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USMNT “ready” for Copa America following impressive performance vs. Brazil

The U.S. men’s national team were under major pressure to deliver a bounce-back performance against Brazil on Wednesday night and Gregg Berhalter’s squad rose to the occasion against the No. 5-ranked side in the world.

A first-ever draw between the two countries ended 1-1 at Camping World Stadium with the Americans delivering one of their better overall performances during the Berhalter-era. Defensively, the USMNT held their own against some of the top international attackers while offensively they asked plenty of questions out of the Brazilian backline.

Although the match ended as a draw, it certainly felt like a victory for the USMNT only four days after losing 5-1 to Colombia.

“We asked for teamwork and intensity,” Berhalter said postmatch to reporters. “The way we framed it is two things that are totally in their control. It doesn’t matter about the opponent, it doesn’t matter about the field, the fans or anything. That’s the type of effort that we saw today. The boys certainly did really well on that and that was good. We feel like we made a little step.”

“It’s not a huge step, but it’s a little step to be able to play against an amazingly talented Brazil team and bend but not break,” Berhalter added. “And give them problems as well, push them as well. So for us, looking at it, we think it’s a good end to a preparation camp when we’re ready for Copa.”

The USMNT overcame a rough start by battling back to earn a share of the spoils on home soil. Matt Turner’s poor clearance off a goal kick led to Rodrygo’s opening goal of the night, but Christian Pulisic’s clinical free kick finish would tie the match before halftime.

Yunus Musah rattled the crossbar earlier in the match while both Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson were denied potential game-winning tallies by Liverpool veteran Alisson.

Turner rallied from a frustrating opening 20 minutes by finishing the match with 11 total saves. He denied both Real Madrid duo Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior in the second half, helping keep the score level for the remainder of the match.

The USMNT could’ve very well have lost Wednesday’s match by a few goals, but knew defensive unity was needed to keep the Brazilians at bay.

“We obviously wanted to put a lot right we did wrong the other night and we knew that it was going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of intensity, and just sticking together,” veteran defender Tim Ream told TNT’s postgame show.

“That was the big message, stick together and come with intensity; for the majority of that game, I think we did that,” he added. “Obviously we had to show a different side, defending a little bit more than we’d like. But that’s a world-class team, and to come away with building on from the very first minute and creating a lot of chances ourselves, overall, I think we can be pretty happy.”

Tyler Adams, Aaronson, and Shaq Moore all earned their first minutes of the June window, featuring as second-half substitutes in the match. Yunus Musah and Ricardo Pepi, who featured off the bench against Colombia, both started the match and earned vital playing time of their own.

Berhalter purposedly wanted to get several players minutes from the match, knowing that he will need everyone ready to go for the start of the Copa America group stage in 10 days’ time.

“We wanted to purposely get minutes for some guys,” Berhalter said. “You know, you just with all the guys want to get a shift because we’re going to be in the couple of Americans. So, it was designed for that. And Rico’s [Pepi] had. A tough year. You know, he hasn’t gotten it not too often.”

The USMNT will now prepare for their group stage opener against Bolivia on June 23 before additional matches against Panama and Uruguay. A June window which originally started with worry now looks a lot more confident heading into a major competition.

Comments

  1. It was a better performance against Brazil not exactly impressive. Brazil could and probably should have had at least two more goals in this game. Brazil out shot the US 25-12 and shots on target was Brazil 12 US 7. Brazil possession 61 percent US 39 percent. All the stats line up that Brazil still dominated the game for long stretches. Still doesn’t say to me that we can hang with the best.

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  2. Fabrizio Romano reporting Wes to Aston Villa as part of the Douglas Luiz deal is going to happen. Wes still to work his contract with Villa but the club agreements are done. Wes has looked a little off this week perhaps this will help him settle a little.

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      • I’m saying I watched the Brazil game without sound and didn’t even realize he was on the field for 30 min and can’t remember a single moment he stood out the whole 63 min he played.

    • He did a lot of defensive work, which then left him pretty disconnected from the attackers when we won the ball back.

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    • Close to the whole team starting with tactics was garbage vs Colombia in all aspects. It can be noted we were in the match and things turned completely went to sheet after he left. But let’s talk Brazil match, Helps to evaluate him in the context of his assigned role and the opponent. Not a flashy performance, but a very hard-nosed, hard working solid match with huge growth in aspects of his game he’s been criticized in. He’s been playing as a deep lying midfielder and did that well. He worked his a$$ of offering Scally a ton of defensive support, made several key defensive stops in dangerous areas, picked up the ball in tight spaces in our defensive end and got us out of trouble against a pressing Brazil more than a few times. Call me nuts- he gets a 7.5 from me.

