U.S. Men's National Team

Missed chances, shaky defending doom USMNT in 4-1 loss to Brazil


photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com


LANDOVER, Md. — The U.S. men's national team looked to its match against Brazil as a way to gauge just how far it has come in its first year under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and the U.S. men found out there is still work to be done.

Four days after routing Scotland to open their busy summer, the United States suffered a 4-1 defeat to Brazil in front of a crowd of 67,619 fans at FedEx Field on Wednesday night. The Americans created chances, but a failure to to finish combined with some shaky defending ended the U.S. team's winning streak at five games.

"It's a very good team, and that's what we expected, with very good individual players," said Klinsmann. "Neymar and his technical skils that he has, and he has this freshness in his game to try things out and make things that you don't expect. They have a very powerful forward with Hulk that is a handful, there's no doubt about it. They have a a very good group that are coming through the ranks that Mano Menezes is trying to build."

Neymar scored early on a controversial penalty kick and added two assists for the Brazilians, while Alexandre Pato came off the bench to cap the scoring. Herculez Gomez, who started for the U.S. team for the first time since 2010, scored the lone goal for the hosts with a headed finish just before halftime.

The Americans had chances in the match to pull closer but were unable to convert. Oguchi Onyewu thundered a header off the cross bar in the second half, while Michael Bradley and substitute Terrence Boyd also failed to put away chances against Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael.

Both teams began the match by sharing possession and feeling each other out. But the United States fell behind in the 12th minute when Neymar beat Tim Howard with a penalty kick that was awarded to the Selecao following a questionable handball on Oguchi Onyewu.

Neymar went from scorer to provider 14 minutes later, delivering a corner kick that Thiago Silva headed home.

"(Onyewu) says he hit him in the stomach and plus he was outside the box," said Klinsmann. "Then you get another set piece, you're 2-0 down, so you run after Brazil, which is very difficult because then you open up spaces and they can counter break you."

The Americans got a lifeline just before halftime, as Michael Bradley hit Fabian Johnson with a pass down the left flank. Johnson sent in a cross that took a slight deflection, and Gomez was there to head it into the back of the net from close range.

"I thought the team reacted very well," said Klinsmann. "They fought themselves back in the game, they scored that goal. We wanted to avoid, obviously, a third goal coming out for the second half."

That did not happen. Seven minutes after the intermission, Neymar got down the left side and sent in a low cross that Marcelo smashed past a helpless Howard.

The United States attempted to rally after that, but things got chippy in the match. Jermaine Jones was given a yellow card in the 57th minute for taking down Neymar with a sweeping kick, and Brazilian fullback Marcelo was cautioned three minutes later.

"I think we mixed it up in the second half," said Howard. "We made them uncomfortable. I thought it was a great tackle on Neymar from Jermaine. They were pissing and moaning and rolling around, and got a little bit of help from the referee. We stood up for ourselves."

The final goal of the game came three minutes before the death, when Pato chested down a ball from Marcelo and rifled a shot to the far post despite appeals for offside from the Americans.

"The fourth goal, my information is the guy was two yards offside," said Klinsmann. "So we're talking about a goal two yards offside, we're talking about a penalty kick that's not be, so that kind of pisses me off to be honest. But it is what it is. Congratulations to Brazil for the win."

The scoreline does not indicate it, but in terms of performance the United States did better than they have in the past against the five-time World Champions. Rather than defend and counter, the Americans tried to take the game to Brazil when they could. And while it did work at times, the lack of finishing and shoddy defending ultimately cost them.

"We did have good spells where we moved the ball around," said Clint Dempsey, who entered the game in the 56th minute. "But it hurts you to concede a goal so early in a game like this. It puts more pressure on you and we just never really seem to get those type of calls."

The U.S. team next takes on Canada at BMO Field in Toronto on June 3 before starting World Cup qualifying against Antigua and Barbuda on June 8 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla.


What do you think of Brazil's 4-1 win over the United States? Who impressed/disappointed you? Encouraged by how the U.S. offense played?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Scott

    I totally agree. Bradley is much better when he can get involved higher up the field. Curious about the switch myself.


