"CONCACAF Retro" -- a regular CONCACAF.com feature that takes an in-depth look at a moment, game and/or event in the confederation's history.
Through "CONCACAF Retro" you will revisit the region's most memorable people and crowning achievements.
Stars & Stripes qualify for third consecutive FIFA Futsal World Cup
Four years after finishing second at the FIFA Futsal World Cup, the United States claimed its first-ever crown by winning the inaugural CONCACAF Futsal Championship in 1996.
The tournament, which took place in Guatemala at the FUTECA Roosevelt, also doubled as the CONCACAF qualifier to FIFA Futsal World Cup in Spain later that year.
Then and current U.S. head coach Keith Tozer, who is also the country's all-time indoor soccer leader in coaching victories remembers the event in Guatemala: "It was one of the best highlights of my coaching career because it was the first CONCACAF tournament. First, I thank John Kowalski, who was my coach in the MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League) and as he was also coaching in Major League Soccer (Tampa Bay Mutiny) at the time, he asked if I can take over the (futsal) team. If he (Kowalski) didn't give me the opportunity I wouldn't be at the helm of the team today.
"Second, we had to get the team in a short period of time to try to win it and players such as goalkeeper Otto Orf, midfield David Moxom and forwards Dario Brose and Mark Moser shined at the CONCACAF event, which enabled us to capture the title and qualify to the FIFA tournament."
Despite competing in 40 international matches (18 wins, 17 losses, 5 draws) since the futsal program began in 1986, and winning a bronze and a silver at the previous two FIFA Futsal World Cups (1989 and 1992), the Americans entered the tournament in Guatemala not having played against a CONCACAF opponent.
"We did not have high expectations going into the event as many of the indoor players, along with myself, were competing in their first international competition," said Orf, who was the starting goalkeeper in three of four games in Guatemala. "We all knew that we wanted to do well and qualify."
The U.S. opened the six-team CONCACAF tournament in Group 1 with 4-1 victory over Costa Rica on September 1, thanks to a pair of goals from Brose, while Moser and forward Brian Loftin each added a tally.
Group play concluded two days later a 5-3 loss to Cuba. After defender Wes Wade and midfielder Franklin McIntosh gave the Stars & Stripes a 2-1 lead early in the second half, the Leones del Caribe scored four unanswered in a span of 10 minutes to take a 5-2 advantage. McIntosh then scored his second goal of the match with a minute remaining. Cuba, however, held on for the victory.
Despite the setback, the U.S. still topped the group on goal difference (+1) and progressed with Cuba (zero) to the semifinals.
The Stars & Stripes were scheduled to face the host on September 5. while the Leones del Caribe were to meet Mexico. The winners would advance to the finals and also qualify for the FIFA tournament.
After Cuba defeated Mexico (2-1) in the first encounter, the crowd of 3,000 at the FUTECA Roosevelt witnessed Brose net the first hat-trick (three goals) in a CONCACAF semifinal encounter to pace the Americans to a 7-3 triumph over Guatemala.
"I knew we were a bit nervous playing the semifinal against Guatemala as you had the entire crowd cheering them on," recalled Orf. "It was a very intense game and every minute there was back and forth action. In the end, the object was accomplish in reaching the finals and it was a good feeling that you were part of such an emotional encounter."
Moser, Wade and defenders Glenn Carbonara and George Fernandez added a goal each in the win as the U.S. progressed to the CONCACAF final and earned a FIFA Futsal World Cup berth.
In the championship encounter on September 7 -- a rematch from the Group Stage -- Carbonara, McIntosh and Wade netted two goals each to lead the U.S. to a 7-3 victory over Cuba.
"We were shocked in the first game against them (Cuba), so when we met again in the final we were more prepared," said Orf, who after the match shared the tournament's best goalkeeper award with Mexico's Roberto Gamboa. "That second game against Cuba we played our hearts out and deserved to win."
Along with Orf's award, Brose was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, scoring five goals.
Tozer, who has coached the U.S. in all of the CONCACAF tournaments since 1996 added: "I remember when we beat Cuba in the gold medal game. It was just an unbelievable experience. There was so much pride to represent your country and CONCACAF in the world championship, so it was big honor for all of us and a very exciting time."
The U.S. went on to compete in the FIFA Futsal World Cup Spain 1996. The team, though, did not make it past the Group Stage, losing to Uruguay (1-0) and Italy (4-2), before concluding with a victory over Malaysia (10-2).
Since the 1996 CONCACAF Championship, the Stars & Stripes won another title in 2004 and finished third in 2000 and 2008.
DEFENDERS: Glenn Carbonara (Cleveland Crunch), David Eise (Milwaukee Wave), George Fernandez (Cincinnati Silverbacks), Wes Wade (Kansas City Attack)
MIDFIELDERS: Franklin McIntosh (Baltimore Spirit), David Moxom (Carolina Dyamo)
FORWARDS: Dennis Brose (Detroit Rockers), Brian Loftin (Kansas City Attack), Mark Moser (St. Louis Ambush), Patrick White (Milwaukee Wave)
TD: Keith TOZER
United States Results - CONCACAF Championship