PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (May 18, 2019) – The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team clinched a berth at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup with a dramatic, penalty kick win over El Salvador after the teams drew 3-3 through three periods and added extra time. The win also advanced the USA to the 2019 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship title match on Sunday, May 19 against Mexico, which defeated Panama 3-0 in the other semifinal. This is the fifth time the USA has qualified for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and first since 2013.
For the second consecutive game, the USA conceded the opening goal when El Salvador’s Exon Perdomo put away a hard shot after picking up a loose ball some 15 yards from goal. El Salvador nearly doubled the lead 10 minutes in when a shot hit the crossbar but landed and stuck on the goal line. With the opening period clock running out, Nick Perera drew a foul some twelve yards out and put away the shot in the upper 90 to draw even.
USA goalkeeper Chris Toth was put under heavy pressure in the second but time again he came through, including diving saves on two bikes and a point-blank scissors attempt. El Salvador finally broke through in the last minute of the second period when Perdomo ripped a shot past Toth.
WATCH: Highlights of the USA's World Cup Clinching Win vs. El Salvador
And there was little Toth could do when Perdomo hit a fantastic bike off a long pass to put El Salvador up by two goals midway through the third period. However, the USA reacted quickly, with Toth ripping a 25-yard shot at goal that Alessandro Canale redirected in front of the ‘keeper to cut the deficit back to one.
With one minute and twenty seconds remaining, David Mondragon caught El Salvador napping with a quick throw-in from the far sideline, finding Adriano dos Santos inside the box. Dos Santos deftly headed the ball over the on-rushing ‘keeper and the stadium watched as the ball seemed to slowly trickle in to tie the match.
After a scoreless overtime the USA scored on all five penalty kick attempts before El Salvador’s Elmer Robles hit his kick over, setting the stage for the USA to celebrate the return to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
Up Next: The USA will play Mexico for the 2019 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship on Sunday, May 19 at 4:45 p.m. ET. Fans can watch the game live on UDN, Concacaf’s Facebook page and the ConcacafGo app, and follow on Twitter at @ussoccer or Instagram at @ussoccer_beach.
- The USA has now qualified for five of the soon to be 10 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2019, trailing only Mexico which has qualified for six including 2019.
- The last time both the USA and Mexico qualified from Concacaf was in 2007.
- Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay (host), Nigeria, Senegal, Japan, Oman, and United Arab Emirates have also qualified for the 16-nation World Cup field. Oceania’s lone berth will be known in June and Europe will round out the field by determining the final five entries from a tournament in July in Russia.
- Nick Perera, Jason Leopoldo, Ryan Futagaki and Chris Toth were also on the 2013 Concacaf Championship team that last qualified.
- This was the fifth meeting between the USA and El Salvador in this competition, and the first in the elimination round since the USA defeated El Salvador 5-4 in added extra time on a goal by Nick Perera to claim its last Concacaf Beach Soccer title. The teams also split group round matches and El Salvador won the third-place game in 2017.
- Nick Parera scored his 11th goal of the tournament, tying his personal and USA single-cycle World Cup Qualifying record set in 2013. He is tied with teammate Tanner Akol for most goals in this tournament.
- With 34 goals the USA is the top scoring team at this tournament, and the nine goals conceded in five games is the fewest.
- Alessandro Canale scored his third goal and Adriano dos Santos his second in this tournament.
- The USA and Mexico meet for the first time in this tournament since the 2015 semifinals, when Mexico edged the USA 4-3 in San Salvador, El Salvador.
- The USA defeated Mexico in the group stage of the first three World Cup Qualifying tournaments – 2005 (7-2), 2006 (7-6) and 2007 (5-4) – before losing in 2008 (1-2). Mexico also defeated the USA in the 2009 third-place match and 2010 semifinals.
When Jay Heaps was playing for the Miami Fusion and Tom Soehn for the Chicago Fire in the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, they could not have predicted they would be teaming up to prepare for the tournament in Birmingham, Alabama 19 years later.
