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03 Apr 2015
Costa Rica, USA, Mexico, and El Salvador advance to semis
Four amazing matches determined the four best teams and set the stage for a spectacular day 6 in El Salvador
Costa Rica fights way to Semifinals
The 2-1 win for Costa Rica over Trinidad and Tobago was too close to call and it was a shame that a winner had to be crowned. Trinidad and Tobago were down most of the match, with a emotional tie taking place in the final frame, before Costa Rica scored a clutch goal to take the 2-1 lead in what can only be described as the best three goal beach soccer match to be had. The late goal, spurred Costa Rica to the intense victory, Costa Rica lives to play another day and will play in the semifinals beginning on Friday. Trinidad and Tobago will be playing in the consolation bracket, aiming for 5th place, beginning Friday.
A semi-finals berth is nothing to scoff at and the two squads knew just that, refusing to dilly dally in the opening minutes. Both Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago went straight to work, trying to open up the game and put the other team in an early deficit. With six minutes remaining there had not been the opening goal, however the tension and pressure made it seem like that goal could come at any moment. The Soca Warriors were playing tight defense and attacking more and more but the chances did not fall for them, and neither for Los Ticos, until a last minute direct kick gave the Costa Ricans a 1-0 lead going into the first break. Much like the first period, the middle began extremely fast and with chances missing by the slimmest of margins, though the Matacampeones looked comfortable in their lead, holding onto the ball and frustrating Trinidad and Tobago. The game progressed like a prize fight with the excitement climbing and climbing. Neither side was sloppy with their passes or shots and the quality of play was undeniable and the match went into the final frame with the same score, Costa Rica 1-0 Trinidad and Tobago.
Opening minutes of the final period can make or break a match and fortunately for these two quarterfinalists, neither team was able to pull away, thus making the match even more thrilling than it already was. The closely contested final period followed suit with the previous two but as it was get the win or leave El Salvador empty handed, the teams were not about to slow down or leave anything left in the tank. As sound as the offenses were playing, without more goals, it was the goalies and defense that kept things as tight as they were going into the final minutes of the match, with only one goal separating the sides. In an unbelievable closing to the match, the Soca Warriors scored their first goal with under three minutes left to tie the score at 1-1. Los Ticos may have been unsettled for a minute, it did not last long as they nailed a strike from Pacheco to regain the one goal lead. The Costa Ricans went into full safe-mode to protect the lead, which worked, as they finished the match up 2-1.
Goals: 1-0: Downer, min. 0 (1); 1-1: Stafford, min. 2 (3); 2-1: Pacheco, min. 1 (3).
USA overwhelms Jamaica to advance to semis
The 7-3 win for the USA was not expected to finish with the score it did, but the Jamaicans and Americans both fought hard from whistle to whistle and the proceedings were much more competitive than the score line shows. The impressive opening two periods for the USA were just a precursor to their excellent defensive and offensive effort in the last frame. The Yanks build a safe enough lead and fended off the Reggae Boyz with sweltering defense and timely offense. Jamaica clawed their way back twice but the difference in score was too much to mount the large-scale comebacks they needed. The US advanced to the semifinals with the win and will play on Friday with a berth to the World Cup on the line. Jamaica will play in the consolation playoff for 5th place on Friday.
The performance that Jamaica had in almost upsetting the hosts on Monday night put a scare into the hearts of the United States, but they came out prepared in their quarterfinal match with a determination to not go down early and to advance to the semifinals. The Stars and Stripes did score the first goal and took the early one goal lead, but the strength of the Jamaicans was not going to disappear and they still were able to stick to their game plan. The stick-to-itiveness paid off for the Reggae Boyz as Reid skidded a shot past the US defense to put the score at 2-1, for the Americans. The rest of the period was played to a draw, as the Yanks held on to their one goal advantage at 2-1 going into the first break. The Red, White, and Blue returned the favour to Jamaica and scored again to restore their two goal lead, at 3-1, just before their captain, Perera netted his third of the match to earn the hat-trick and give his side their biggest lead of the day, at 4-1. Not wanting to quietly into the night, so to speak, was part of Jamaica’s strategy and they scored on a penalty kick in the middle of the frame to cut the deficit in half, to 4-2 for the USA. Perera would not allow a letdown for the Americans, evidenced by his 4th goal of the match, pushing the score to 5-2 going into the final minutes of the 2nd period, which is how the frame would end.
The United States played a brilliant match going into the final frame but they could not afford to leave things to chance or take their foot off the accelerator and they made sure not to, scoring in the first minute of the frame to take the 6-2 lead. The Jamaicans pressed and began playing with more urgency, being rewarded with more and more opportunities but they were not able to get any real traction and they remained in a 4-goal hole, with just over three minutes remaining. The clock continued to roll and unfortunately for Jamaica they did not find enough time to level the score and the match ended with the United States of America up 7-3.
Goals: 1-0: Canale, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Perera, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Reid, min. 3 (1); 3-1: Perera, min. 10 (2); 4-1: Perera, min. 8 (2); 4-2: Peddie, min. 5 (2); 5-2: Perera, min. 4 (2); 6-2: Canale, min. 11 (3); 6-3: Reid, min. 1 (3); 7-3: Toth, min. 0 (3).
