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USA vs. Brazil (Match Night Commentary)

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The U.S. men's national team returns to action for the first time since the 2010 Wrold Cup tonight against a young Brazil team playing under new head coach Mano Menezes.

The Americans will be fielding a team with nine members of the World Cup team against a Brazil squad loaded with quality young players and anchored by World Cup veterans Robinho, Dani Alves and Ramires.

I will be providing commentary on tonight's match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):


FINAL– Brazil 2, USA 0. The scoreline is flattering. Brazil could have won 4-0 or 5-0 tonight.

Positives for the United States? Hmm, nobody got hurt? Just not much positive to take from the match.

Omar Gonzalez did get his first cap, and while I was rough on him at first, he did go 90 minutes and avoided any shocking mistakes.

Jonathan Bornstein? Not so much. He managed to erase the good vibes from his two good World Cup matches with a pretty awful 90 minutes tonight.

Landon Donovan played well, and Jonathan Spector did well. Maurice Edu also looked sharp. That's about it really. The rest were between underwhelming and terrible.


90th Minute– Thiago Silva and David Luiz are two of the best young centerbacks in the world. Shame neither was tested tonight.

Ganso comes out of the match. If you weren't up on Paulo Henrique Ganso before tonight, start following him. The kid is a future superstar.


85th Minute– SAVE BRAZIL!! Herculez Gomez has his header saved. Best chance of the night, on a Spector cross. Not a terrible night for Spector.


83rd Minute– SAVE GUZAN!! Stones Carlos Eduardo from close range. This game could be 5-0.


81st Minute– You know it's a bad night when the only thing the U.S. Soccer folks are proud to announce is the attendance.

77,223, third largest game in New Jersey for a U.S. national team match.


79th Minute– That was Ganso off the post. That kid is seriously skilled. They don't call him the new Kaka for nothing.


75th Minute– Not looking good for a USA goal tonight, but we did just get a Mexican wave going around the crowd.


73rd Minute– Neymar is in for Ederson. All the USA defenders and Guzan just breathed a collective sigh of relief.


70th Minute– SAVE GUZAN!! Stones Neymar. Great save. Neymar has forced four or five good saves tonight.

USA earn a corner and take it short. Altidore tries a near-post shot but its it way too tight.


67th Minute– Bedoya is replaced by Herculez Gomez. Three forwards in now for the USA. Pato is replaced Andre.


64th Minute– Not sure I would feel comfortable about a Goodson-Gonzalez centerback tandem. Not going to win a lot of track meets with that pairing.

Still waiting to see Kljestan make an impact. He's looked good for Anderlecht and has to be playing with some confidence.

I'm sure the Robbie Findley heckling on this comment thread will get interesting.


60th Minute– Neymar with a blast to force a Guzan save. He's having fun tonight, more than American defenders are having.

Landon Donovan is coming out, Clarence Goodson comes in. Donovan hands the armband to Michael Bradley. I'm pretty sure it's the first time Bradley has worn the arm band. Doubt it will be the last.

Robbie Findley is in for Carlos Bocanegra.


57th Minute– GOAL WAIVED OFF!! Bradley with a header goal ruled offside. Nice ball in from Kljestan after Bornstein earned the corner.

USA with another corner, earned by Altidore this time.


55th Minute– Brazil is making some great passes and good off-the-ball runs that are catching the USA defense repeatedly. The Americans need to do a better job of keeping possession because the more Brazil has it the more chances they'll create.


52nd Minute– Robinho hits the POST!


50th Minute– No subs for Brazil. Same squad, having success in the second half as well. Pato missed a great look early. Could be 3-0 right now. Still might be soon.


48th Minute– We are back (Internet has been an adventure at the new stadium tonight so apologies for delays).

USA with three subs: Altidore, Kljestan and Guzan are in for Howard, Buddle and Feilhaber.


HALFTIME– Some halftime thoughts:

Alejandro Bedoya hasn't had a good day, Bornstein has had a shocker. Haven't been that impressed with Gonzalez today, while Bocanegra didn't do well on the second goal.