Now, Heaps is president of the Birmingham Legion and Soehn the team’s head coach. And they are hoping their first-year team can continue their winning start in one of sport’s longest-running tournaments, after beating lively amateurs West Chester United Predators 4-1 in the Second Round of the U.S. Open Cup last week.
(Heaps was an Open Cup winner as a player before losing a Final as coach of the NE Revolution)
“We talk about the history of it,” Heaps said of the Open Cup. “You love the fact that if you win, you know you’ll be there forever.”
Heaps won the 2007 Cup as a starting defender for the New England Revolution (current Legion assistant coach Khano Smith played in midfield), a 3-2 decision over FC Dallas. As a coach, Heaps guided the Revolution to the 2016 finals, with Soehn as his top assistant, but this time, FC Dallas exacted revenge with a 4-2 win.
Winner as Player & Coach
Soehn can go Heaps one or two better, though, as he is among the few who have won the event as a player and coach: he was a member of title teams with the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) in 1997 and the Fire in 2000, and guided D.C. United to the ’09 title.
“I mean, to be honest, Jay was quite the competitor, he was one of those guys you loved to beat,” Soehn recalled. “So, if you asked me if we would be working together I would have said ‘no chance’. But when you meet him off the field, he is a great guy. We formed a bond and we see the game through the same lens, what we liked in a team, what makes a team. We clicked from the get-go and we’ve worked together for quite some time.”
(Heaps & Soehn have put together a Legion team with a number of former MLS players)
Soehn’s history with the Open Cup dates to when his father, Joseph, born in Romania of German descent, competed for the Chicago Kickers. “When I was growing up, the Chicago area had unbelievable teams and I’d be watching great soccer on the weekends,” Soehn said. “I grew up playing for the Kickers and the soccer club was my home. Their clubhouse was full of trophies back in the day.”
Soehn was a starting defender for the Dallas Burn team that won the U.S. Open Cup the first year MLS teams entered the competition, taking a penalty shootout victory over D.C. United. “It was a big deal for us,” Soehn said. “We were a league-owned team and we played D.C. United in the final, and at that point they were a perennial champion. And to be able to beat them in the final, which was played after the MLS Cup, so it was kind of the final game of the year, it was really cool.”
In 2000, Soehn came on as an 86th-minute substitute in a 2-1 victory over the Fusion at Soldier Field in Chicago. Hristo Stoitchkov’s 44th-minute goal opened the scoring and an 88th-minute Tyrone Marshall own-goal gave the Fire a 2-0 advantage before Welton cut the deficit in the 90th minute. Heaps was at right-back and current Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando started for then-coach Ray Hudson’s Fusion.
Cup Ups & Downs
The next year, Heaps was part of a mid-season trade to the Revolution, who were on the way to early elimination from MLS playoff contention. But the Revs proved to be a Cup contender, defeating the Columbus Crew in the quarterfinals and D.C. United in the semifinals on the way to a title date with the Galaxy. The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks caused MLS to cancel games, and by the time the playoffs concluded with the Galaxy as MLS Cup champions, it was late October. The Revolution had not played a meaningful game since late August, so they were plenty rested and hoped to catch the Galaxy off guard in the Open Cup final on Oct. 27, 2001. But the Revolution lacked sharpness in the second half, squandered the lead, and lost, 2-1, on Danny Califf’s 92nd-minute golden goal at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif.
By 2008, Soehn was coaching D.C. United, and he guided the Red & Black to a 2-1 win over the Charleston Battery in the Cup final at RFK Stadium. “There are different rewards when you’re playing,” Soehn said. “Obviously, you get the feeling of enjoyment because you’re on the field participating. As a coach, so much more work goes into it, you don’t realize it when you’re a player. I had been assistant coach in Chicago when we won it [in 2003] and it is a totally different reward for winning [as a coach].
