PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – The United States fell to Mexico 6-2 in the final of the 2019 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship Sunday afternoon.
As finalists the Americans join Mexico as Concacaf’s representatives at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay in November.
U.S. captain Nick Perera scored twice to finish with 13 goals to capture the tournament’s Golden Boot as top goal-scorer. He also set a U.S. record for most goals in a Beach Soccer World Cup qualifying tournament, surpassing his record of 11 set in 2013.
The first period saw both goalkeepers make key plays. Mexico’s Diego Villaseñor denied Tanner Akol’s early header by tipping it over the crossbar. U.S. goalkeeper Chris Toth matched the effort, stopping a bicycle kick by Jose Vizcarra between his feet on the near-post goal line. Perera opened the scoring with a thunderous bike from 18 yards in the final seconds of the period.
The teams played a scoreless second period, which saw an Akol bike attempt saved and the Americans’ second goalkeeper Juan Cervantes stop a shot from Villasenor and the ensuing rebound from point blank.
It all fell apart in the third period for the USA, with Mexico scoring six in a six-minute window. A questionable call gave Mexico a penalty kick that Benjamin Mosco put away. The Mexicans rode the wave of the home crowd support, adding a long-range freekick, flicked header, a penalty kick and two more after Toth moved up to help on offense. Perera added a late penalty kick.
The U.S. has qualified for five of the 10 Beach Soccer World Cups: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2019, trailing only Mexico which has competed six times including 2019.
Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay (host), Nigeria, Senegal, Japan, Oman and United Arab Emirates also have qualified for the 16-nation World Cup field. Oceania’s lone berth will be known in June and Europe will round out the field by determining the final five entries from a tournament in Russia in July.