Who has done well? Spector has held up well against Neymar, forcing the youngster to go elsewhere to find success. he's also hit some good crosses, at least early on.

The attack just hasn't done much.


HALFTIME– Brazil 2, USA 0. An ugly first half after a promising start. Other than Landon Donovan and Maurice Edu, I can't say we've had good performances from any Americans today.


46th Minute– GOAL BRAZIL!! And it's Pato, who slips in behind Bocanegra and Gonzalez and runs onto a Ramires pass before beating Howard to make it 2-0.

Bocanegra had Pato, but stepped to face the ball. Pato raced at goal while Gonzalez failed to react. Plenty of blame to go around on that goal.


45th Minute– Doubt we'll have much stoppage time. Two minutes to be exact.

Looks like Bornstein is staying home now, his forays forward have done nothing but give Brazil space behind to attack.


41st Minute– Looks like we have Bedoya on the left now and Feilhaber on the right.

SAVE HOWARD! Stops a Neymar shot. A lot of ball-watching as Brazil circulates the ball.


40th Minute– Bocanegra flashes a header off a USA corner kick. Donovan did well to spring Bedoya on a run down the right, but Bedoya can't beat his man and settled for a corner.


37th Minute– SAVE HOWARD! Kicks away a Neymar blast as Brazil catches USA with a fast counterattack.

Just not feeling this USA lineup. Buddle, Feilhaber and Bedoya aren't providing Donovan with nearly enough attacking support. This group definitely misses Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.


35th Minute– Donovan forces a save with a hard free kick from the top left corner of the area. Victor did well to punch that away.

Americans need to settle down. Brazil looks dangerous right now.


32nd Minute– Odd moment as Pato plows into Howard, leaving the ball to roll in for an apparent goal. The referee correctly whistled the foul, but not before Brazil celebrated.


28th Minute- GOAL BRAZIL. It's Neymar with the header off a great cross from Andre Santos. Bornstein beaten on the header.


28th Minute– Buddle hasn't looked very effective, though to be fair he hasn't had much to work with. Tim Howard should probably give up the long punts because Buddle isn't winning any of them.


26th Minute– The Neymar-Ganso combo is a joy to watch, unless you're Spector and Gonzalez.


21st Minute– Andre Santos with Brazil's first shot at Howard, but Howard gets in front of it and catches the spill.

Some good ball movement from these young Brazilians. Definitely helps that Robinho, Neymar, Ganso and Andre Santos play together. Tons of skill on that Santos team.


18th Minute– Spector has hit some good crosses early on. Looks so much better at right back.


16th Minute– The stadium is filling in nicely. Lots of folks were stuck in traffic just before kickoff. Not sure people did a good job of estimating how early to get to the new stadium.

Robinho is doing a good job of floating around and finding gaps.


14th Minute– Robinho has slotted into a central role, where he's looking to deliver some pin-point passes.

Did everyone else enjoy the Robinho-Bornsteinho battle?


12th Minute– Brazil is starting to find a rhythm. Donovan looks sharp early on, but I can't say the same for his teammates.


10th Minute– Pato puts Gonzalez under pressure but can't get his shot on goal. Can't say I've got a lot of faith in Gonzalez being able to stay with any of Brazil's attacking four, though Pato is probably the slowest of them as he recovers from an ankle injury.


8th Minute– Bocanegra appears to be shadowing Pato, leaving Gonzalez in space. Ganso looks like he's waiting for the spot to run into that space. Will the LA defender be up to that task if it comes?

Edu is down after a clash with Lucas, walking off under his own power.


4th Minute– Donovan took a great touch on the Buddle pass to spring himself for that play. Nice start for him.

Brazil has yet to get started.


2nd Minute– Donovan is playing in a bit of an advanced role so he looks like a striker early on. Feilhaber patrols the left, Bedoya the right.

Donovan dribbles into the area and earns a corner. Lobbying for a penalty, but he didn't go down on the challenge.


1st Minute– We are underway.


