U.S. Handed 4-1 Defeat By Neymar And Brazil
Spotty central defending killed U.S.
Brazil’s offense was efficiently and merciless moving up and down the pitch, and the red-and-white defenders could only do so much. Oguchi Onyewu started instead of Geoff Cameron, and the former struggled. He looked stronger at time in the second half, but not nearly as good as the once great defender of three years ago. Steve Cherundolo was solid on the right and Fabian Johnson continues to look great on the left while captain Carlos Bocanegra had some rough moments in the middle. Fresh legs may be required.
Again, Bradley was excellent
Michael Bradley was his usual dominant, game-facilitating self. He played further back this game than he did against Scotland as Maurice Edu pushed higher (with little success). Bradley still controlled the U.S.’s possession and completed great passes. He played a phenomenal through ball to Johnson, who set up the Yanks’ only goal to Herculez Gomez. Speaking of Gomez…
Gomez gives hope up top
With only ten caps to his name, it wouldn’t take much for Gomez to earn the best-played cap of his career. But he sure looked strong Wednesday night and achieved such a feat. He was consistently a threat up top, creating several chances that could have resulted in more than one goal had Rafael not been amazing between Brazil’s pipes. Landon Donovan played some great balls from set pieces, but otherwise, he was non-existent in the attack as Marcelo completely shut him down. Upon Clint Dempsey and Terrence Boyd’s substitutions, the offense picked up with Gomez in the center of the action.
While the U.S. certainly created enough chances to score more than one goal -- and as Onyewu’s handball call could have swung either way -- the team played nervously throughout most of the game. The two aforementioned positives were just about the only two to draw from this friendly. Brazil outplayed them. That’s not shameful. But ESPN’s Michael Davies put it best in a tweet after the game, writing, “Many will disagree, but until US fans and media find 4-1 home losses to elite teams unacceptable, US will not become elite team.” World Cup qualifying starts next Friday, June 8, against Antigua and Barbuda. Expect a full strength U.S. side with Jozy Altidore’s return very likely. A dominating performance against a clearly inferior opponent is on the horizon. At least that’s what coach Jürgen Klinsmann hopes.