(Heaps - standing, in white - in the 2007 Open Cup Final against FC Dallas)
“Bringing it up makes me reflect on it a little bit,” Soehn went on. “I’ve had really good experiences in the game, some you take for granted. But being with my peers and all the conversation, all the good times, I’m just thankful the game’s been really good to me.”
United’s ’08 campaign included a 3-1 Semifinal victory over a Revolution team that included Heaps. But Heaps was not in the lineup – he went out a winner, his final Open Cup match a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the 2007 final in Frisco, Texas.
“That was one of the strangest things because we had lost in that very stadium,” Heaps said of Revolution defeats in the 2005 and ’06 MLS Cup. “I had missed a penalty kick the year before and we were so close so many times. And with the U.S. Open Cup we got over the hump. We had lost two finals and there was no way we were going to lose this game.”
A Different Approach
Though the Legion leaders have plenty of experience in Cup play, they are approaching the competition differently this time. They started out as favorites, survived, and should now be considered underdogs on the road in the Third Round up against back-to-back and reigning USL Championship toppers Louisville City.
“This is the first time we are entering this early,” Heaps said. “So you’re playing different types of teams. This is a difficult time for us because of injuries and also loan players are going back to their clubs, plus we can’t cup-tie our loan guys. So, we’re a little thin.”
That's the end of a long road for spirited amateurs @WCUSCPredators, who bow out after losing 4-1 to pro side @bhmlegion in Alabama (Opoku added a late one). The winners move on to meet @USLChampionship champs @loucityfc in the Third Round.#USOC2019 🏆 pic.twitter.com/QGmbDyf6bn— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 16, 2019
Thick or thin, the Legion — mid-table in USL league play for most of the season, so far — have an opportunity to build some crucial support, momentum and excitement via the Open Cup. A good long Cup run can paper over a lot of cracks, and make history – even for a first-year club.
In any case, the Legion’s leaders are about to write another chapter in the long and storied history of the Open Cup. “It’s crazy,” Soehn said. “My father played in [the Open Cup] back then. A bunch of immigrants came over, some of them had played professional soccer in Germany, but there was nothing here so they played on amateur teams. I love to see what it’s turned into and it’s kept growing.”
[Lead Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe]Read more
CHICAGO (May 18, 2019) - U.S. Soccer confirmed Saturday that Tyler Boyd has been approved by FIFA for a change of association. Boyd is a dual citizen of New Zealand and the United States.
Because he represented the All Whites in official competition at the youth level, he was required to submit an application for a one-time switch. With his request granted, he can now only represent the United States at the international level.
- Follow him on Instagram @TylerBoyd7
Born in New Zealand, Boyd spent some of his formative years growing up in Santa Ynez, Calif., before returning to his birth country at age 10. Signed with Portuguese side Vitória Guimarães, the 24-year-old has spent 2019 on loan with Turkish Süper Lig club Ankaragücü where he has registered five goals and four assists across 13 matches.
He also previously played in friendlies for New Zealand’s senior national team.
Mike Anhaeuser’s been with the Charleston Battery for all 25 years of the club’s life – and he’s forgotten more about the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup than most will ever know. ussoccer.com had the pleasure of sitting down for an animated, all-encompassing chat with the last coach to lead a non-Major League Soccer (MLS) team to the tournament Final. Among the topics open for discussion were that glorious run of 2008 and why it was “amazing and great and disappointing”, what the Open Cup means in Charleston, why hunger matters and why he thinks the time is right for a winner to come from below the top-tier for the first time in 20 years.
Michael Anhaeuser: From back when I was playing [he was a midfielder with the club for three seasons before taking over as coach in 1999], from the beginning of the Charleston Battery 26 years ago in 1993, the Open Cup was something really high on the list. We wanted to compete for the title, not just make runs. It was our goal from the beginning to really go on and win it.
(Anhaeuser was intense in his playing days for the Battery after earning All-American honors at Indiana)
You can’t talk about the Battery and the Open Cup without talking about 2008, when you guys went all the way to the Final.