PRE-GAME– Top match-ups to watch tonight:

Ganso vs. Michael Bradley

Ramires vs. Landon Donovan

Robinho vs. Jonathan Bornstein

Alexandre Pato vs. Omar Gonzalez


PRE-GAME– Brazil trots out the same lineup it showed off at last night's training. The Santos quartet of Robinho, Ganso, Neymar and Andre Santos are joined by World Cup vets Ramires and Dani Alves as well as standout forward Alexandre Pato. Thce centerback tandem of David Luiz and Thiago Silva is imposing.


PRE-GAME– No, that's not the confirmed USA formation, but a projection. We could theoretically see Donovan as a forward, but with Brazil trotting out what should be a 4-2-3-1, I can see Bob Bradley going with a similar formation.

Omar Gonzalez will make his U.S. national team debut tonight. Color me surprised. Given the LA Galaxy's loaded fixture schedule and Gonzalez' inexperience I wouldn't have pegged him for the start, but it should be good to see how he holds up against forwards like Pato and Robinho.

Jonathan Spector gets the nod at right back, likely to help him get a game and possibly catch the eye of scouts. He doesn't seem likely to figure into West Ham's plans at this point.


PRE-GAME- Here are the lineups:











Andre Santos—Thiago———David Luiz—-Dani Alves



  1. In short I will say, we have seen what Bob Bradley can do. Let’s give Klinsmann a shot.

    The longer answer is I think he has certain experience that Bradley does not have. He can talk with our strikers, and say, hey in this certain situation, try to do this, or think about this, because he has been there, and scored at the highest level as a striker. Also I think he would change our style of play, and make it more attacking then defensive with a counter. Don’t under estimate what he did for the German national team, they are still benefiting from the changes he made in 2006. Prior to that the German team was a bunch of aging stars, and he pulled in youth and dumped the older players against the out crys of the German public and some of the federation. They are pretty happy with the results now.

    He knows the US players, check Soccer America, he has been seen scouting the US players. He has also worked as a consultant to MLS. He knew Donovan could do well overseas.

    As far as Bayern Munich goes he did not have the backing of management so that would probably was never really going to work. But they did make it to the European Champions League quarterfinals.

    Overall listen to what we are saying. Well this Brazil team is so good, so we shouldn’t expect to beat them. That mentality has to change if we want to go further, and I don’t think Klinsmann would be ok with that talk either!

  2. why was my comment deleted ives? seriously.

    (SBI-Not sure what comment you’re referring to. The “Brazil schooled USA” comment is there. Didn’t find any others of yours in the deleted section. If one got deleted it was probably due to language. Curse words are automatically blocked.)

  3. Clearly we watched different matches. The US got absolutely swamped on the wings, and for a good portion of the game all Brazil was running free up and down the flanks. Our outside backs provide no threat to attack, so their backs come down the field, and then our midfield gets forced out of place to cope with the pressure on the flanks.

  4. well said Rob. I am admittedly a Spector supporter, and I wait for the day that people will start judging defenders the way they judge the rest of the squad. Spector can play 98% great and 2% poor and get ripped, while a mediocre striker can play crap all day and get one decent run and be hailed as the great next hope.

    I will gladly defend the fact that he has shut down Rooney, Ronaldo, etc, multiple times in the EPL (when playing alongside decent defenders / mids) and been “beaten” by the likes of Elia and Neymar when not surrounded by class defenders/mids).. it makes a huge difference, and until people realize this opinions will not change.

  5. Sorry, pressed Post on accident. If you’re talking about Dolo I agree — he was great in the WC but I think is US time is coming to an end… if you’re talking about spector then I do not understand the statement.

  6. While I agree that Bradley’s selections have been exceedingly questionable, the real reason the team does so poorly is not because of his call-ups, it’s because of his absolute lack of a system and his over-reliance on fitness and defensive “tenacity” to “luck-out” a result.

  7. Yeah, that’s exactly what Bradley is; a box-to-box midfielder. Torres can’t start matches because he can’t deal with the speed of play at the start of the game, he’s said so himself and the Slovenia game showed it. Jones is still getting back in shape and if he does start, it will be next to Bradley and NOT Torres. Deal.

