Brazil outclasses Americans for 4-1 victory before 67,619.
By Robert Wagman
LANDOVER, Md. (Thursday, May 31, 2012) -- The United States men were soundly beaten 4-1 by a Brazilian squad that might have been younger, but was both much quicker and more physical then the Americans at FedEx Field last night in front of a raucous crowd of 67,619.
The crowd seemed evenly divided between the two sides.
plus for the U.S. was its midfield, where Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu all worked very hard and constantly broke up Brazilian attempts to play the ball through the middle, keeping star striker Neymar from breaking loose.
The negative was the American defense that was, at times, too slow and, at other times, seemingly confused.
Saturday's 5-1 victory over Scotland was made easier by the amount of room the Scots gave the U.S. to operate. Last night, Brazil gave the Americans no room at all. Every time a U.S. player tried to attack, he was immediately marked, sometimes by multiple defenders.
Brazil's first goal seemed gifted, a penalty kick following a hand-ball call by Costa Rican referee Jeffrey Calderon against U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu in the 12th minute. It looked as if the ball played Onyewu as he had his arms to his side.
Fourteen minutes later, Brazil scored off a corner kick when Thiago Silva's marker, Jones, was picked off and no one moved quickly enough to pick him up, giving him a clear header for a 2-0 lead.
The U.S. seemed to pull back into the match when Gomez narrowed the deficit to 2-1 with a leaning header after midfielder Michael Bradley slipped a pass to defender Fabian Johnson, whose cross deflected off a defender to Gomez.
"From a performance point of view, I think we saw many good elements, many good things," U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann said of his squad. "I think the team reacted very well. They fought themselves back into the game. We had enough chances to score a second one and get back in the game. We can take a lot of lessons out of that game. We proved to them that we can play with them, but we have to improve, absolutely."
Brazil went ahead 3-1 when Real Madrid's Marcelo took a pass and neither Onyewu nor Carlos Bocanegra moved to cover him in the 52nd minute.. The fourth Brazilian goal, by substitute Alexandre Pato, in the final minutes, was one timed from the far side after Pato beat an attempted offside trap in the 87th minute. .
Left-side defender Marcelo, at 24, is one of the three over-age players on what is essentially the team Brazil will take this summer to the Olympics, which is mostly an under-23 event. He was a handful for the Americans tonight and moved up and down the left wing seemingly at will, scoring once and assisting on the final goal.
Brazil goalkeeper Rafael Cabral, making his first international start, had a fine night, culminating in a double save in the 76th minute, first stopping striker Herculez Gomez with his left hand, then kicking away Jones' rebound effort.
The Brazilian players were trying to impress coach Mano Menezes so he will include them on his Olympic squad. They played very physically and the only U.S. players who seemed willing to match them physically were Jones and midfielder Landon Donovan.
In the 60th minute, Jones got tired of having his ankles clipped and wiped out Neymar in front of the Brazilian bench with the kind of tackle he has become rather infamous for in the German Bundesliga.
The U.S. was never really in the match after the early penalty kick. One would have to say that the Americans were not embarrassed, but were handled rather easily by the much quicker and seemingly more motivated visitors.
Klinsmann essentially threw in the towel when, trailing 3-1, he began substituting in the 70th minute.
U.S. Player Ratings
Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 6: Let down by his defense often and was not at fault on any of the goals.
Defender Fabian Johnson - 5.5: Assisted on the U.S. goal. Got forward often, but then had trouble scrambling back., but he was good enough to look like he has claimed the left-back spot for now.
Defender Oguchi Onyewu - 4: He just didn't have a good night. He was too slow most of the time and seemed to have communication problems with the rest of the back-line.
Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 5: He was strong early, but seemed to tire as the match went on. Covered quite a bit of ground in the middle, but was a step or two slow on two of the Brazil goals.
Defender Steve Cherundolo - 5.5: Was the best on the back-line, having to contend with Marcelo surging forward. He was also able to get forward, but to little avail.
Midfielder Maurice Edu - 5.5: Big effort defensively, but he was back on his heels and contributed little to the attack.
Midfielder Michael Bradley - 5.5: Likewise, made a big effort defensively, but was not much offensively. He did hold the ball well, at times, but his final pass was usually picked off.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones - 6: He was the best two-way U.S. player, making defensive stops and accurate passes on attack. He has to hold his temper better in check.
Midfielder Jose Torres - 4: Pretty much a non-factor against the more physical Brazilians.
Forward Landon Donovan - 5.5: No one can fault his effort, but he was held closely in check by the Brazilians. Seemed to become frustrated as the night wore on.
Forward Herculez Gomez - 6.5: The most dangerous American. Worked very hard, but often did not see the ball after good runs.
Midfielder Clint Dempsey (56th minute for Torres) - 6: Did not move around very well, apparently still bothered by groin strain. He had a couple of decent chances, but the effort did not seem to be there.
Forward Terrence Boyd (73rd minute for Edu) - 5: Probably did not play long enough to make an impression. Had one very good chance thwarted by a good save.
Defender Michael Parkhurst (73rd minute for Cherundolo) - 4: He had some difficulty with the speed that even the tiring Brazilians were able to generate.
Defender Edgar Castillo (80th minute for Johnson) - 4: Completely lost contact with Pato on the final goal in the only play in which much was asked of him.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman (80th minute for Jones) - 4: Was not a factor.
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Herculez Gomez.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
Do you have a comment on this story or something to say about soccer in general? Send us a letter.