CONCACAF Futsal Championship
U.S. records second shutout, 7-0 over Netherlands Antilles, clinching semifinal spot.
U.S. goalkeeper Otto Orf (Cleveland Crunch, NPSL) faced seven dangerous shots on goal by the Netherlands Antilles but made all seven saves to earned his first-ever shutout for the U.S. and fifth career victory in five starts.
"It feels great that we (team) have not given up a goal in this tournament," said Orf. "This team plays great defense and we are going to take it one game at a time and try to maintain a clean sheet in goal."
"I'm happy that I have a team that takes such pride in playing excellent defense," said Head Coach Keith Tozer. "With this win, we accomplished our first goal which was to guarantee a spot in the semifinals. Our next goal is to finish first in our group."
Showing more comfort with the team's high-pressure, high-movement style, the Americans got on the board early as defender Jeff Davis (St. Louis Steamers, WISL) scored off a freekick just two minutes into the match.
Forward Matt Tirschman (Milwaukee Wave, NPSL), playing in only his second international game for the USA, made it 2-0 in the ninth minute after stealing the ball at mid-court and shooting a seven-yarder past the Caribbean goalkeeper Giovanny Molina. A minute later, defender Sean Bowers (Detroit Rockers, NPSL) scored off an assist by Davis that increased the U.S. lead to 3-0.
Forward Lee Tschantret (Detroit Rockers, NPSL) made it 4-0 U.S. with one minute remaining in the first half off a corner kick by Bowers.
After Davis added his second tally of the night one minute into the second stanza, Tschantret also notched his second by scoring off a rebound shot by Tirschman in the 24th minute.
Forward Temoc Suarez closed out the scoring spree with an upper-left corner shot off a pass from Tschantret in the 28th minute for his first international goal.
With the U.S. (2-0, 6 Points) win over the Netherlands Antilles (0-2, 0 Points), the team clinched a berth in Thursday's (July 27) semifinals along with Mexico (2-0, 6 points), which came from a 2-0 halftime deficit to defeat Puerto Rico (0-2, 0 Points) 4-2 in the opener of the twin-bill.
In an earlier game, Mexico claimed the other Group B berth with a 4-2 come-from-behind victory against Puerto Rico. For the second successive match Mexico got off to a slow start but advanced to the semifinals.
Raphel Ortiz scored Puerto Rico’s first goal of the tournament nine minutes into the first half. As the half was drawing to a close, Puerto Rico's Angel Mussenden slipped by the Mexican defense and put a shot in at the back post to finish off giving boricuas a lead and giving a shock to the crowd and opponents.
But Mexico used the intermission to regroup and to their advantage, beginning the half with renewed effort. It paid off with an immdiate three-goal burst in less than three minutes, Mexico taking the lead before the half was five minutes old.
Meir Kastro open the Tricolores account in the 23rd minute, ripping a blast under the bar from an angle. Less than a minute later, Jose Montiel leveled terms. Francisco Ramirez came up to score the go-ahead goal in the 25th minute and secured the lead. Puerto Rico rarely threatened the rest of the way, Victor Huerta sealing matters five minutes from time.
The first round continues tomorrow (Monday, July 24) and concludes on Tuesday (July 25). Monday night will have the conclusion of Group A with Surinam (0-1, 0 Points) facing Nicaragua (0-2, 0 Points), and then, semifinal bound Cuba (2-0, 6 Points) and Costa Rica (2-0, 6 Points) for the top spot in group play. In Group B, Puerto Rico will meet the Netherlands Antilles in game one and then the USA will battle Mexico on Tuesday for the Group B Title in the final game of the first round.
The four semifinalists will play on Thursday and the winners will not only play for the championship on Saturday, July 29, but both teams will earn the final two berths for the Fourth FIFA Futsal World Championship in Guatemala (Nov 18-Dec 3).
The U.S., which is looking to advance to the world championship for a fourth consecutive time, won the bronze medal at the 1989 FIFA competition in Holland and then took the silver in 1992 in Hong Kong.
United States 7, Netherlands Antilles 0Lineups: United States - Otto Orf, Sean Bowers (Captain), Glenn Carbonara, Bernie Lilavois, Temoc Suarez; Subs - Jeff Davis, Josh Timbers, Wes Wade, Brian Loftin, Matt Tirschman, Lee Tschantret. Netherlands Antilles - Giovanny Molina, Sharlon de Windt (Captain), Genaro Cicilia, Clifford Braafhart, Joshua Bicentini; Subs - Angelo Martina, Clifford Pauletta, Judmar Borgschot, Anthony Martis.
Shots: United States 29, Netherlands Antilles 16. Shots on goal: United States 15, Netherlands Antilles 7. Saves: United States 7, Netherlands Antilles 8. Corner kicks: United States 3, Netherlands Antilles 4. Fouls: United States 1, Netherlands Antilles 7. Yellow card caution: United States - Lilavois 35, Netherlands Antilles - Head Coach 29. Red card ejection: Netherlands Antilles - Braafhart 38.
Referee: n/a. Attendance: 550 at Palacio de los Deportes in Heredia, Costa Rica. Weather: n/a.