Photo by Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
By DAN KARELL
The Under-23 Men’s National Team entered the field of play at the Estadio Mane Garrincha in Brasilia with high hopes and expectations.
Within five minutes, those were dashed.
A heavy touch from U.S. U-23 goalkeeper Cody Cropper gave Brazil U-23 forward Luan a chance for a easy tap-in, which he did after poking the ball past Cropper to himself before touching it in on the way to a 3-0 Brazil victory over the USA. Douglas Coutinho and Vinicius Araujo each scored in the second half to propel Brazil to victory.
It was a tough evening for the U.S. in front of a crowd of more than 10,000 that came out to see Brazil’s future stars of the Selecao. Following his early gaffe, Cropper picked himself up and made a number of saves in both halves against Brazil’s dangerous attackers.
The USA’s best chance of the game came in the 39th minute from Rubio Rubin, who put in arguably the best performance for his side. Rubin dribbled down to the end line and fizzed in a sharp cross right to the feet of Jordan Morris, who was unable to get enough power behind his attempt, putting the ball straight into Brazil U-23 goalkeeper Andrey’s midriff.
In the second half, Brazil took a 2-0 lead as Araujo took on substitute Matt Miazga, pulled him out wide, and sent in a quick cross to the middle, where Coutinho headed home past a helpless Cropper. Brazil added a third late when Fred combined well in midfield and fed Araujo in between the U.S. centerbacks, Miazga and Shane O’Neill, leaving Araujo one-on-one with Cropper.
Araujo took a touch and side-footed home to the delight of the home faithful.
Here’s a look at the U.S. U-23 starting lineup:
USA: Cody Cropper; Oscar Sorto, Cameron Carter-Vickers (61′ Matt Miazga), Shane O’Neill, Juan Pablo Ocegueda; Rubio Rubin, Benji Joya (83′ Marlon Hairston), Emerson Hyndman (61′ Dennis Flores), Dillon Serna; Mario Rodriguez (71′ Ben Spencer), Jordan Morris (83′ Alonso Hernandez)
Substitutes Not Used: Charlie Horton, Christian Dean, Eric Miller, William Packwood, Esteban Rodriguez, Sean Okoli
Head coach: Tab Ramos
What do you think of this result? Which players stood out to you? Did you expect the U.S. to perform better?
Share your thoughts below.