GUATEMALA CITY -- Host Guatemala found itself on the verge of qualifying for FIFA Futsal World Cup by recording a 5-2 Group A win over Central American rival Panama in the 2012 CONCACAF Futsal Championship on Tuesday night. Earlier in the evening, the United States kept their qualifying hopes alive with a 3-2 win over Canada.
The victory gave the Guatemalans two wins in as many games, while Panama suffered its first loss after securing a triumph in its opener at Domo Polideportivo.
Erick Acevedo and Estuardo De Leon led the way with two goals apiece as they scored in each half, boosting the hosts to a 5-0 advantage before Los Canaleros found the back of the net midway through the second half.
In an intense, high-paced first half, the Guatemalans grabbed a 2-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
With the match just over a minute old, Acevedo gave Guatemala a lead by firing a shot from the left side over the shoulder of Panama goalkeeper Jaime Londono.
Panama took control of the match for several minutes, but could not solve the Guatemalan defense or goalkeeper William Ramirez, who had a sharp opening 20 minutes.
But it was the Guatemalans who scored again to take a 2-0 advantage in the 14th minute. This time De Leon converted a free kick from Edgar Macal as he powered a drive to the near left post.
Los Chapines were relentless in the second half. They increased their lead to three goals early on as Pablo Estrada tallied on a long-range shot from the left side.
De Leon made the most of a give-and-go and fired an attempt from just outside the penalty area for a 4-0 lead in the 26th minute.
Only three minutes later, Acevedo beat his man on the right side, Alquis Alvarado and put home a shot from a difficult angle for the fifth goal.
Panama's Miguel Bello spoiled Ramirez's shutout bid by scoring from the left side to close the gap to 5-1 in the 31st minute. Only a minute later, Panama's Carlos Perez launched a long drive from the right side for the second goal.
United States 3, Canada 2
Kraig Chiles broke a 2-2 tie in the 33rd minute to lift the United States to a 3-2 Group A victory over Canada in 2012 CONCACAF Championship at Domo Polideportivo on Tuesday night.
The win kept the Americans' chances of qualifying for the 2012 FIFA Futsal Championship alive after they dropped a 5-2 decision to Panama on Monday night.
The Canadians' second loss in as many games put them on the verge of elimination.
Canada grabbed a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute as a Bruno Xavier free kick deflected off of the foot of a U.S. defender and into the net past U.S. goalkeeper Danny Waltman.
The Canadian captain, however, would not see the end of the opening half as he was forced from the match with a lower left leg injury at 15:40. Xavier returned to action in the second half.
The Americans equalized in the 17th minute. Machel Millwood sent a cross from the left corner into the penalty area. Chiles fired a close-range attempt that a defender managed to block. The rebound, however, went straight to Patrick Healey, who slotted it into the net past keeper Roy Blance for a 1-1 tie.
In the opening minute of the second half, Healey turned playmaker as he and Bryan Perez found themselves on a quick counterattack. Healey slipped the ball to Perez, who fired from the top left edge of the penalty area to register his second goal of the tournament.
The Canadians, however, countered with an equalizer of their own in the 31st minute as Matthew Stewart tallied from the right side of the area for a 2-2 deadlock.
Chiles restored the lead for the U.S. at 3-2 with a left-footed blast from outside the left side of the penalty area in the 33rd minute.
Canada came close to knotting up the game at 37:53 as Ian Bennett, trying to take advantage of a quick free kick, sent a close-range shot over the net.
Most of the final two minutes was played in the Americans' end as Canada desperately tried for the equalizer. The Canadians took shot after shot at the U.S. goal as their best opportunity came with 15.6 seconds remaining, but Waltman managed to knock away Daniel Chamale's close-range attempt.
The U.S. will meet Guatemala in their final group match on Wednesday night, while Canada plays Panama.