For the second straight time, the US6 National Team was eliminated in the WMF World Cup’s Round of 16. Defending champion Czech Republic used a four-goal second half rally to overtake the US and hold on for a 5-4 win. Czech Republic will face Mexico in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
The US executed its game plan and showed more heart and determination than in the previous three games, but a 3-1 halftime lead turned into a 5-3 deficit in a span of about five minutes.
After Jermaine Jones was stopped on an early penalty kick, the US got on the board first with an excuse-me goal that hit the post, and rebounded into the goal off Franck Tayou. Brian Farber cashed in a VcMor Eligwe rebound to make it 2-0.
Farber collided with a forward in the box and Czech Republic was awarded a penalty kick, which they easily converted to cut their deficit to 2-1.
The US got a break when Kraig Chiles converted a free kick goal on a pass from Slavisa Ubiparipovic in injury time to give the US a 3-1 lead as time expired in the first half.
Czech Republic got two rebound goals and two goals off turnovers early in the second half. The fourth and fifth Czech Republic goals were scored mere seconds apart.
Farber scored his second of the night, on a Gordy Gurson pass, to get the US back in the game and the US kept the pedal to the metal the rest of the way, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Czech Republic will have their hands full tomorrow against Mexico, in a rematch of the 2017 WMF World Cup Final. Mexico easily dispatched Tunisia 7-0.
Brazil advanced with a 3-2 win over Serbia. They will face Slovakia who escaped with a 4-3 win over Moldova on PKs.
Rising arena soccer star James Togbah, who signed in the offseason with Utica City, reflected on the game and on his first tournament with the national team. “It was a great experience coming together with the top players from the MASL to represent the country,” Togbah said. “There’s a learning curve for me. I’ll take this in and work to improve my game as a player.”
The US will regroup and prepare to try to qualify for the next WMF World Cup, which will be in Ukraine in 2021.