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U.S. Futsal Drops World Championship Opener to Italy


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TAO YUAN COUNTY, Taiwan (Sunday, November 21, 2004) – The strong defense and tactical skill of the U.S. caught Italy off guard in the opening game for Group C at the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004, but the European champions prevailed by a 6-3 margin Sunday night in Linkou Gymasium.

The U.S. struck first in the 11th minute on a goal by midfielder Johnny Torres and twice cut the Italian advantage with corner kick goals. Italy was able to hold off the U.S. effort with two key goals each from their stars Adriano Foglia and Edgar Bertoni.

The U.S. had two chances to get on the board at the end of the first half, twice failing to convert on 10-meter free kicks. The U.S. also had a pair of breakaways, but was not able get the ball past Italian goalkeeper Gianfranco Angelini’s 6-foot, 235 pound frame.

“Obviously we wanted to win the first game, but it isn’t a do or die situation for us,” said U.S. head coach Keith Tozer after his first World Championship match at the helm. “I feel very good about how my team played today. If we had cleaned up a couple of mistakes and finished our two 10-meter opportunities in the first half I think it might have been a different story. We are very positive and very confident that we will come out Tuesday and play as well if not better.”

Italy had a 33-17 advantage on the shot chart, but nearly half of their chances missed the target and U.S. was able to get 12 of their 17 shots on frame. Angelini came up with nine saves, while Scott Hileman stopped 12 shots for the U.S.

Johnny Torres got the U.S. on the board in the 11th minute with a great individual effort at the top of the Italian box. Just after Italy had won the ball, he pressured defender Pelligrini immediately and knocked him over with a hard shoulder challenge. A quick cutback forced Angelini to the floor, and Torres slotted a shot from nine feet out inside the left post.

Italy would equalize less than two minutes later after some confusion and congestion in the U.S. defensive area. A defender poked the ball back to Hileman who failed to clear and passed the ball to Pat Morris in the corner. Italy immediately pressured and as Hileman attempted to grab the ball, it was tapped out to Foglia who was able to finish into an open net.

The U.S. would have the first of two golden opportunities in the final minutes of the half after Italy had accumulated the limit of five fouls in the half. With 4:17 to play Bowers drew a foul on the left side, setting up a 10-meter opportunity for the U.S. Pat Morris stepped up to take the kick and fired just wide to the left.

Just more than 30 second later, Italy caught the U.S. forward and was able to counter. Foglia started the break up the right wing and cut a ball through traffic to Edgar Bertoni running free on the left. He beat Torres and fired a high shot to the far that left Hileman with little chance to make the save.

With just more than one minute to play in the first half, Greg Howes was knocked down just outside of the U.S. penalty area, setting up and open free kick because the foul occurred closer to goal than the 10-meter spot. Howes stepped up to take the kick, and just sent the ball outside of the left post on his chance.

Italy came out on the offensive in the second half, but it was the U.S. who was able to equalize before the Italians could build on their lead. Just seconds after Morris had an opportunity stopped by Angelini in the 26th minute, the U.S. would capitalize on a corner kick. With Angelini still behind his goal fetching the ball, the U.S. was ready for the corner after John Ball retrieved another ball from a ball boy. Guatemalan referee Carlos Del Cid allowed the U.S. to take the kick just as Angelini was returning to his goalmouth. Ball slotted the ball through the defense to Todd Dusosky on the run and his first-time finish beat the disorganized defense and goalkeeper from just inside the penalty area.

The lead would go to the Italians for good in the 27thi minute on a defensive miscue by the U.S. Grana was able to find space 10 meters from goal even with the left post. He calmly took a touch and rocked a right-footed shot that curled away from Hileman and into the upper right corner. One minute later, Foglia would score his a second rocket with a left-footed blast into the top corner. It was the 32nd international goal for Foglia in his 47th appearance.

The U.S. would strike again on a corner kick to cut the lead to 4-3 in the 30th minute. Torres sent a corner kick to the top of the area. U.S. captain Sean Bowers made a dummy run, faking a right-footed shot. Morris came in behind him with a left-footed rocket past Angelini.

Pellegrini scored the insurance goal that Italy needed for breathing room in the 35th minute. He was able to find space 10 meters from the U.S. goal and blasted the ball on goal. As Hileman was diving to his left to make the save, the ball brushed the side of Greg Howes to change direction and go into the goal just inside the left post. With the fifth attacker on for the final three minutes for the U.S., they surrendered the sixth goal with just more than a minute left to play. Bertoni was fed the ball five meters from the left post on a counter attack and slotted the ball past Ball, who retreated into goal to play defense.

