PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (May 16, 2019) – The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team defeated the Bahamas 3-2 Thursday afternoon to complete a sweep of Group C at the 2019 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship. Tanner Akol scored twice and Nick Perera converted a late game-winning penalty kick after Bahamas had evened the scored in the final period.
Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stage, and as group winners, the USA will face Group D’s second-place team in Friday’s Quarterfinals, while Bahamas plays Group D’s winner.
Bahamas proved to be a much tougher opponent than the USA’s first two challengers. After an early long distance freekick goal from Nick Perera was wavied off for encroachment, goalkeeper Chris Toth was called to make a number of saves as the teams played a scoreless first period. The USA broke the deadlock midway through the second when Toth made a save and quickly found Perera downfield. The USA captain flicked the ball to Akol who touched it past the ‘keeper for his eighth goal of the competition.
Bahamas came close to scoring minutes later, but Jason Leopoldo read the play well and backed up Toth to stop a shot on goal. David Mondragon nearly doubled the USA’s lead with a bicycle attempt from the sideline only to see the shot hit the left post.
Akol added his second strike at the start of the third period with another of his acrobatic bicycle kicks. Bahamas kept battling and leveled the match with two goals in five minutes. The first came on a shot from distanced by Timothy Munnings that deflected off the sand, then a defender, and finally over Toth. Bahamas’ second came on a nicely worked long throw-in to the far post that Jean Francois headed in.
Perera then notched the game-winner with 2:22 remaining when he was taken down in the box and converted the ensuing penalty kick.
Up Next: The USA advances to the quarterfinals and will face the Group D winner between Guadalupe and El Salvador on Friday, May 17 (4:30 p.m. ET). Friday’s winner will face the winner of the Bahamas vs. Guadelupe / El Salvador loser in Saturday’s semifinals. The tournaments two semifinal winners advance to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. All of the USA’s matches can be seen on UDN and the ConcacafGo app.
- The USA is now 6-0 against the Bahamas at the Concacaf Championship, including 5-0 in group stage matches.
- With the win the USA extends its unbeaten streak in Group play of the Concacaf Championship to 17 straight (2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019). The team’s last group stage loss was in the 2008 edition.
- Tanner Akol leads the tournament with nine goals and Nick Perera is in second place with eight ahead of the evening games.
- The nine goals by Akol place him in a tie for second-most by a USA player in a World Cup Qualifying tournament alongside Alessandro Canale, who also scored nine in 2017. Perera, who now has 32 career goals in this tournament, scored 11 in 2013.
- The USA has only conceded four goals through the group stage, two each by Chris Toth and Juan Cervantes.