  8. It’s not Brazil’s starting lineup but for goodness sake it’s still Brazil. There was no way in hell we were going to roll over them like Trinidad and Tobago. The USA wasn’t good tonight, but your expectations of this team are way to outlandish.

  9. The USA were getting outnumbered in the central midfield and it resulted in plays like the second goal where Brazil got time and space in the middle of the park with no pressure from either Bradley, Edu, Bocanegra or Gonzalez, at least not early enough anyways. I think we should possibly go with this:







    Defensively, we now have Landon tucked into the middle of the field a bit more to help out Bradley and Edu. In terms of ball handling, even though Bradley wasn’t great tonight, Edu was pretty good, but that wasn’t the main problem. Neither of them could stop the ball from being moved through the middle of the field, so an extra player could really help them out. Offensively, Donovan and Dempsey get the roam of the middle and attacking thirds of the field. Dempsey is allowed to get a bit closer to goal, while Donovan tries to start his runs from midfield and find spaces to go at the defense and provide service for Altidore, Buddle and indeed Dempsey. This is essentially what happened on the goal against Algeria, where Donovan moves around to receive the ball, Altidore and Buddle make runs that stretch the top of the defense, and Dempsey sneaks into the space that is subsequently created from the two strikers’ off-the-ball movements. While Donovan certainly can do well as a second striker and the USA started off well with Landon and Edson combining, asking him to simply stay up there and making him wait for the game to come to him takes a significant chunk out of the USA’s attack. In games where our opponents drop off, Donovan is extremely effective because the game is coming to him more, but in games where the opposition is going to have more possession, Donovan has a tougher time finding the game. Thus, our attack is less threatening. Here, Donovan can find the ball easier, drive attack forward when he gets it, help Bradley and Edu on defense, slip a bit closer to goal to combine with Dempsey, Altidore or Buddle, help Bradley and Edu keep possession, or drift wide. The same can be said of Dempsey essentially. A lot of the USA’s attacks will open up from wider areas, which is why Donovan and Dempsey need that freedom to float wide or pinch into the middle.

    As far as my choice at left fullback, it’s more driven by hoping we see something new than that I think Bornstein is bad, although he was poor tonight if you ask me. I bring Cherundolo in over Spector because we need two fullbacks with some pace that are unafraid to get forward because it double occupies the oppositions flanks, taking a bit of pressure off the USA’s defense and taking advantage of the wealth of space that Dempsey and Donovan give the fullbacks to get forward. It would also stretch the other team so that Donovan and Dempsey have some more space in the middle.

    Also, I think the team was physically tired and mentally a bit confused because of the coaching situation.

  10. Making it difficult for MLS players to go abroad clearly slows progress for the USMNT as a whole.
    Even an established player like Donovan would do more for US soccer by playing in the EPL. But instead the USSF would rather him be a cash cow here in the states. Being more worried about a 3rd tier league than the National Team is a joke.

  11. Positives:

    *We can attract 70K for a Tuesday soccer match in Jersey.


    *Spectors Crossing

    *Sacha’s service


    *Spectors Defense, Bornsteins crossing, Bedoya’s crossing.

    *Central Defense Lead Feet

    *Sacha’s linking

    *Lack of Hold up Play

    *could go on and on

    If Donovan stays up or gets the penalty at 2 min, is this a different game? Probably not, but would have been fun to see.

  12. What’s amazing is how easily the Brazil players gelled as a team for guys who haven’t played together before. By contrast, the U.S. players, who have played together extensively, showed little chemistry. There’s a lot of focus on individual performances, but weak passing is the U.S. team’s single biggest deficiency.

    Without crisp, accurate passing, there’s no possession and no ability to set up quality chances. U.S. is especially weak at making the kind of short, accurate passes in tight spaces needed to score goals. Brazil put on a clinic in that regard. But that’s not something that can be fixed as easily as swapping out one player for another.


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