U.S. Futsal National Qualifies for FIFA Futsal World Cup With 2-0 Win Against Dominican Republic
Goals From Raphael Araujo and Tomas Pondeca Send USA Back to Futsal World Cup for First Time Since 2008; Team Advances to Concacaf Futsal Championship Semifinals
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (May 7, 2021) – The U.S. Futsal National Team is returning to the FIFA Futsal World Cup after defeating the Dominican Republic 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Futsal Championship on Friday afternoon. Golazos on either side of the half from Raphael Araujo and Tomas Pondeca plus some stout defending and goalkeeping secured one of the four Concacaf berths to the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania and advanced the USA to the tournament semifinals against Guatemala on Saturday.
This marks the USA’s sixth trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup and first since 2008. The red, white and blue participated in the inaugural 1989 tournament and also in 1992, 1996 and 2004.
The win on Friday was the USA’s third in a row after tying the opening match, marking the first time the U.S. has won three consecutive matches at the Concacaf Futsal Championship since sweeping the group stage in 2000.
The USA jumped to an early lead after less than two minutes on a cheeky goal from Raphael Araujo on yet another set piece. Luciano Gonzalez set down a corner kick and passed to the top of the arc to Julian Escobar, who flicked the ball through two defenders to the back post. With his back to the goal, Araujo took a touch with his right and back heeled the ball past Dominican Republic goalkeeper Jose Perez for a beautiful opening goal. It was the team’s third tally off a corner in the last two games.
The Dominican Republic would prove to be a threat throughout, putting the USA on its heels and forcing goalkeeper Diego Moretti to be on the top of his game. Still, the USA took the advantage into the break, and then doubled the lead five minutes into the second half. Tomas Pondeca tried to catch Perez by surprise off a corner, blasting a shot off Perez’s face at the near post. The ball would come back around to Pondeca near midfield and the 19-year-old went right at goal. Drawing Perez out, Pondeca then stepped over the ball to set up his right, leaving the ’keeper behind before ripping a shot for his second goal of the tournament.
From there it took a collective defensive effort and outstanding goalkeeping to withstand the Dominican Republic’s pressure and preserve the clean sheet, marking for USA’s first shutout since defeating Cuba 2-0 in the 2004 tournament final.
The other three quarterfinal winners who claimed World Cup spots were Panama, which defeated Canada on penalty kicks 4-3 after the teams drew 1-1, Costa Rica, who routed Suriname 12-1, and Guatemala after defeating El Salvador on penalty kicks following a 4-4 game.
The USA moves on to the semifinals - its fifth appearance in the competition's final four and first since 2008 - on Saturday against host Guatemala at 8 p.m. ET, live on TUDN. The teams have met twice in the Concacaf Futsal Championship, with the USA defeating Guatemala in the 1996 semifinals (W 7-3) and Guatemala edging the USA in the 2008 semis (0-4).
Costa Rica meets Panama in the other semifinal. The winner of each will play for the Concacaf Futsal Championship title on Sunday and the losing sides will meet for third place.
- U.S. Futsal Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Futsal Men’s National Team vs. Dominican Republic
Date: May 7, 2021
Competition: 2021 Concacaf Futsal Championship
Venue: Domo Polideportivo; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Attendance: No fans permitted
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. local
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA - Raphael Araujo (Julian Escobar) 18’ 39” (First Half)
USA - Tomas Pondeca (Eduardo Buenfil) 14’22” (Second Half)