  • Philly Union Rule

    Gooch jersey for sale on EBAY. Authentic signed, starting bid, I will pay you to take it……


  • matt

    Line up wasnt really the issue. brazil is just better.

    thiago silva is 27 plays for AC milan.

    Marcelo is on RM.

    A lot of these players on this brazilian team are very good.


  • rah

    I agree. The Edu, Bradley switch was a huge part of our problem. Edu was playing out by Torres and I think the team had to play around Edu, denying Torres chances to get into the game and with a severe handicap in support when he did. It also kept Bradley out of the attack. Edu doesn’t have the touch to play that high up the pitch at this level. Not even close. Bradley amazingly looks like he is developing it. A great improvement. Curse Johnny Evans! Imagine Jones in the destroyer role covering the back line and Bradley and Holden out there. We could put Edu in during garbage time.

    Besides this curious choice which makes no sense in any reasonable universe, I think K did a good job. I much rather see the US, especially in friendlies go down playing the more aggressive and technical style. 4-2 is a fair score line here and Gooch’s awful night led to 3 of the 4. I think there is hope.


  • rah

    5-3 or 4-2 are the fairest goal line. I will take that at this point. It was so nice to see the US play entertaining soccer. Switch Edu and Bradley back and use only one of Gooch and Boca at a time and it would have looked like a real game. This was a really strong Brazil team. The full Brazil team in 2014 is going to be amazing.I don’t mind being two goals down to them, especially when we are able to create chances.


  • Sony

    Puss-y guy aka Donovan is average player yesterday he played like a sh*t.If that puss-y dude is your best soccer player ever you guys are in big trouble.


  • 007

    “Donovan look mediocre repeatedly” because he is Landycake can only play against sh*t like Scotland or Algeria lol.He is 30 year old good luck in Brazil (2014) with Landycake lol.


  • Mat

    Yeah Gooch had a bad game, but all the “fans” here saying he’s not any good don’t have a clue. Before his injury this year, he was one of the best central defenders in the Portuguese league. So he had a bad game, it happens.
    Fact is, he’s still our best central defender.
    Funny how people throw him under the bus so quickly.

    This said, this was the best 4-1 loss I’ve ever seen. The USA had numerous clear chances, practically as many as Brazil. It’s a good sign. I’d rather lose 4-1 playing this way, than 2-0 the last time we played Brazil when we had maybe 1 shot on goal.

    I’ve never seen the US get so many opportunities against Brazil, ever. It was a crazy game. 4-1 doesn’t reflect the play really, especially the second half.

    Oh and btw, the penalty is not a penalty, and the last goal was offside. The Brazil left back should have gotten a red card when he kicked at Dolo, as well.

    Brazil won, but the US put in a great performance.


  • jerry

    The reality is: Onyewu is too slow for the modern game, the last goal was his fault for not leaving on time, was a great player but his best moments are history. Landon played badly. But the team had good shine at times. Change required in the defense fastest players and intelligent futb├│l has evolved.


  • Sucks

    yeah Landycake is always good against teams like Scotland,Poland, Slovenia or other sh*t.He needs to play much better against Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany ect. and he doesn’t.


  • dailyminefield

    Gooch is horrible….he just can’t play against top flight teams.

    I actually thought everyone else did pretty well…You fix Gooch’s weak link and everyone else looks better.

    Edu lost it a bunch, but many times they were terrible balls played to him or he trying to clean up someone elses bad touch.

    Not convinced with Gomez, but that’s probably not gonna be him there most of the time. You could slide Dempsey there, Atlidore, Boyd, etc…

    One thing I did wanna see more of is Torres’s creativity. Didn’t see much of that tonight.


  • B 16

    Good stuff out of our forwards last night-Jozy will be pushed to improve. Time for fresh blood in the center if the defense. We played more wide open than in the bunker days of the last coaching regime- and paid for it a couple times. This is what it is- a friendly. Learn a few lessons, more forward and apply them as we march on towards Brazil 2014!


  • bryan

    gooch had a bad game, but he’s still a good player. it really annoys me how US fans have knee jerk reactions to EVERYTHING.


  • Sucks

    Son he did not clear anything the ball just hit his hand that is PK but ref. can let it go in friendly game.


