With everything on the line to advance to the FIFA Futsal World Cup, the U.S. Futsal National Team pulled through with a dominant 7-1 victory against Panama on Sunday at Domo Polideportivo in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The win gave the U.S. third place in the CONCACAF Futsal Championships and assured it a spot in the World Cup from Sept. 30 to Oct. 19 in Brazil.
The team can thank the Chicago Storm's trio of Matthew Stewart, Andy Rosenband and Jeff Richey for providing a huge lift. Stewart scored a hat trick, Andy Rosenband chipped in with a goal, and Richey made 19 saves, allowing only a second-half goal to Panama. Richey allowed only four goals in his three CONCACAF starts.
"Jeff played brilliant," U.S. head coach Keith Tozer said. "He was brilliant in the Costa Rica game, then (Sunday) he did a really good job of controlling the area - a good job of seeing the ball and making big saves when we need it."
Stewart scored three goals - all in the second half. He netted goals in the 24th, 29th and 38th minutes. Stewart led the U.S. with five goals in the CONCACAF Championships.
Rosenband's goal came in the 19th minute of the first half to give the U.S. a 2- 0 lead heading into halftime.
Also for the U.S., Pat Morris scored two goals, while Jamar Beasley added a score. Panama's lone goal came from Alfredo Phillips in the 38th minute in the second half. The U.S. victory was a huge boost after a deflating semifinal loss to host Guatemala and playing to a 1-1 draw against Panama in earlier CONCACAF competition.
"I thought the game plan, the guys executed to a T," Tozer said. "The first time we played Panama, we pressured them full-court but couldn't create any counterattacks because of our pressure. This time, we dropped the pressure to half court to give us space to get in behind them, and it worked."
The U.S. posted a 3-1-1 record in the CONCACAF and advanced to the World Cup for the third time in four CONCACAF Championships. The top three CONCACAF teams advance to the worlds.
Guatemala and Cuba join the U.S. in Brazil from the CONCACAF region. The World Cup features 20 teams, including host Brazil and defending champion Spain.
(US National Team with Bronze Medal at CONCACAF June 2008 - Fifa.com)
Pat Morris and Andy Rosenband did the first-half damage, then Matthew Stewart connected for three scores in the second half as the U.S. qualified for the worlds for the third time in four CONCACAF Championships. It is the Americans’ second bronze medal in the CONCACAF, but the first time three teams were taken from the region for the worlds.
“The futsal program was on a treadmill today,” said U.S. Head Coach Keith Tozer. “And if we’d have lost, it would probably be on speed no. 1. If we won, it would go up to 10. Now we’re full speed ahead to get ready for the world championships.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys to come here, finish 3-1-1, get a medal, but most importantly, do what we really came to do — for a non-futsal nation, be considered one of the top teams in our region. We look forward to the challenge in Rio de Janeiro in September.”
Following the deflating 4-0 loss to Guatemala in the semifinals, the U.S. was challenged to return to the form it showed in crushing Costa Rica 6-2 at the close of Group B play. And it would have to do that without two field players, Dan DeGeer and Ptah Myers, who were sitting out for card accumulations. While not closing down Panama as convincingly in the back end, the U.S. clearly responded well.
Morris beat Oscar McFarlane at the far post on a direct kick in the 7th minute, after Denison Cabral took the ball away and drew a foul just outside the arc on the right flank. Soon after, Panama began to extend its defense and even engage in some man marking. It was a tactic Panama never had to use in its 1-1 tie with the U.S. in group play.
Finally, in the 19th minute, the open floor proved beneficial to the U.S. Sandre Naumoski made a run down the left side, into the corner, and left a ball for Rosenband streaking down the middle. His one-time finish sent the U.S. into the break up 2-0.
“I thought the game plan, the guys executed to a T,” Tozer said. “The first time we played Panama, we pressured them full-court but couldn’t create any counterattacks because of our pressure. This time, we dropped the pressure to halfcourt to give us space to get in behind them, and it worked.”
While Panama was able to generate some chances in the second half, keeper Jeff Richey kept his sheet clean until the game was well in hand. Richey made 19 saves and allowed just four goals in three CONCACAF starts.
“Jeff played brilliant,” Tozer said. “He was brilliant in the Costa Rica game, then today he did a really good job of controlling the area, a good job of seeing the ball and making big saves when we needed it.”
Stewart scored the first of his goals at the end of a classic target play in the 24th minute. Mike Apple held firm just above the top of the arc and left the ball for Stewart. He made one move then chipped the ball over a sliding McFarlane to make it 3-0.
Captain Denison Cabral set up the fourth goal in the 29th, deking two defenders and McFarlane on the right flank, then sliding a pass between the defenders to Stewart in the box.
Rosenband’s steal lead to a disputed fifth goal by Beasley, whose shot struck the underside of the crossbar and went straight down, and Stewart and Morris closed out the U.S. scoring late. Stewart led the U.S. with five goals in the tournament.
Participants: U.S. National Futsal Team vs Panama
Competition: CONCACAF Futsal Championships 2008
Location: Domo Polideportivo, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Date: June 8, 2008
1st 2nd Final
PAN 0 1 1
USA 2 5 7
USA — Pat Morris, 7th minute
USA — Andy Rosenband, 19.
USA — Matthew Stewart, 24.
USA — Matthew Stewart, 29.
USA — Jamar Beasley, 36.
USA — Matthew Stewart, 38
PAN — Alfredo Phillips, 38
USA — Pat Morris, 38.
USA: 3-Jamar Beasley, 5-Denison Cabral,, 9-Pat Morris, 11-Matthew Stewart, 12-Jeff Richey
Subs used: 4-Mike Apple, 6-Andy Rosenband, 8-Chile Farias, 10-Sandre Naumoski.
Did not play: 1-Nick Vorberg
Not available: 2-Dan DeGeer, 7-Ptah Myers
Head coach: Keith Tozer.
PAN: 4-Augusto Harrison, 5-Alfredo Phillips, 6-Juan Murillo, 10-Apolinar Galvez, 12-Oscar McFarlane.
Subs used: 2-Chamiyr Toyloy, 3-Oscar Hinks, 8-Gilberto Rangel, 9-Miguel Lasso, 11-Alquis Alvarado.
Not available 1-Jose Victoria, 7-Aramis Haywood.
Head coach: Poriforio Rebolledo
USA - Beasley (Caution), 17th minute.
PAN - McFarlane (Caution), 32nd.
USA - Apple (Caution), 32nd.
PAN - Toyloy (Caution), 34th.
USA - Rosenband (Ejection), 36th.
PAN - McFarlane (Ejection), 38th.
Referee: Carlos Del Cid (GUA)
Second referee: Antonio Alvarez (CUB)
Third referee: Nelson Norales (GUA)
Timekeeper: Eduardo Hernandez (MEX)