Ball was booked for the U.S. in the 25th minute. Andy Guastaferro was a healthy scratch for the U.S., and Steve Butcher sat out with a foot injury for the U.S. to get their game-day roster down to the required 12 players.

The U.S. continues group play on Tuesday, November 23 at 8 p.m. local time/7 a.m. ET vs. Paraguay at Linkou Gymnasium. Paraguay came from behind to beat Japan 5-4 in the other Group C match on Sunday night. The U.S. vs. Paraguay match will be available live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Galavision will broadcast the match at 10 p.m. ET on the East Coast and in the Midwest and at 10 p.m. PT on the West Coast.

- U.S. National Futsal Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. National Futsal Team vs. Italy
Competition: FIFA Futsal World Championship 2004
Location: Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County, Taiwan
Date: November 21, 2004
Attendance: 500

Scoring Summary:
                        1st     2nd     Final
Italy  2 4 6
United States 1 2 3

USA – Johnny Torres   11th minute
ITA – Adriano Foglia   13.
ITA – Edgar Bertoni   18.
USA – Todd Dusosky (John Ball) 26.
ITA – Grana    27.
ITA – Foglia    28.
USA – Pat Morris (Johnny Torres) 30.
ITA – Pellegrini    35’
ITA – Bertoni*    39’

*U.S. defending with fifth attacker.

Lineups:
USA – 1-Scott Hileman, 5-Todd Dusosky, 6-Sean Bowers, 8-Johnny Torres, 10-John Ball
Subs Used: 3-Lee Tschantret, 4-Jamar Beasley, 7-Pat White, 9-Greg Howes, 13-Joel Shanker 14-Pat Morris
Did Not Play: 12-Brett Phillips
Not Available: 11-Steve Butcher, 2-Andy Guastaferro
Head Coach: Keith Tozer

ITA – 1-Gianfranco Angelini, 5-Salvatore Zaffiro, 6-Edgar Bertoni, 7-Vinicius Bacaro, 9-Fabiano
Subs Used: 2-Grana, 3-Pellegrini, 8-Andre Vicentini, 10-Adriano Foglia, 11-Morgado, 13-Sandro Zanetti
Did Not Play:12-Alexandre Feller
Not Available: 4-Montovaneli, 14-Rodrigo Bertoni 
Head Coach: Alessandro Nuccorini

Stats Summary
 USA ITA
Shots 17 33
SOG 12 18
Corners 6 5
Fouls 5/2 7/3
Saves 12 9

Misconduct Summary:
USA – John Ball Caution  25th minute

Match Officials:
Referee: Carlos Del Cid (GUA)
Second Referee: Victor Van Helvoirt (NED)
Third Referee: Ching Hau Sheen (TPE)
Timekeeper: Karoly Torok (HUN)

Group C Standings
 GP W L T PTS GF GA GD
ITA 1 1 0 0 3 6 3 +3
PAR 1 1 0 0 3 5 4 +1
JPN 1 0 1 0 0 4 5 -1
USA 1 0 1 0 0 3 6 -3

Group C Schedule/Results
Date Match/Result  Venue; City      Local/ET TV Delay: ET - CT - PT
Nov. 21 Italy 6, USA 3  Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County    6 p.m. / 5 a.m. 8 p.m. - 7 p.m. - 5 p.m.
 Paraguay 5, Japan 4 Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County    8 p.m. / 7 a.m.
Nov. 23 USA vs. Paraguay Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 8 p.m. / 7 a.m. 10 p.m. - 9 p.m. - 10 p.m.
 Italy vs. Japan  Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 6 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Nov. 25 USA vs. Japan  National Taiwan University; Taipei City 8 p.m. / 7 a.m. 10 p.m. - 9 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Paraguay vs. Italy Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 8 p.m. / 7 a.m.

Group A
 GP W L T PTS GF GA GD
EGY 1 1 0 0 3 12 0 +12
ESP 1 1 0 0 3 2 0 +2
UKR 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 -2
TPE 1 0 1 0 0 0 12 -12

Group B Standings
 GP W L T PTS GF GA GD
AUS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BRA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CZE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
THA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group D Standings
 GP W L T PTS GF GA GD
ARG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CUB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
IRN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
POR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


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