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Young and talented Brazil faces experienced USA tonight

Landon Donovan 4 (JohnToddISI) 

Photo by John Todd/


The 2014 World Cup cycle will end in Brazil, but for the U.S. men's national team, the road there begins with the Selecao.

The United States will face Brazil tonight (8pm, ESPN) in front of an expected crowd of more than 65,000 at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The match is the first since the World Cup and both teams enter the match with several questions surrounding their respective head coaches, as well as their rosters.

The match-up pits the talented youth of Brazil against the established experience of a U.S. team made up almost entirely of World Cup players who should take the field in New Jersey to a hero's welcome from grateful U.S. fans.

Despite bringing in a team filled mostly with players from the tournament in South Africa, there is still some uncertainty over which players Bob Bradley will select for Tuesday's friendly. Forward appears up in the air, though Bradley could go with the tandem of Jozy Altidore and Robbie Findley, which started three matches together, failing to score in any of them.

Another position that needs to be sorted out is center back. With Jay DeMerit and Oguchi Onyewu omitted from the team, does Bradley opt to pair captain Carlos Bocanegra with Clarence Goodson or Jonathan Spector, or does he leave Bocanegra at left back? Judging from similar incidents in the past, it is likely that Bocanegra will slide over to the center, while Jonathan Bornstein patrols the left flank. 

While the United States has some lineup decisions to make, so does Brazil. The Selecao are coming off a second consecutive World Cup in which it was bounced out in the quarterfinals. 

In order to change that, Mano Menezes has been named the team's new manager, and he has named a relatively young Brazilian squad for his first match in charge. The new-look Brazil might boast more youth than usual, but the team in transition is still made up of a talented core group of players, including Robinho, Dani Alves and Alexandre Pato.

Brazil boasts impressive talent, but the squad does lack international experience, which could be an issue against a U.S. team that has played together as a group for two years. The Americans will need to make full use of that edge in experience if they are going to beat a team they have only beaten once in 15 previous meetings (in 1998).

Despite the historical one-sidedness, there is a confidence around the U.S. team that stems in no small part from the team's success in recent yearsa.

"We're at a point now where we expect to compete with these teams in a real way," said U.S. star Landon Donovan. "Not in a shot-in-the-dark hope that we can beat Brazil, but that we're going to compete with them and try to win the game. I think we believe that now where in the past we haven't."


  1. Buddle played a couple of nights ago, right? Wonder if that means he won’t play.

    I’d like to see Jozy adn Buddle together up top to begin. Spector and Boca in the middle of the defense, and Benny in the line up to start with landon, bradley and edu.

  2. Full disrespect to Findley, he’s awful and his speed is meaningless on the international level.

    Can he burn to the corner in the MLS? Yeah. But what does he do once he gets there? Oh that’s it… nothing.

  3. Have you seen the USMNT? Size, is one thing we have. Other than Cherundolo & Torres(5’7), Donovan (5’8) Bornstein & Findley(5’9), Davies, Gomez, & Holden (5’10) all the USNT players are 6 foot or taller.

    While I agree Shea has been playing well for FCD this year Size won’t get him on the team. Skill will make him relavent or not during the next WC cycle.

  4. (laughs)

    you know…I think the majority of U S fans (whether they choose to admit it or not) share in that sentiment. Is it time for the USSF to build on what was accomplished and use that as a spring board to bigger and better? Is Bradley the man to take us where we need to go? Probably not, however, It doesn’t take a genius to see the negative trend with respect to countries that have kept their manager for more than a cycle. In any event, Bradley exposed his international inexperience to the world when he made some suspect lineup moves. In addition to this, he did not do himself any favors by pulling his selection out prematurely. With regard to having the best personality as the coach, Bradley can take full credit for having our players prepared for each match. With that said, from a psychological perspective, I do not think Bradley was able to reach the players on a cerebral level as we entered the knockout phase. Would a more experienced coach be able to succeed where Bradley failed? My money is on the more experienced international coach. One thing is for certain there is no better time than the present for the USSF to allocate some much needed resources to be used in revamping our youth developmental programs from a philosophical, tactical and technical perspective. A coach will only take you so far, the players still have to be well developed with the necessary first touch skills and tactical awareness to execute the manager’s plans.

