Thoughts on USA vs. Brazil

Normally in a US-Brazil match up we would be the team with something to prove. But in a bizarre twist the shoe was on the other foot last night in New York. With a new manager and an entirely new young squad, Brazil – in their first game after their early exit from the World Cup – wanted to impress. For the US, they had already proven themselves to the world and to their country a month earlier on the world’s stage. A good performance would be a nice bonus, but as the heat set in and Brazil got to work, the drive to impress for the US just wasn’t there. And to challenge Brazil that has to be there.

Kudos to Bob Bradley for picking a solid squad yet finding a way to include some young players. The inclusion of Alejandro Bedoya and Omar Gonzalez, as well as giving Edson Buddle the start made this an interesting team to observe. But frankly the US was rusty and Brazil, well they don’t get rusty, and looked much fresher having not played through a grueling World Cup.

The question of whether this is Bob Bradley’s last match hung over the match. It looks as though it may very well be. The US didn’t win one for the gipper, but after a good run and a solid cycle Bradley really didn’t need a symbolic send off. His status as a solid steward of the USA has already been assured.

Here are some other thoughts:

Brazil are better than us – So what. This wasn’t going to be the game in which the US slayed the giants. It was too hot, the players were too rusty and out of shape, and the intensity needed for 90 minutes of total focus wasn’t ever going to be there. That isn’t the coach’s fault, it is just the reality of a game a month after the World Cup.

Brazil’s future is bright.
This is stating the obvious. Young talent was every where on the field and one has to think that if Dunga hadn’t been so conservative in his approach, Brazil would have been there at the end against Spain.

Fitness and work ethic remain critical for the US. In the first 20 minutes the US played Brazil pretty much level. But after Brazil scored the US seemingly lost all their energy and looked like an exhausted team throughout the match. Brazil of course has something to do with that. Their possession football tires out opponents, which combined with a very direct attacking approach make them habitually the best team in the world. Chasing Brazil around wore the US down and led to some exceptionally shocking marking. When the US did get the ball their tired rusty legs often played lazy balls or suffered from poor touches. All this tells us is that we have a long way to go on the technical side and that we will continue to rely on our stamina and work ethic to challenge top teams.

Jonathan Bornstein remains not good enough.
His positioning is just really poor. He gets tucked in so far into the midfield that he leaves acres – repeat acres – of space out wide for wing players to marraud forward. He was at fault on the first goal, which was a well played ball in, but he reacted poorly and didn’t even get a nudge on Neymar as he headed it home. Also his touch and passing just don’t provide anything and when put under pressure his instinct is to boot the ball out of bounds.

Omar Gonzalez has potential but not there yet. He got turned around quite a bit and lost his man on the second goal. Overall however, he looked like he belonged and at 21 definitely has the potential to become a fixture in the US backline.

Playing 4-4-2 against Brazil’s 4-2-3-1 is brutal. Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley I thought did well in the first 20 min in to a certain degree controlling the center of the field. But out manned and having to chase there are obvious limits. Frankly they had no chance. 3 against 2 is not fair and 3 against 2 when those three are Brazilian (okay one of them is Lucas) is really unfair. This is why the 4-4-2 is increasingly out of style and frankly Bob’s attachment to the formation looks a little out of date.

Of the players trying to impress potential clubs – none did poorly, but none did great. Ally McCoist, an Assistant at Rangers, was there to check out Benny Feilhaber and Alejandro Bedoya and I think overall he saw more good than bad. These guys can play, although both have limitations. Bedoya is young and a bit green, Feilhaber has great technique and vision, but his craftiness can some times lead to turnovers. Jozy Altidore showed his pace and strength but looked rusty as his technique let him down on occasion. Michael Bradley worked tirelessly but his passing suffered as the match went on and exhaustion took hold.


One Response

  1. Greetings,

    My name is Fred Norfleet, owner of FBN ITPro World Business Network. I would respectfully request for you to please tell all of your members to register their business in our free world business network at

    We support international trade and will promote international business, products and services here in the USA and worldwide. Our network is Absolutely Free to join and use.

    Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: