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USMNT handed humbling defeat by Brazil in final friendly before CONCACAF Cup

Neymar Brazil USMNT 43

photo by Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports


FOXBORO, Mass. — It was easy to see that the U.S. Men’s National Team was overmatched in the first half. It was made abundantly clear in the second.

The U.S. was handed a humbling 4-1 defeat in its final match before next month’s CONCACAF Cup, as Brazil cruised to victory at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday night. Hulk scored early for the dominant Brazilians, and Neymar came off the bench at halftime to bag a brace that put an emphatic exclamation point on the result.

Danny Williams netted the lone goal for the Americans in the 91st minute with a rocket from distance.

The loss was the Americans’ worst since suffering a 4-1 drubbing to the Republic of Ireland in a friendly in 2014, and it leaves U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann with plenty to consider ahead of the Oct. 10 match with Mexico that will decide who reaches the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Brazil came out sharp from the get-go in a match played in front of 29,300 fans, and it took the South American powerhouse just nine minutes to score the opening goal.

After U.S. midfielder DeAndre Yedlin hit an ill-advised back pass, Willian raced down the right flank and hit a cross that smacked off the crossbar. Hulk pounced on the loose ball in the penalty area and cut back on his right foot before firing a laser into the back of the net.

The Americans, who were playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, struggled to muster up much of a response in a subpar first half. The U.S. was so ineffective, in fact, that Klinsmann took off Alejandro Bedoya in the 36th minute and replaced him with Williams.

Brazil’s star-studded roster put the American defense on its heels for much of the opening stanza, but the makeshift U.S. back line limited the visitors to just one goal before halftime.

Things changed for the worse after the break.

Brazil made it 2-0 in the 51st minute off a Neymar penalty kick. The Brazilian attacker drew a foul from Geoff Cameron in the box after latching onto a diagonal ball from David Luiz, and he hit the ensuing attempt from 12 yards just past goalkeeper Brad Guzan’s fingertips. The finish proved to be the winner.

Rafinha compounded the Americans’ misery in the 65th minute. A lightning-quick counterattack ended with the Brazilian substitute pulling off some magic on the ball before slotting a shot home past Tim Ream and Guzan.

Neymar tallied his second of the night two minutes later, coolly finishing through traffic with a slotted effort.

Williams pulled back a consolation goal for the U.S. and spoiled the Brazilian shutout by hitting a rocket from distance. The 91st-minute strike did little to ease the Americans’ pain and frustration, though.

The U.S. will now return to their clubs before shifting focus to next month’s important meeting with Mexico at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.


What did you think of the USMNT’s 4-1 loss to Brazil? Surprised by the lopsided scoreline? Did any American impress you? Worried about the state of the team ahead of the Mexico showdown?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Yet another embarrassing performance. Don’t worry JK fanboys this one comes with a built-in excuse: “it’s Brazil, what do you expect?” I don’t expect us to beat Brazil, even at home, but I expect a lot better performance than that.

    And I actually liked the lineup, other than having Bedoya as a DM and I would’ve started Omar instead of Alvarado. Looks like I was wrong. But I’m allowed to be wrong because I’m just a fan. JK can only get it wrong so many times before he has to go – surely we’ve reached that point no? I get firing him before Mexico is not ideal but he has to go if we lose to Mexico.

    • Then again I’m only a clueless American soccer fan. Maybe yesterday’s performance was actually awesome and I’m just too dumb to realize it. Luckily we have a resident genius here in JK who will enlighten us.

      • slowleft… what is more concerning is that it is the same 4-1 score against brazil that it was last time the US played them… that is not improvement…. But how much of that is not having your full team fit? I mean… bottom line is that we don’t have the depth that Brazil have.

  2. WTF Jozy? Why don’t you put your hand over your heart when the National Anthem plays? If you don’t bleed red, white & blue, then we don’t need your lack of scoring….

  3. … This reminds me of 1997 – 1998. We had “good” players with experience from a “fair 1994”, and Copa America, the following year, them it all went south, and WE have yet to recover … san John Harker’s reported indiscretion, of course.

    JK is too “foreign centrist”. He has no belief in American players, except Morris, nor in the system he has created. If he doesn’t believe in the system he has had a hand in creating, then how can he head it… “El Loco” Bielsa is available, to my knowledge, and I think WE need the change.

    Sunil, if you read this, please don’t knee jerk the decision, but make one … and more importantly … MOVE ON. The experiment has failed, IMHO, and it’s time to stop the insanity. Please try a different path… MOVE ON, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I have no idea what system Klinsmann has created. The only system I’ve seen from JK is to play players out of position and then blame them for poor performances.

