The US National Arena Soccer Team broke out of a six quarter funk and rallied from a three goal deficit, but dropped a heartbreaker, 7-6 to Brazil in shootouts as arena soccer returned to the Maverik Center for the first time since 2001.
On the heels of their 5-1 win last night in Boise, Brazil got the scoring started again on a goal by Ricardo Carvalho. Carvalho struck again on a 2v0 break after a bad pass in the middle by US goalkeeper Piotr Sliwa.
At 3:05 of the second quarter Thiago Goncalves put Brazil ahead 3-0 and the game had the makings of a long night for the US.
But Gordy Gurson, who struggled in Friday’s game, answered 11 seconds later, one-timing a long Casey Gasson pass off the end boards, to get the US on the board. Gasson replaced Sliwa and played in goal for the second quarter. Ryan Creager’s blue card slowed any momentum the US had and Hewerton snuck a long shot in the near corner to put Brazil up 4-1.
Matt Clare and Gurson teamed up for a Clare goal, one of the rare times the US had been in sync in the two games against Brazil. Again the rally was short lived when Douglas Lima poked home a Guilherme Veiga shot that bounced off the post.
The complexion of the game changed in the third quarter when Boris Pardo went in the nets. Pardo made a number of acrobatic saves to keep the US in the game until goals by Alex Megson and Gurson made it a tight 5-4 game.
In the fourth quarter Gurson completed a hat trick with a power play goal where he poked the ball loose from Sanaldo’s tentative grasp to tie the game for the first time. From that point on, the US and Brazil fans at the Maverik Center tried to outdo each other and exhort their team to victory.
At 1:29 of the fourth quarter Hewerton scored a cornerkick goal on a pass from Jonatan Santos and Brazil regained the lead.
The 6-5 score held up until the US converted another power play at 11:35, and this time it was Clare feeding Gurson, who netted his fourth goal of the game.
The US had a chance to win the game when Brazil was whistled for too many men on the field with 1:45 to go, but couldn’t convert the power play.
With the score tied 6-6 at the end of regulation the game went straight to shootouts. Alex Megson was stuffed on the opening attempt for the US. Luan Sales Oliveira scored for Brazil. Gurson scored again, this time deking Sanaldo to the ground and calmly maneuvering around him to put the ball into the empty net. Hewerton scored the ostensible game winning shootout by craftily chipping Pardo. Clare’s final chance for the USNAST was absorbed by Sanaldo’s torso to clinch a 7-6 win for Brazil.
The USNAST must now regroup for August 24th’s game in St. Louis against Mexico and the rematch August 26 in Cedar Rapids. The US is now 2-4 on their summer tour of arenas.