PAPEETE, Tahiti (Sept. 19, 2013) – The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team fell to Spain 5-4 in the Group A opener of the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup at Tahua To’ata Stadium.
The USA built a 3-1 lead early in the second period, only to see Spain score four of the game’s next five goals, including Nico’s game-winner with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. The closing minutes were the only time Spain held a lead against the U.S.
This marks the third straight World Cup in which the U.S. scored four goals and lost in the group opener. In 2006 and 2007, the U.S. fell 8-4 to Brazil and Spain, respectively.
The U.S. looks to rebound in this year’s tournament when it faces host Tahiti on Saturday, Sept. 21 (7 p.m. local; 1 a.m. ET on Sept. 22). That match is followed by United Arab Emirates on Monday, Sept. 23 (4 p.m. local, 10 p.m. ET). All FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup games are streamed live on ESPN3.
Ryan Futagaki and Nick Perera each scored a goal in the opening period as the USA held a 2-1 lead through 12 minutes. Perera scored on a header off of a free kick. The member of the Major Indoor Soccer League’s Milwaukee Wave was the leading goal scorer of the 2013 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship with 11 tallies.
In the second period, Anthony Chimienti pushed the U.S. lead to 3-1 – the largest advantage for either team on Thursday – with a free kick strike at the near left post in the 15th minute. Spain’s Llorenc cut it to 3-2 later in the period, and Antonio opened the third period with an impressive bicycle kick that went past the outstretched arms of U.S. goalkeeper Chris Toth to tie the score at 3-3 in the 31st minute.
The USA’s Lewie Valentine responded a minute and a half later with a difficult left-footed volley that crossed past Spain goalkeeper Dona into the far right side of the net for a 4-3 lead. However, Spain’s Juanma struck just several seconds later and Nico scored the game-winner in the 35th minute.
Spain out-shot the USA 44-36, with a 21-16 shots on goal advantage and held 57 percent of the possession.
The U.S. is playing in its fourth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and is attempting to advance out of the group stage for the first time.