Mexico outguns Guatemala for spot among final 4
The 5-2 win for Mexico over Guatemala was very business-like as they marched forward with no mistakes or accidental moves. The Mexicans scored first and were flying high before Guatemala struck and hit the back of the net, to make things more than interesting. Mexico again looked in control but without fail, Guatemala came back, and showed an intense fighting spirit that nearly carried them to a surprise upset, but the final score shows how difficult it is to surprise Mexico. The Mexicans earned a date with the United States in the Semifinals on Friday. The winner in that match will advance to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015. Guatemala will play in the 5th place playoff against Jamaica, quarterfinal losers to the USA.
A fast start for the Mexicans had them feeling good about their chances of advancing to the next round when they quickly scored in the first minute to take the 1-0 lead and build their confidence. That feeling only skyrocketed when El Tricolor netted their second rapid goal, pushing the lead to 2-0. The Mexicans also added a late goal, for good measure, to take the 3-0 lead into the first break. Guatemala began the second period as if the first did not happen, as they were running as the quicker team and pushing, but slight bounces in the wrong directions kept the score the same, despite the pressure from Los Chapines. The Mexican defense was flying around the ball as if they had an extra player and even though the score did not change going into the latter half of the period, Los Manitos were very much in control. The Guatemalans put in a very strong and concerted defensive effort in the second period and shored up their back lines, preventing Mexico from getting behind the defenders or any extra breathing room. The strategy began to pay even more dividends, this time on the other end, when they scored their first goal of the game, starting the path to a comeback. The Mexicans wanted no late game drama and scored almost immediately after to make the score 4-1, which is how the period would end.
Mexico held a three goal lead to begin the final 12 minutes, but that did not deter the Guatemalans from continuing their push, scoring first in the period, only seconds into the third, to cut the Mexican lead in half to 4-2. The goal gave Los Azules and Blancos a new found energy which they tried to use to exploit the Mexican defense. The Mexicans had their own reserve energy and used that to counter Guatemala and even add to their lead, putting the match just out of reach. When the final whistle sounded, Mexico was victorious by a score of 5-2 over the feisty Guatemalan side.
Goals: 1-0: Rodriguez, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Villa, min. 10 (1); 3-0: Gonzalez, min. 2 (1); 3-1: Moran, min. 3 (2); 4-1: Gonzalez, min. 3 (2); 4-2: Saenz, min. 11 (3); 5-2: Villa, min. 6 (3).
El Salvador eyes qualification after convincing win
The 6-0 win for El Salvador over the Bahamas was a scary display of beach soccer for the rest of the competition as they showed a complete lack of mercy and played as complete a game as they have all tournament. They forced mistakes, limited their own errors, scored goals, and saved shots. The hosts took an early lead, using an array of shots and techniques, then played keep-away from the Rake and Scrape Boys. The crowd was feeding off the team and vice-versa and the energy was a thing of beauty. The victory assures El Salvador a spot in the semifinals and they will face a very good looking Costa Rican side on Friday. The winner of that match will be going to Portugal in July for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. The Bahamas played an extremely good tournament, turned some heads, surprised people and they look to be getting stronger as a team. They will play in the 5th place playoff in Friday against Trinidad and Tobago.
There were no shortage of opportunities for El Salvador in the opening frame and with a deep team, they never have a shortage of scoring options. The Bahamas rode out the early attacks from the hosts and played really well to keep the score level at 0 going into the heart of the frame. The Rake and Scrape Boys were not generating many offenses chances of their own, but that suited them alright as long as they were within striking distance and kept the score close, which they did. The great defensive effort eventually gave way to a goal at the midway point in the period, but the game was far from over. When the first 12 minutes came to an end, Los Custcatlecos had found their way to a 2-0 lead. If you have ever seen food explode in a microwave or witnessed the exact moment that water boils out of a heating pot, you know exactly what the game and stadium felt like on the opening restart of the middle frame. The fans erupted when Ruiz, the captain, scored to push the lead to 3-0 and create an atmosphere that is rarely rivaled in sports. The El Salvadorians tallied one more goal in the period and took a 4-0 lead into the final frame.
The Bahamas did not struggle on defense, they were playing extremely sound but the aggressiveness and quick agility of El Salvador did make for a disadvantage. The Bahamas stopped many shots and attacks in the opening minutes of the final frame and even rattled the frame of El Salvador’s goal, but the comeback was not happening fast enough. More than halfway through the final period, neither side had scored and Los Cuscatlecos held the comfortable 4-0 lead. Both squads knew exactly how the other played and what to expect in the match but El Salvador was just too much for the Bahamas on this day and when the last whistle sounded, the El Salvadorians were up 6-0.
Goals: 1-0: Batres, min. 6 (1); 2-0: Velasquez, min. 1 (1); 3-0: Ruiz, min. 11 (2); 4-0: Batres, min. 6 (2); 5-0: Velasquez, min. 3 (3); 6-0: Ruiz, min. 0 (3).
CONCACAF BEACH SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS EL SALVADOR 2015 (FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2015 – CONCACAF QUALIFIER)
16:30 – Costa Rica 2-1 Trinidad and Tobago (Quarterfinals)
17:45 – USA 7-3 Jamaica (Quarterfinals)
19:00 – Mexico 5-2 Guatemala (Quarterfinals)
20:15 – El Salvador 6-0 Bahamas (Quarterfinals)
16:30 – Jamaica vs. Guatemala (Playoff for 5th Place)
17:45 –Trinidad and Tobago vs. Bahamas (Playoff for 5th Place)
19:00 – USA vs. Mexico (Semifinals)
20:15 – Costa Rica vs. El Salvador (Semifinals)