San José | BN Arena
USA: goal by Daniel Mattos.
CAN: goal by Jacob Orellana.
CAN: goal by Nazim Belguendouz.
CAN: goal by Matias Dimarco.
CAN: goal by Ian Bennett.
USA: goal by Nelson Santana.
USA: caution to Franck Tayou.
USA: goal by Patrick Healey, assist by Joey Tavernese.
CAN: caution to Eduardo Jauregui.
USA: goal by Franck Tayou.
To say it was a thriller is an understatement.
Canada came back from a three-goal deficit in the second half to draw 4:4 against USA in the first leg of their play-in series for the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship. Canadian goals from Ian Bennett, Matias Dimarco, Nazim Belguendouz, and Jacob Orellana highlighted the seven-goal second half at the BN Arena in San José, Costa Rica.
The two-match, total goals series runs 4-5 May, with the winner joining Group B at the eight-nation continental championship which equally serves as the qualification route for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016.
Canada almost went up early on when Ian Bennett’s breakaway attempt was thwarted by USA goalkeeper Danny Waltman just two minutes into the match.
Although the opening frame was a defensively tight one on both ends, the Americans went up 1-0 at 19:17 after forward Franck Tayou placed his shot well into the low right corner. That would be the only the goal of the first half before both nations wrote a completely different story for the second half.
The intensity picked up after Eduardo Jauregui picked up a caution in the 23rd minute after an aggressive tackle.
A minute later, the Americans almost doubled up but a superb clearance from veteran defender Desmond Humphrey saved what appeared to be a sure goal.
Unfortunately for Canada they would get caught at the back as Joey Tavernese made a strong pass into the goal area where Patrick Healey slotted it in to give USA a 2-0 advantage.
A minute and a half later, USA made it 3-0 after Nelson Santana notched a subtle flick over a sprawling Joshua Lemos.
Despite their strong lead, the Americans would get into foul trouble and were forced to stay back defensively, which allowed the Canadians to press hard. Canada were rewarded with their first goal after Bennett blasted a low shot that Waltman simply could not contain.
With less than five minutes remaining, USA called a timeout, but it was Canada that would capitalize after Dimarco delivered a fine strike to bring Canada within a goal.
After USA conceded their sixth foul in the half, it was Canada's Nazim Belguendouz that would step up to the 10m spot. He would make no mistake as he drilled a bullet past Waltman to tie the game up.
Amazingly Canada would take the improbable lead with their third goal in under three minutes after Jacob Orellana made an excellent series of dribbles that fooled his defender and delivered a sublime finish on which Waltman had no chance.
Both Waltman and Lemos were stellar in goal for their respective sides but it was Lemos that would get caught out of his goal off an American free kick with under 30 seconds left that allowed the Americans to tie it 4-4.
Stars of the match were Bennett and Waltman. Of note, Canadian goalkeeper Lemos celebrated his 27th birthday.
Canada's starting lineup featured Joshua Lemos (goal), Matias Dimarco, Vahid Assadpour (captain), Frederico Moojen, and Ian Bennett.
USA's starting lineup featured Danny Waltman (goal), Patrick Healey, Tony Donatelli, Bryan Perez, and Kraig Chiles.
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