CONCACAF Futsal Championship
Third place match taken by U.S over Mexico 5-1.
Mexico and the U.S. had met earlier in the tournament in a round one game with the Americans prevailing 3-2. This was another physical match that saw 21 total fouls, five yellow card cautions and four red card ejections.
"You had two proud countries playing each other for the bronze medal and neither team wanted to lose," said Head Coach Keith Tozer. "After we were up 3-1, Mexico began to get frustrated and the match turned ugly towards the end, but I'm happy with the way the team played excellent defense and most of all stayed professional in and out of the game."
The game began with the U.S. getting the better of the exchanges. But it was Mexico’s forward Jesus Torres who scored the first goal, ripping an angled shot on the run high inside Orf’s right post.
But forward Brian Loftin (Milwaukee Wave/Rampage, NPSL/A-League) answered the challenge with an equalizer, finishing off a perfectly-placed corner kick from defender Sean Bowers (Detroit Rockers, NPSL) from close range.
The U.S. took the lead just before the half (19th minute), when forward Matt Tirschman (Milwaukee Wave, NPSL) intercepted a bad pass by Mexican goalkeeper Luis Kleyman and dished out a low cross to forward Lee Tschantret (Detroit Rockers, NPSL) who shot towards an empty net.
In the second half, Mexico came out determined to level the score with several dangerous scoring opportunities but USA ‘keeper Otto Orf (Cleveland Crunch, NPSL), who extended his perfect lifetime futsal record to 7-0, made several key saves to maintain the lead.
"This is the highest honor for me personally," said Orf. "I take great pride with this streak and I hope that I can continue to put it to the test in the future."
Jeff Davis (St. Louis Steamers, WISL) put the USA up 3-1 early in the second half, finishing off a 3-on-1 counterattack.
Loftin added his second goal of the game off a free kick in the 29th minute to give the Americans a comfortable 4-1 lead. The tough and physical game continued and resulted four ejections in the final five minutes of the match.
Then Loftin completed the hat-trick, in the 40th minute, off another free kick from 10 meters out after Mexico committed its sixth team foul.
"It is always nice to get a hat-trick in an international game," said Loftin, who earns his second medal in CONCACAF Tournament play. "It was great when we won the gold in 1996. The team rebounded well from our semifinal loss, so this bronze medal is very special to us."
The victory gives the USA a 7-2 lifetime record in two CONCACAF Championship Tournaments (1996 Guatemala, 2000 Costa Rica).
"We played our best game of the tournament," said Head Coach Keith Tozer. "The team played with a lot of character and even though the door to the world championship has closed for us, this win opens another one for the future."
In the nightcap, Costa Rica (5-0) took the gold medal in the Championship Game with a 2-0 blanking of Cuba. Both Costa Rica and Cuba advance to the FIFA Futsal World Championship in Guatemala (Nov. 18-Dec. 3), while the USA will miss the tournament for the first time in its history.
Futsal is a sport derivative of soccer and played with five-man teams on a basketball style court, with no walls and a low bouncing ball. Great soccer superstars such as Pele, Zico and Ronaldo grew up playing the game and credit Futsal with developing their skills.
United States 5, Mexico 1Lineups: United States - Otto Orf, Sean Bowers (Captain), Jeff Davis, Lee Tschantret, F-Matt Tirschman; Subs: Glenn Carbonara, Josh Timbers, Bernie Lilavois, Temoc Suarez, Brian Loftin, Wes Wade. Cuba - Abel Treppmann (Captain), Victor Huerta, Jose Montiel, Francisco Ramirez, Raul Sidaui; Subs - Luis Kleyman, Jesus Rodriguez, Leonardo Morales, Abraham Sofer, Jesus Torres.
Shots: United States 36, Cuba 32. Shots on goal: United States 21, Mexico 16. Saves: United States 15, Mexico 16. Corner kicks: United States 11, Mexico 6. Fouls: United States 11, Mexico 10. Yellow card cautions: United States - Tschantret 14, Wade 21, Davis 35; Mexico - Sofer 29. Red card ejections: United States - Davis 35, Tschantret 40; Mexico - Head Coach 24, Team Docter 40, Treppmann 40.
Referee: Olger Linares (Costa Rica), Guy Griffith (n/a). Attendance: 2,900 at Palacio de los Deportes in Heredia, Costa Rica. Weather: n/a.