    • Fine make the change, but Bielsa is 10x crazier than Klinsmann. He man-marks all over the field and is therefor even more fitness oriented. He’ll experiment as much or more with his lineup because he demands a lot of his players, personalities and individuals are not necessarily sacred to him. Just sayin, know what you’re getting into. Change for change’s sake is rather dangerous.

      No belief in American players? All his players are American !

      But every single prominent foreign coach is going to privilege players competing at the highest level. What JK said last night is true and was echoed by Bedoya – Brazilian players were thinking faster, playing at champion’s league pace. We couldn’t keep up, we don’t know that level. No one on our team plays champions league excepting, eventually, Fabian Johnson. They brought on subs from Barça, PSG, etc; we put on a struggling NYCFC guy and a Stanford player, 2nd division German player, 2nd division English lifer.. They are not at better clubs for a reason.

      That said it is normal to blame the coach and if he loses to Mex. I believe he will be gone. It may be the right time to make a change, but don’t think we are instantly going to get better. Not until our top players get back to the highest club levels.

  4. After we lose to Mexico in October (and I see nothing to suggest we won’t) Sunil needs to bring back Arena. Klinsi has run out of ideas and is failing to reach his stated goals.

    • I think I would second that idea. Klinsmann is so full of garbage and will come up with a new round of excuses today or tomorrow as to why his hand picked team fails most of the time now. Think about it, Mexico had Argentina down 2-0 and ended up tied. How does he think this crew can possibly beat Mexico next month when they have failed at the Gold Cup, go lucky vs Peru and failed big time against Brazil? Logic says we will not beat Mexico.

      Klinsmann is not capable of changing. He is so sure that he knows all, it is not possible that he is wrong. Well let me tell you, He was wrong on so many player decisions last night it isn’t funny.

      I didnt like Arena at the end of his time BUT he was a lot better than what we have now. Demote JK to something that will insult him to the point that he quits. Maybe Martin Vasquez assistant in scouting? He has to get off the bench and we have to start from the ground up with a rebuild

      PS – many have talked about the lack of drive or our trademark American hustle. There is a reason for this. Too many of these guys may qualify to wear the jersey but they’re not from here and therefore dont have that drive. This is simply a career move for far too many

  5. I will take JK, all his influence over the players not to have a bad game, and his style vs. our past coaches, their influence over the players not to have a bad game, and bunker crappie defensive only soccer that hopes for one counter attack which we can’t finish the shot. How about all your dream players never getting called in because we used the same old players ever time? Do you not remember how pathetic it used to be to watch US game? You forget the schedule that used to be in place for insured wins, not all. At least now you sit down with some sort of hope against a major team. We just beat two major teams IN Europe, bueller, bueller?

    • Yay we won two friendlies on the road and then lost to Jamaica in a game that matters at home. Also Arena and Bradley’s teams were never out shot by such a large margin in either the GC or WC, but hey don’t let facts get in your way.

      • Ah…yes they were. JK makes mistakes, but to say USMNT were never dominated or out shot under Arena or Bradley is just really foolish or spoken by someone is ignorant of the past.

    • Just this week, Jonathan Wilson, author of The Inverted Pyramid, was opining on Football Weekly about how bad most international soccer is. (Bad in the sense of not technically or tactically sophisticated and not attack minded) In particular, Wilson made the point that nearly all (he said 90 percent) of national team coaches focus heavily on organizing the defense, because their teams train only for short periods and no one wants to be embarrassed by a 6-0 shellacking.
      Anyone who has coached can appreciate the sense of what Wilson was saying. You have to start with stopping the other team from scoring. Once you have established that, you can move on. If you have lots of practice time, eventually you will end up spending much more time on attacking. And the same goes for your starting eleven, you have to experiment and work new players in, but you still need a core of 6-8 players that you can count on in nearly every game.
      I read all the whining about Bradley’s and Arena’s approach as the work of fans (derived from fanatics), people who like to watch soccer, but don’t really understand how games are won and lost.
      And no I enjoyed watching Bradley’s teams because he was making the most of what he had to work with and he usually gave his team a chance to win.

    • I agree that both Arena and Bradley got the most out of the talent available. JK has seemed to be all over the place trying to find better players and so far has mostly not been able to do so.

      Bradley and Arena used to talk by phone at least weekly with the youth national team coaches so they could all agree on how to make progress. Part of the result of that was the place more emphasis on more training relative to game time with fewer, but more consequential and difficult games in the best of the youth leagues. That message, of course, took time to filter down but it was happening. JK’s approach seems to be more to simply troll for better players and express himself about “more attacking soccer”, “being nastier”, or “keeping the ball better”, things that in and of themselves are not such bad ideas, but he seems to do it without the give and take that is required to push an entire nation along.

      Both Bradley and Arena saw things as being a process and were well-aware that it would take time. JK speaks as if simply saying what he wants will make it so.


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