PAPEETE, Tahiti (Sept. 21, 2013) – The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team was eliminated from quarterfinal contention at the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, falling 5-3 in extra time against host Tahiti in Group A play at Tahua To’ata Stadium. Tahiti and Spain advanced to the tournament quarterfinals with one game remaining in the group stage.
The USA will face United Arab Emirates on Monday (4 p.m. local, 10 p.m. ET; ESPN3) in its Group A finale.
Eddie Soto’s U.S. squad played from behind against Tahiti from the get-go as Raimana Li Fung Kuee and Raimoana Bennett each tallied to give Tahiti a 2-0 lead just 3:12 into the game.
In the second period, the USA cut it to 2-1 when Andrew Feld’s cross from the right corner deflected off of Tahiti’s Angelo Tchen. However, Tearii Labaste’s bicycle kick found the upper left corner of the frame and pushed Tahiti’s lead back to two goals heading into the third period.
The game stayed that way until Anthony Chimienti had wide open space to shoot with 4:23 left in regulation to cut Tahiti’s lead to 3-2. Then, with 1:34 left in the third, Nick Perera fought off a Tahiti defender to score a clutch goal to tie the score at 3-3 and send the match into extra time.
Saturday’s game was the first of the tournament to require added time to decide the teams’ fate. Tahiti, in front of its base of 4,000 fans, rose to the occasion with two goals from Patrick Tepa for a 5-3 victory.
The U.S. will not advance out of the group stage for a fourth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, previously bowing out in the opening round at the 2005, 2006 and 2007 tournaments.
The USA (0-2) hopes to earn third place in Group A against UAE (0-2), which lost 5-2 earlier Saturday against Spain.