Samoa ends American Samoa’s dream run

American Samoa’s captivating run in Oceania’s World Cup

qualifying ended Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Samoa on Silao Malo’s

last-minute goal.

American Samoa, 204th and last in FIFA rankings, captured world

attention when it beat Tonga in its opening match at the

four-nation, round-robin tournament, notching its first-ever

international win.

Another win Sunday would have seen it advance to the second

round of qualifying, and the defense, based around center back

Johnny Saelua – thought to be the world’s first transgender

international – held strong until the 90th minute when Malo scored

on a counterattack.

Samoa advanced to the next stage in Oceania qualifying, where it

will be in a round-robin group with New Caledonia, Tahiti and

Vanuatu. The other second-round group involves 2010 World Cup

qualifier New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon

Islands, with the top two from each group advancing.