PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – This time it was Tanner Akol’s turn to score five goals in a United States victory.
The U.S. beach aoccer national team secured its passage to the knockout stage of 2019 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship with a 11-2 win over Antigua and Barbuda Wednesday.
The Americans and Bahamas won their first two matches, which guarantees both a top-two finish in Group C ahead of their Thursday meeting.
Akol led the way with five goals. Major Arena Soccer League MVP Nick Perera, who scored five times in the 14-1 win over Bonaire Monday, finished with a hat-trick.
As they did in the opener, the USA again jumped to a quick lead. Less than two minutes in, Tanner Akol chipped a corner kick to the far post, where Nick Perera headed it back across the goal for Alessandro Canale knock in. Perera extended the lead with a side-net shot before Akol closed the period with his second goal of day, including an acrobatic bicycle kick off his own chest trap.
Antigua and Barbuda got the first of the second stance when Kevin Richards was in the right place to put away a rebound from a Chris Toth save at the goalmouth. Oscar Reyes then drew a penalty kick and converted it himself, and Akol added the sixth with a free kick.
Perera scored his second of the game to start the third period, placing a free kick in from midfield. Canale added a header, Akol a blast from midfield and Frank Tayou got his first goal when he headed in a cross at the far post. Both teams scored in the final minute, with Richards again tapping in a saved shot and Akol converting a penalty kick.
The U.S. will close out group play on Thursday, May 16 vs. Bahamas Thursday at 3:15 p.m. ET), with the teams playing for placement into the quarterfinal bracket. The winner will face Group D’s second-place team, and the runner-up will meet Group D’s winner Friday. All of the U.S.’s matches can be seen live on UDN and the ConcacafGo app.