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      • I would not go that far but he did put in a good shift in that assigned role. But I’m not sure why he is in that role, to begin with, and McKinney is more up the field. GB must have his reasons. Unlike his critics, I am sure there is a solid reason behind his thinking. That said, I don’t know what Gio brings to this role. I much prefer Jonny who’s got better positioning awareness for a defensive role. And Musah is more skilled in tight spaces and progressing out of traffic.

      • jayam. We agree on not liking our most creative player to be dropped that deep nulfied- taken out of the attack. I hated it vs Mexico… vs. Brazil it is a little more justifiable, but I’d rather see Weston assume that role against this kind of opponent. But that was what he was asked to do and I thought he did it well.

    • Juventus and AC Milan had been rumored for weeks, but it had looked like Terzic had weathered the storm with the CL run.

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  3. Okay Ralphinha got them neat straight back cornrow with a nice crispy lineup okay 👌👍. Glad we got a positive result. Glad we didn’t play Bunker Ball 🧱 ⚽

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  4. Just some food for thought: these are the market values of the current rosters of the national teams participating in this year’s Copa:

    1. Brazil: €1.26 billion
    2. Argentina: €856 million
    3. Uruguay: €482.1 million
    4. United States: €347.3 million
    5. Colombia: €287.4 million
    6. Ecuador: €229.25 million
    7. Mexico: €195.8 million
    8. Canada: €176.85 million
    9. Paraguay: €133.75 million
    10. Jamaica: €93.95 million
    11. Chile: €82.9 million
    12. Venezuela: €68.4 million
    13. Peru: €34.18 million
    14. Panama: €27.78 million
    15. Costa Rica: €21.33 million
    16. Bolivia: €16.18 million

    We wound up in a group with the #14 and #16 teams in the tournament if you’re looking at it from a Soccernomics perspective. Of course, we also drew #3 Uruguay too and will almost certainly be playing one of the two teams we just faced in the first knockout round if we do what’s expected and get out of our group, and most likely the other team we just faced in the semis if we spring an upset in the quarters.

    And then of course, assuming we’re lucky enough to roll boxcars and advance to the finals, we’ll almost certainly draw Argentina.

    So we got lucky at the front end…and an absolutely brutal draw in the knockouts. FWIW.

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    • Thx for posting, super interesting. I was just thinking the copa is pretty top heavy, hard to see a team below your top 6 making a deep run. But you never know in a tournament, almost always 1 or 2 of the favorites bomb out early, that makes it hard to predict the knockouts, and a fools errand to prepare for any specific opponent beyond the group stage. Also have to opine about how good Colombia looked in comparison to Brazil, quick check showed Colombia has beaten both Spain and Germany (and Mex fwiw) in friendlies and Brazil in WCQ in the last year. Thinking Colombia should be next to Argentina as faves to win the copa.

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      • “Also have to opine about how good Colombia looked in comparison to Brazil,”

        Colombia’s manager has been in place since 2022 and they have been basically nicely rounding into form.

        Brazil has been in transition since 2022 when Tite left and they have not gotten their act together just yet. Junior has been in charge since January , 2024.

        Still, if the two meet in Copa America it should be very interesting.

    • The values of the players on a team may not be definitive, but it certainly is indicative; thanks for posting. It indicates to me that we should be competitive with both Uruguay and Colombia. I argued before that the main problems in the Colombia game were intensity, concentration, and poor team work. I will give kudos to Berhalter for identifying the main problem with the Colombia game. I thought the comment by Ream was not the best–we had to play more defense than we wanted to. I have bad news for him. For the team to be successful, playing defense is just as important as playing offense and defense is not something that should be overlooked and offense shouldn’t be preferred.

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  5. Anything less than a semi-final is a failure. For all its promise in some games, Berhalter’s squad has yet to prove it can beat good teams in a knockout round. Go USA.

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    • I don’t agree. If they get knocked out by either Colombia or Brazil at the QF stage, but they make it a game I think for me I will be fine. To many vereables to say that they have to make it to the Semis.

      But Paraguay and Costa Rica should be taken lightly in that group. The Ticos are known for springing surprises and Paraguay know how to play both Colombia and Brazil.

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      • @2tone – making our way out of group play is something we’ve done time and time again. Sorry it’s not good enough anymore especially on home soil.
        Or else we just admit that we are a team whose only aspiration is to squeak out of the group and that we have made no progress as a soccer nation since 1994 (when we also made it out of the group and lost a tight one to Brazil in knockouts).
        We need to stop being content with mediocrity and start putting higher ambitions and pressure on this group – how many billions invested in soccer in the US program and we’re happy to make it to the knockouts and lose to the first decent team we face? Come on we have to expect more!