  • User

    That is how soccer is played you punk this is contact and dirty game.It is not basebolo or basketbolo.US players should learn from teams like Brazil how to play no ladycaking for you anymore just play like a guy not lady.


  • User

    you guys need that Jones baller because your team is too soft 10 players with no balls between legs except Jones.


  • User

    it was not lucky save it was poor shot. You can shoot at the keeper that’s all.


  • User

    Dolo was not good and we he will be even worst in 2 years.You guys need a better RB in 2014 because Dolo in not the option.


  • sasha

    you expecting from girl to play like a guy come on man!LoL Landycake puss>>Y puss>>Y boy.


  • bryan

    people talking like gooch is trash are absolutely ridiculous. i’m so sick of the hyperbole and knee jerk reactions of our fans. it’s absolutely annoying. anyway…

    was at the game, it was a blast! just watched the highlights. i think it was a fair PK and JK is wrong, Gooch was in the box for sure. Gooch was unlucky but he should have kept his arm down.

    the second goal…wow. i mean, i remember being upset by bad defending when i saw it live, but on TV, it is even worse. Jones literally just lets him run and Edu misses the header (it was too high to be fair). at first i thought this was on Gooch, but no way. Jones is to blame for that one.

    the third goal. again, absolutely crap defending. Boca, Gooch and Bradley all caught ball watching. from the highlights on USsoccer, at 5:08, you can see the lack of any bodies on Marcelo. 4 Brazil players in the box, but Hulk wasn’t really involved, and 5 USA players, all involved. Johnson is marking the far guy and Dolo is marking neymar. but Bradley, Boca and Gooch are not doing anything. But i think Boca is responsible for that one, he was the closest. Gooch seemed to be attempting to help Dolo close down the cross? and i’ll give Bradley the benefit of the doubt.

    leading up to Pato’s post hit, what kind of pass was that from Boca?!?! i mean, TERRIBLE. god awful. THEN he stops tracking Pato who is wide open in the middle. basically exactly what happened in the marcelo goal.

    their last goal. two things compounded on this one which led to Pato being wide open. 1. Castillo steps forward with Boca which leaves Pato unmarked. 2. Gooch doesn’t step forward with them and keeps Pato onside, and thus, wide open. Gooch 100% blame on that one.

    as for us, i cannot believe Bradley, Dempsey, Boyd, and Gooch didn’t get one of those to fall in. definition of unlucky. i thought we played bad in the first 20 minutes, then did ok for the rest of that first half. the start of the second half was bad too, but then we started getting forward and creating and we actually played well. sadly, we couldn’t finish and the defense (aside from Johnson) just couldn’t get it done.


  • Tom P

    Hi All,

    Look, our back center is old and slow. Boca has been a great servant,captain and a person I admire personally but he won’t be on the pitch in 2014. Gooch never really recovered his form from the knee injury in the football sense and was given to occasional folly even before he got hurt on many occasions.

    So, everyone on this board, you are Klinnsman for a minute here. What do you do?

    1. Replace them with kids hope you qualify and they can grow into their rolls simultaneously and hope you can get enough goals out of your new brand of attacking football to overcome this obvious weakness?

    2. Stick with the old guard to get through qualifying and drop 2 center mids to play deep to cover and give up your attacking plans that seem to be baring fruit?

    3. Go back to long ball and keep 7 to 8 behind the ball at all times and let numbers cover up your lack of speed and talent and keep out soft goals?

    For all of you that have an answer to his above conundrum I applaud your confidence.

    Me- I don’t have the answers but watching last night on TV and being at the game in Jacksonville was certainly more exciting then this squad has been in a longtime. Just my observation as a fan. But is it the way to comfortable victories and relatively comfortable qualifying for 2014????? The jury will be out for sometime.

    I do know one thing- we need to hire a technical expert on the art of marking set pieces and stepping up with the new management. You can say what you like but this sloppiness did not take place under Bradley but either did the slick touches in the build up. So pick your poison on that one.

    And all of you that are obsessed with our lack of finishing I say this:

    I don’t who that Brazilian GK was last night but he was simply frigging phenomenal and you should tip your cap to him. Except for Edu’s and Torres shanks there were a lot of balls put on the frame by us last night in the 2nd half. A lot more then we are used to especially vs. an opponent that 6000 odd players playing professionally outside of Brazil around the world.


