After winning five consecutive games including a 5-1 rout of Scotland on May 26th, it was all looking bright for the US Men’s National Team. The Jurgen Klinsmann system seemed to be taking form in the minds of players and it was beginning to translate onto the field. Wednesday night’s match versus Brazil was going to be a challenge, but the recent play of the Yanks made everyone feel as though there was a chance for an upset.
Unfortunately Brazil had something different in mind as they were able to get on the board in the 12th minute with a PK from Neymar. The apparent “hand-ball” called on Oguchi Onyewu deflated the early momentum for the US, and soon went down 2-0 on a blown set piece. But the response was a typical “never give up” attitude from the US, beginning with a goal before halftime by Herculez Gomez. After a first half dominated by Brazil, the US responded better in the second with a flurry of chances and better controlling the pace of the game. Yet it was a tale of finishing, as the Yanks multiple attempts on goal were futile even inches from the goal. Meanwhile Brazil, who seemed to lose focus in the second half still was able to finish their chances and defeated the United States 4-1 in a relatively easy victory for the 2014 World Cup hosts.
It was a disappointing result for the fans, players, and even the head coach, who showed signs of rare frustration on the sidelines and in the press conference. As the US heads to Toronto for their last friendly before qualifiers, they will look back at the Brazil match-up as a game of missed opportunity and areas to grow heading forward. However disappointing, the US still showed signs of progressive style and probably should have deserved a better scoreline against Brazil.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The Good- There was over 67,000 fans attending the match at FedEx Field in the nation’s capital.
The Bad- A large portion of the fans attending were there for Brazil and the chance to see Neymar play.
The Good- Herculez Gomez was brilliant in his return to the starting lineup, his energetic pace gave the Yanks their only goal of the match.
The Bad- Oguchi Onyewu also returned to the starting lineup and was beat throughout the night by the much faster Brazilians.
The Good- Marcelo was finally carded in the 60th minute after his dramatics, whining, and dirty play became enough.
The Bad- Once again the US was cheated by FIFA referees, who made an early controversial call leading to a Brazil goal. The 11th minute hand-ball by Onyewu was actually out of the box and was called by a referee far from the play with minimal discussion. Onyewu moved his arm in a close as he could to his body and the ball hit his elbow, this was a ball-to-arm instance that was unjustly called by the refs.
The Good- In post-match comments Jurgen Klinsmann stated that his team needed to be “nastier” and actually used the word “pissed”. This is another side to the normally cheerful German, and this call for increased intensity is something the Yanks will need in their qualifiers.
The Bad- Jurgen did elaborate on his “nastier” commission, talking about how he wants his players to work the referees more. Landon Donovan disagreed and spoke of how that isn’t how Americans play. I will have to side with Donovan on this one, I’m all for tough challenges and calling guys out, but whining about calls and diving isn’t how we do it here.
The Good- Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan finally played together for the first time since last June.
The Bad- It wasn’t until the 56th minute.
The Good- Prodigy Neymar lived up to his hype Wednesday evening, scoring once and assisting twice.
The Bad- He’s on Brazil.