    Insanity is defined as doing the same thing expecting different results. Change the philosophy and the training. Bring in some football know-how and build a better product.
    Then we can put the boat back in the water and see if it sails as opposed to just floating.

  5. We have a U20 USMNT that does quite well.

    The Red Bull reserves played very well against the Santos team. I think that Brazil’s Santos forwards are quite young, they’re also not exactly imposing physically.

  6. Its a good test for Brazil’s “Santos” generation of Robinho, Neymar, Ganso, and Andre, who just won the Brazilian Cup together. The US will certainly give them a good indication as to how far they and their new manager have to go in 4 years. On the other hand, this game probably doesn’t mean as much for the US, which remains fairly stable for now. For the Americans, you have to think that it means more for individual players looking to impress potential club suitors. Prediction, Ganso will tear our defense up. 4-1, Brazil.

  7. Yes it is time to start implementing the best 18+ US players into the system. A couple of international friendlies against mediocre opponents will help them get their feet wet.

  8. Can’t he play several positions like fullback and attacking midfield as well as LM? Everytime I’ve watched him I’ve been impressed, plus he’s got something USA lacks, size.

  9. I know he plays more as a LM for his club, but could anyone see Brek Shea getting a callup anytime soon? Maybe in the January camp? He finally got a haircut and is looking pretty good for FC Dallas.

  10. A win would be a nice finishing touch on the 2010 cycle… Then let’s move on… There’s a core of 12-15 players who have played extensively for the US recently and who will be involved to some extent come Gold Cup 2011 and qualifying 2012- they are all known commodities: Altidore, Bradley, Edu, Holden, Dempsey, Donovan, Kljestan, Feilhaber, Spector, Onyewu, Howard, Guzan, Torres, Goodson.

    Come October, let’s get the lesser-known players out there and see how they integrate themselves: Jones, Bedoya, Castillo, Gonzalez, Ream, Alston, maybe a recovering Davies, some young MLS and U-20 guys…

  11. I agree with your selection with the exception of Bornstein. I’d move Bocanegra to LB and have Spector as sweeper behind Goodson.

  12. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we hammer Brazil tonight… There is a reason that so many of these players did not get called into the WC squad for Brazil…they are very very undisciplined and young… I think the US exploits it a lot…

    Of course it could be that the dazzling youngsters wont know any better and just whiz all around the park with old school Brazilian beauty and we get laughed at… who knows…

  13. GK: Howard

    Projected starting line-up for the USA

    RB: Cherundolo

    CB: Goodson

    CB: Bocanegra

    LB: Bornstein

    RM: Donovan

    CM: Bradley

    CM: Edu

    LM: Feilhaber

    Fwd: Buddle

    Fwd: Altidore

    Look for Bedoya, Gomez, and Spector to get significant minutes in the 2nd half. Kljesten and Gonzalez could also see some time.

  14. Brazil’s coach used a 4-3-3 formation in the team’s last practice. Line up was:

    Victor, Daniel Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, André Santos, Lucas, Ramires, Ganso, Robinho, Neymar e Pato.

    Coach Mano Menezes wants to build on the familiarity of Robinho-Neymar-Ganso who play together in Santos.

    This is NOT the same Santos who faced the Red Bulls. This line up is attack minded, aggressive and skilled.

  15. If we think Findley’s “speed” is going to do anything to Brazils back line, we have serious issues.

    And the duo of Neymar and Gonso are either going to embarass us with their quality, or embarass Brazil with their mistakes.

    Will be entertaining either way!


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