer, 3-Jamar Beasley, 4-Mike Apple, 6-Andy Rosenband, 7-Ptah Myers, 10-Sandre Naumoski.
Did Not Play: 12-Jeff Richey
Head Coach: Keith Tozer

HAI: 12-Guerreir Marc Stines – 2-Jouinvilma Marcel, 4-Eliacin Rigarden, 6-Louidhon Brifil, 9-Venett Robins.
Subs: 3-Bazil Jean Richard Patrick, 5-Edouard Voltaire, 7-Louis Cutile Jhon, 8-Antoine Pierre Davidson, 10-Chaperon James, 11-Feuillé Sadrac.
Head Coach: Webens Prensime

Misconduct Summary:
USA - Dan DeGeer (caution)            32nd minute.
USA - Chile Farias (caution)             32.

Referee: Carlos DEL CID (GUA)
TK: Emigdio Jesus GARCIA (NCA)