MA: That year showcased and enforced the Cup as something really important at the club. We put a lot of onus on winning it. We had Lazo Alavanja [a former collegiate star at Indiana University, like Anhaeuser], Osvaldo Alonso [who went on to become a ten-year MLS vet with Seattle Sounders], Ian Fuller [Minnesota United assistant coach], Marco Reda [Canada international] and Randy Patterson [of New York Red Bulls and Trinidad & Tobago]. We had experienced guys. We had about five or six guys in the team that just had that pure winning mentality. You can’t overestimate what that means. It didn’t matter who we played against, they had the quality to compete and to win on the day. But we had the quality back then too. Oh yes we did.
Is it harder these days for a non-MLS team to make a deep run in the Cup?
MA: It was easier back then because you were probably only going to have to get past two, or maybe three, MLS teams. But now it’s more like four or five. It keeps getting harder and harder. We try to keep it at the same level here at the Battery and strive for success. I play a lot of my starters in the early rounds; not everyone does that. In the old days, MLS teams didn’t want a home game, so we got to play a lot at home. But it’s not like that any more. It’s another edge lost; it makes it that much harder
Is it tough to find a balance between league play and Cup play with a USL Championship team?
MA: Is it hard to find a balance? Yeah, definitely. When you have a smaller roster like we do it’s not ever easy to find the balance [laughs]. You’ve got games coming at you all the time. Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday. You’re burning all the time. It’s nice to get a break, but it doesn’t always come and you have to find the balance between using some young guys and really pushing, really leaning, on your experienced players. If you pick up an injury – which happens when you’re playing a lot of games – then you’re scrambling. Then you have to shuffle your pack and improvise.
(Anhaeuser's been with the Battery for 25 years - that's as long as there's been a Battery)
Was there much scrambling and shuffling in 2008?
MA: I was playing starters in the Cup from the beginning, putting a focus on it. I’d bring in new guys for the league games sometimes, rookies and guys without too much experience. You needed them, and you might lose some of those league games, but you have to prioritize in years like that. Those are special times and you have to recognize it. We had a lot of home games in 2008 [Just two of their six games were on the road that year]. That helps
With a goal in stoppage time @Chas_Battery takes the 2-1 victory over @GVLTriumph and will move on to face @Tormenta_FC or @NashvilleSC!⚽— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 16, 2019
2-1 CHS | Final | #USOC2019
📺 Highlights ⤵ pic.twitter.com/qmGKAqRCoX
Does succeeding in the Open Cup require a special intensity?
MA: I compare it to the NCAA [basketball] tournament. I think it’s like that in a lot of ways. It has the same feeling and the same intensity. It’s one-and-done. I’m a big fan of this. That format brings out something special. You need luck, sure, and a bit of quality on the day. We won many games on penalties in 2008. We beat Seattle in a shootout. You need all those things to fall into place, but it’s no different than Loyola-Chicago in the NCAA tournament a couple years ago. You have those guys people don’t know about and that’s important – you need those hungry guys trying to go higher.
(Charleston's run to the 2008 Open Cup Final was the last time a non-MLS team went that far)
Do your players today understand the meaning of those successes ten years ago?
MA: It’s helped us here that we’ve had success in the Cup. It gets in their belly. I can show them what it’s like and that it can be done. They know it when they’re here. But all of that just helps a little – what’s really important is that we have to go out there and win now. That’s what really matters. The past and the tradition, that just helps us a little before the opening whistle.
It’s obvious that the Open Cup has special meaning for you.
MA: It’s not just me. For our club, the Open Cup is huge. I say that before the first game to my guys, “If you win this, you’re playing an MLS team.” It’s the first statement I make and I make sure my players know what I’m saying. I believed it as a player and I believe it as a coach: all players want to play the best. That’s a given. And MLS aren’t just throwing out reserve teams in the Cup. It’s changing and evolving. The Open Cup has taken two steps forward. The prize money is up – it’s 300,000 now to the winner and that’s a bump. One more sponsor here or there and it could be huge in American sports.