  • Angel of Los Angeles

    well I second to that that Gooch hasn’t been the same ever since his injury, it didn’t help him going to AC Milan and getting injure again. But it is what it is, tonight Gooch had a bad time and bad game against Brazil. But he was not the only one three player that had really not a good game was BOCANEGRA (Who lost the ball and that where the Penalty came), EDU, CHERENDULO, Other players they were giving to much respect to Brazil that they forgot to pressure them and double mark them. like the third goal, Cherendulo is waiting and waiting until marcelo past it to Neymar and we all know that we was going to Cross it, where were the Central defender on the play, than few minutes later same play. The only Defender that play good was Fabian Johnson who keep having better games. But I have to give to the The boys in the Second half the did better job playing Brazil with more guts, and strong that they even pressure more a bit and thats how they got close to scoring again. I still proud of the USNMT. ANyway we lost to BRAZIL not just any team.


  • bryan

    this is an example of hyperbole. i remember when he was a beast at the Confeds Cup and the Italy coach praised him and everyone loved him. same when he scored against Mexico or the other headers he has scored for us. but anytime he has an off day, people like to act like the guy can’t play. he isn’t playing in Portugal because he can’t cut it. the guy is solid, certainly has his weaknesses, but the way some US fans treat him after a bad day is ridiculous.

    i also disagree about Torres. our entire section was talking about how in the first half he was the only creative player on the US trying to hold on to possession. he juked multiple Brazilians with quick turns, spins, and touches.


  • Juan

    If I was Jozy I’d be worried. Both Boyd and Herc are more mobile and work harder than him. I can see a dog fight for the start from here on out


  • bryan

    good comment. here are the stats from last night’s game. like you said, we had a lot of chances. in fact, we had more shots then Brazil:

    Stats Summary: USA / BRA
    Shots: 15 / 12
    Shots on Goal: 5 / 7
    Saves: 3 / 4
    Corner Kicks: 8 / 5
    Fouls: 9 / 12
    Offside: 2 / 1

    out of the four HUGE chances (dempsey, bradley, gooch, and boyd), the keeper made INSANE saves on two of them. that wasn’t a lack of finishing. for dempsey’s, i don’t think anyone can say with a straight face he can’t finish. the defender did well to get in on him at the last second. and gooch was just unlucky because he was towering above everyone and hit that ball so hard. and again, i doubt anyone can say gooch isn’t a good finisher with his head while keeping a straight face.

    some of our shots off target though we should have done better on.


  • Leo

    No one mentioned this: last night was Brazil’ Olympic (u-23) team against the USMNT. That should help “gauge” how much progress soccer has made in the US


  • David

    I know this may sound silly, but I don’t think The Jurgster (my nickname for him) was necessarily playing to win. If we wanted to win we would have sat back and countered.

    It was obvious we were playing to take the game to Brazil. Which wasn’t a particularly good strategy to try and win a game, but a great strategy to try and grow as a team and see just how good you are.

    On a different night when their keeper doesn’t make 2 world class saves, and their defender doesn’t clear it off the line, and the crossbar is a little less friendly, and the ref doesn’t give a controversial penalty, we could have won that game 3-2.


  • louis z

    Boyd’s shot was not at the keeper. if you check the replay you can see the golie one way and Boyd’s shot going to his left, the golie just threw his feet right where the shot went. i see it as more of a good stop than a crappy finish.


  • TheFrenchOne

    “That is how soccer is played you punk this is contact and dirty game.It is not basebolo or basketbolo.”

    You’re not real bright, are you? physical play is an important part of soccer. but when marcelo kicks cherundolo in the chest/face as he’s falling, then later blasts the ball at cherundolo while he is on the ground, that’s not physical play; that’s being a dirty piece of crap. learn the difference, tool


  • Mike r

    Cherundolo and Onyewu may be fine for average to bad teams but they aretoo slow for the likes of top notch teams like Brazil Arg etc . They were getting torched all night


  • soccerhorn

    Our CB of the future is Omar Gonzalez. He is currently rehabbing his knee in Los Angeles. If you don’t think he’s a world class difference maker, just take a look how the Galaxy have done without him so far.


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