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USA hold out against Catalan hosts in nail-biter

December 6, 2017

 

 

For the second time in the space of the day, USA served up a thrilling futsal match with drama right to the end. On this occasion they came out on top 5-4, the reverse of their heartbreaking defeat to Australia earlier this morning. The Americans had raced into a two goal lead courtesy of Kevin Estrada and Daniel Cazares. However, the hosts hit back through Adrian Ortega and Marcos Carrasco to level at the break. USA appeared to be in control once again as a Ronaldo Reyes double and Estrada strike gave them a three goal cushion. However Carrasco completed his hat-trick with two quickfire goals to set up the most gripping of finalés.

 

The format that goes with the five team round robin means three teams have to place twice on the same today. Today was USA's turn. Despite their disappointment earlier this morning, they turned up freshly kitted out and with a clear determination in their eyes. Their opposition was the home side Catalonia, playing their first match of the tournament. A healthy home crowd was matched by the traveling support from the States, making for an electric atmosphere.

 

The match kicked off at a high tempo, but for the opening minutes the teams largely cancelled each other out. USA started to gain the upper hand in possession and after a few near misses, they opened the scoring. Goalkeeper Mateo Pena-Sanchez showed quick thinking to release Estrada, who raced down the left hand side before slotting the ball beyond Xavier Tarres. 

It wasn't long before the lead was doubled. A neat pass from Devin Brown was met in his stride by Daniel Cazares, who poked the ball beyond Tarres much to the delighted of the traveling support.

At this stage it looked like USA were in control of the match, but Catalonia were clearly talented going forward and therefore dangerous. They reduced the deficit when a lofted pass found Ortega at the back post, who fired the ball into the roof of the net.

 

The pendulum had swung and Catalonia were clearly lifted. It wasn't long before they were on level terms. Carrasco cut inside from the left and fired a low shot beyond Pena-Sanchez to make it 2-2 at the break.

 

Half time: Catalonia 2 – 2 USA

 

USA came out for the second half fired up and it wasn't long before they got their reward. A quickly taken corner saw the ball cut back to Reyes, who almost broke the net with a thunderbolt of a strike past the helpless Tarres.

Less than a minute later and USA had doubled their lead. Another perfectly weighted pass from Brown placed the ball into the path of Reyes, who made no mistake with the finish.

 

The momentum continued as the Americans scored their third goal in as many minutes. Another piece of quick thinking from Pena-Sanchez saw his long throw put Estrada one on one with goalkeeper Tarres. Estrade kept his cool to take the ball beyond the keeper and slot it into an unguarded net. The second goal for Estrada and the second assist for Pena-Sanchez.

To their credit there was no sign of Catalonia giving up. They continued to work tirelessly for a route back into the game and eventually they were given a glimmer of hope. Carrasco played a one-two with Ortega and then placed the ball with power and precision into the top corner to make it 5-3.

It looked as if USA had ridden the storm but with just over 30 seconds on the clock, Catalonia got another goal back. Once again it was Carrasco, who this time linked up with Adria Ballada and then placed the ball into the left hand corner from the narrowest of angles.

All of the momentum was with the hosts but USA knew the finishing line was in sight. Roared on by their tremendous support, the final thirty seconds were negotiated and the stars and stripes celebrated a hard fought victory on the final whistle.

 

Full Time: Catalonia 4 – 5 USA

 

Catalonia Man of the Match: Marcos Carrasco - Outstanding for Catalonia, bagging a hat-trick and causing havoc throughout.

 

USA Man of the Match: Ronaldo Reyes - The star man on display this afternoon. Two goals at the most crucial of times and a classy overall performance.

 

Catalonia Magic Moment: Carrasco's second and Catalonia's third goal. Textbook one-two and an emphatic finish.

 

USA Magic Moment: There were five excellent goals, but the magic moment for most USA supporters was the final whistle! Following the disappointment against Australia and the late surge from Catalonia, they could finally celebrate their first victory of the tournament.

 

 

 

 

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