You mentioned being hungry. How important is that in the Cup, as a team and as individuals?
MA: You won’t get anything out of that unless you're hungry. Having guys who are hungry to show what they can do and to take the next step is huge. You’re putting yourself in the shop window in a big way as a player. It makes a big difference if a coach sees you first-hand instead of on tape – a massive difference.
(A well of enthusiasm and soccer knowledge, Anhaeuser still gets involved in the nitty-gritty of training)
That’s what happened with Osvaldo Sanchez, who was so impressive with Charleston and ended up signing with Seattle after you beat them in 2008.
MA: Yeah, exactly. Our 2008 run was just the start for him and look what he’s gone on to achieve. We played in Seattle and we pushed them and beat them, and they signed him up just like that. You get seen in the Open Cup. It gives those guys a chance, so you have to be hungry because you don’t want to miss a chance.
The Battery has been around for 25 years – first in the USISL, then the USISL Pro League and now in the United Soccer League (USL). How has the club changed in those years?
MA: I treat the club the same way I did in my first year here. We were the Battery then and we’re the Battery now. We’re the same as we ever were as far as I’m concerned. We have the club and the history and things are expected of us here. People didn’t know us back then and then we had a little success and people wondered if we could carry it on. But now we have a lot of years behind us and we have a tradition.
How much of that tradition is connected to the Open Cup?
MA: A lot of it is connected to the Open Cup. It’s something special for us and for our players. Whether they’re rookies, or guys on loan from MLS, or our veterans. We’ve been there as a club. We have a chance to win it. I truly believe this and I try to pass it on every year. You have to believe it. You win and you move on. We have that always on our minds. Five games or something like that and you’re in the Final. Not in front of 4,000 people like it was in the past, but now you’re in front of 40,000 people maybe. That’s a big difference. We’re carrying on a tradition here and we don’t want to lose sight of that. We’re here and we’ve been here. But look what the Cup did for a club like FC Cincinnati in 2017 [the Ohio side went to the Semifinal and and are now a Major League Soccer franchise]. The same thing could happen for us. We want to be the best we can be as a club – and the Open Cup is an opportunity, every year, to win something.
(The Battery have been crowned league champs - USISL & USL - Four times, with Anhaeuser as player or coach)
In the Open Cup, you go from being favorites to underdogs in weeks. Which do you prefer to be?
MA: You try not to prepare the team differently no matter who you play. That’s what you try, anyway. But it’s difficult not to be aware of it when you’re playing an MLS team – when you’re up against a top-flight team you know it. You play in the first games against amateur teams and a few guys are getting their first starts. I’m nervous in those games when I put a new guy out there – because you’re expected to win. You lose, and it’s not a good feeling. It’s happened to us and, trust me, you don’t want it. It’s going to happen – it’s just the nature of the beast, but you want to do all you can to avoid it happening to you.
With the tradition, the preparation and the hunger right, do you think something like what happened in 2008 could happen again?
MA: We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, but I do use that 2008 Final run as a motivation. We were a few bounces away from winning the Open Cup. We were in the Final at RFK against DC United – with all their tradition and talent – but we tied them up at 1-1. Then we went ahead, but the goal was called back for offside. It was only my third year as a head coach. It was a huge thing. We were right there.
(Anhaeuser in action in one of his animated team talks)
Is it the kind of thing you look back with disappointment or pride – or both?
MA: It was very disappointing to lose, because you build up an expectation when you make it that far. When you compete so well and go so far, you‘re not happy just to make it there – we were unhappy that we lost. But we were there for a reason. It was amazing and great and disappointing. It’s easy for me to pass this feeling on to the players now because I still have that feeling in my belly. I’d love to get Charleston back there for the players of today. They’d never forget it. People out there might forget that we made it to the Final – but we won’t forget. Not here at the Battery. What we did was what is amazing about the Cup – we were a lower division team and we had a chance to win it. This is a for-real opportunity. It just takes one or two upsets here or there and you’re a champion.