by Bill Norris

A raucous crowd of 6,855 fans rocked Citizens Business Bank Arena on Thursday night as the Mexican National Futbol Rapido Team used a fourth-quarter surge to beat the United States National Arena Soccer Team 10-7 in a game presented by the Ontario Fury, Driven by Mark Christopher Chevrolet.

Thursday night’s game is the first in a three-games-in-three-nights series to be played in California. The two teams will meet Friday night at Turlock Indoor Soccer then Saturday at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

Matt Clare opened the scoring for the U.S., but it was Mexico that went into the half with a 4-2 lead  that they expanded to 5-2 to open the second half. But the U.S. chipped away, with Travis Pittman scoring his second goal of the night to tie the game with 9:47 to go.

The teams traded goals, as the Cedar Rapids Rampage’s Angel Curiel completed a hat trick, followed closely by a goal from San Diego’s Brian Farber. Brandon Escoto broke the tie, then added the dagger, giving Mexico an 8-6 lead it would not surrender. Mexico scored twice more against the sixth attacker to account for the final score.

Curiel led Mexico with three goals and two assists, and Escoto had three goals and an assist. The United States was led by Cedar Rapids’ captain Gordy Gurson, who had three goals and an assist. Pittman scored twice and Farber had a goal and two assists.

The series of games is the first for the teams as they prepare for the World Minifootball Federation World Cup, which will be played in Tunisia in October.