      • 2tone,

        “Colombia or Brazil at the QF stage, but they make it a game I think for me I will be fine. To many vereables to say that they have to make it to the Semis.”

        You just saw what they can do if everyone, Gregg and his charges, focus and put their minds to it.

        If, as they say they want to, they are to win this thing , then they will have to do that and do it BETTER, for 7 games once the tournament starts.

        They showed that they can be grown up. It’s time the fans demand that they play grown up.

        It’s time for Gregg and his guys and the fans to stop being so soft and fuzzy, stop playing ” pretty good FOR AMERICANS” and just go out their and win something. It’s taken them long enough. People have been patient. No time like the present. Many if not most of our guys need to prove to their clubs that they are better than they have been.

        Winning tournaments is something some teams just have to learn how to do. Now is as good a time as any for these guys, all of them, Gregg and the players to begin.

        It’s taken them long enough.

      • I agree. People need to be realistic. Argentina is the reigning world champion and Brazil has more world championships than any other nation. We are capable of beating any other team in the field, but making a good showing is the best we can hope for when playing either Brazil or Argentina. We would have to be somewhat lucky to beat either of those teams.

      • Gary Page

        “I agree. People need to be realistic.”
        Fans can be . But players need to aim as high as they can.

        ” Argentina is the reigning world champion and Brazil has more world championships than any other nation.”
        Yeah? So what?

        ” We are capable of beating any other team in the field, but making a good showing is the best we can hope for when playing either Brazil or Argentina.”

        That’s untrue. We could have beaten Brazil last night.

        ” We would have to be somewhat lucky to beat either of those teams.”

        So?? You’ll never be lucky if you don’t push for it.

        It doesn’t matter what you or the fans think . You can be as realistic as you like.

        But the collective that makes up the USMNT? The players and coaching staff? They all have to believe they can beat Argentina and Brazil because if they don’t they never will. They have absolutely nothing to lose by going after Argentina and Brazil. No one thinks they can beat them anyway.

        And if they don’t go after them with everything they have, then they might as well forfeit the games and have have LOSER tattooed on their foreheads.

    • well we’ve only been in ONE major tournament under his regime. The Netherlands game could’ve been different if Pulisic scores one v one with the keeper, something he also failed to do last night, so I don’t think pointing that out really means anything!

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      • “well we’ve only been in ONE major tournament under his regime.”

        Are you supposed to get one for practice?

        ” The Netherlands game could’ve been different if Pulisic scores one v one with the keeper,”

        If you really believe that then there’s nothing to say.

      • @Vacqui, you should know that my initial response was to @Mat suggesting that since we haven’t beaten anyone in a knockout round game yet we shouldn’t talk positively about the team. Again, weve only has ONE crack it so I don’t think one game is enough of a sample size to suggest otherwise. And I stand by the fact that if Pulisic scores against the Netherlands the game “could” have been different, as the Netherlands would have had to chase the game being a goal down which may have opened things up to more of a transition game, which we’re more adept at

      • Ronnie,

        “@Vacqui, you should know that my initial response was to @Mat suggesting that since we haven’t beaten anyone in a knockout round game yet we shouldn’t talk positively about the team.”

        He did not say that.
        He said “Come on we have to expect more!”
        I don’t know about the fans but the players need to expect more from themselves. Other wise, they will always be a bunch of softee putzes.

        Your expectations are your own but Group C is set up for the USMNT to advance. If they get 6 points from Bolivia and Panama, and they should, then when they play Uruguay, advancement will be assured regardless of the result. Their motivation will be a question of who they want to meet in the next round, either Colombia or Brazil. Neither game will be easy but the USMNT will have a chance, which is all you can ask for in any tournament.

        “And I stand by the fact that if Pulisic scores against the Netherlands the game “could” have been different, ”
        Three different numbers and I would have won the Powerball.

        I’m big on facts. The fact is CP did not score.

        That’s the difference between winners and losers. Winners actually score goals. Losers would have or could have scored a goal.

        “as the Netherlands would have had to chase the game being a goal down which may have opened things up to more of a transition game, which we’re more adept at ”

        “adept” and USMNT do not belong in the same sentence. This team is not particularly adept at anything.

        I don’t believe that there was any way that the Netherlands was losing that game to Gregg. Gregg took that team as far as it was going to go. The Netherlands was the end of the line.

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