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Global May 31, 2012

U.S. Men’s National Team falls 4-1 to Brazil at FedExField in Landover, Md. [Video Highlights]

The U.S. Men’s National Team saw its five-game winning streak dating back to last year come to a halt as it fell to five-time FIFA World Cup champion Brazil 4-1 on Wednesday in an international friendly that drew 67,619 spectators to FedExField. The attendance set a record for a U.S. game in the D.C. area.

Neymar led the way for Brazil with a goal and two assists, opening the scoring with a penalty kick in the 12th minute. A goal by Thiago Silva later in the first half looked to put Brazil in a commanding lead, but U.S. forward Herculez Gomez provided the team’s lone goal in the 45th minute to cut Brazil’s lead to 2-1.

The U.S. had its chances in the second half, including a strike that struck the crossbar, but Brazil was able to improve their record to 16-1-0 against the U.S. all-time with two goals in the second half by Marcelo and Alexandre Pato. The U.S. is now 15-33-7 against top-10 FIFA-ranked teams since the rankings began in August of 1993.

The U.S. is in the midst of a five-game stretch in 18 days in what head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is approaching as a tournament with 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying on the horizon. The U.S. next faces Canada at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 3, at BMO Field in Toronto. The match will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network and Univision Deportes Network.

“From a performance point of view, I think we saw many good elements, many good things,” Klinsmann said of the Brazil match. “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. Congratulations to Brazil on their win.”

The U.S. caught a tough break against Brazil in the 10th minute when center back Oguchi Onyewu, in his first start of the year, was called for a handball in the box by referee Jeffrey Calderon of Costa Rica. Brazil’s Leandro Damiao took a shot at the goal from outside the box, and the ball struck a portion of Onyewu’s left arm and his chest.

The tough-luck moment led to Neymar taking the subsequent penalty kick, which he buried inside the right post for a 1-0 lead. Neymar had a long approach and U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard bounced from side to side. However, Howard guessed incorrectly to his right and Brazil took the early advantage.

Howard came up big for the U.S. in the 18th minute when Damiao got behind the U.S. defense and had a one-on-one against the goalkeeper. Damiao attempted a low shot to the right and Howard made a clutch foot save to keep the match within reach in the early stages.

The U.S. fell in a deeper hole when Brazil capitalized on a 26th-minute set piece opportunity as Brazil captain Thiago Silva scored his first international goal to double the advantage. Neymar took the corner kick from the left side and connected with Silva, who found some space in between the U.S. markers.

Brazil maintained the bulk of the possession throughout the first 45 minutes and played some suffocating defense when the U.S. tried to counter attack. Nonetheless the USA found a much-needed spark as the first half was coming to a close.

Gomez headed home his third career goal and first of the year in the 45th minute off a cross from Fabian Johnson. Michael Bradley controlled the ball in the middle and slipped a beautiful ball in behind the Brazilian defense, finding Johnson surging into the left side of the area. His cross from near the end line was deflected into the path of Gomez, who headed the ball into the left side of the frame to cut Brazil’s lead to 2-1 going into the half. It was Johnson’s first international assist.

The United States tried to maintain the positive vibe from the first half, but Brazil answered in the 52nd minute when defender Marcelo slid in for a close-range goal and a 3-1 cushion. The USA had enough numbers back to defend the sequence, but Brazil found the gaps to convert as Hulk fed to Neymar toward the left end line and he crossed in to Marcelo.

U.S. forward Clint Dempsey, who missed the USA’s 5-1 win against Scotland on May 26 as he continued his recovery from a groin injury, entered Wednesday’s match in the 56th minute. He quickly found himself near the goal and came close to cutting the deficit to one. In the 63rd minute, Johnson started the USA attack with a deceptive move to lose his defender and crossed from the left to Gomez, who headed the ball toward the left side of the six-yard box. Dempsey lunged in, but Brazil’s Romula hustled to clear the ball from danger.

Brazil second-half sub Alexandre Pato nearly found the scoring column just two minutes after he entered the match for Damiao in the 66th minute as his right-footed shot hit the left post.

The final 15 minutes featured a slew of close calls for the U.S. in the offensive third. The U.S. had back-to-back chances in the 77th minute following Dempsey’s perfect pass over the top to Gomez on the right. Gomez took the first shot which was denied by Brazil goalkeeper Rafael. Second-half sub Terrence Boyd rushed in to follow for the rebound, only to see Rafael lunge with his leg to make another save and maintain the two-goal lead.

Rafael continued to stymie the U.S. when he made a quick reaction save off of Bradley’s 85th-minute header. Donovan delivered the free kick to Bradley, and his powerful header was swatted away by Rafael’s right glove. Later that minute off of a corner kick, the USA was a bit unlucky again when Onyewu’s header banged off the crossbar.

Despite the repeated attempts on its offensive end, Brazil sealed off the USA’s fate with Alexandre Pato’s goal toward the far left post in the 87th-minute. Pato calmly chested Marcelo’s pass and appeared to remain onside, and from a difficult angle beat Howard to the far post.

Additional Match Notes:

  • U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra was honored for earning 100 caps for the National Team before the U.S.-Brazil kickoff at FedExField. He became the 12th player in U.S. history to achieve the century-mark feat when he started in the 3-2 win against Slovenia on Nov. 15, 2011, in Ljubljana.
  • Bocanegra earned his 103rd cap on Wednesday to move into sole possession of eighth place ahead of former U.S. MNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller. With his 98th career start, Bocanegra also moved into sole possession of sixth on the all-time list ahead of 2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Tony Meola.
  • The U.S. lost for the first time since a 1-0 defeat to France on Nov. 11, 2011, at Stade De France in Paris.
  • Jurgen Klinsmann made two starting lineup changes from the May 26 win against Scotland. Oguchi Onyewu replaced Geoff Cameron at center back alongside Bocanegra, and Herculez Gomez started up top in place of Terrence Boyd.
  • U.S. Men’s National Team stars Claudio Reyna, Meola and Veteran inductee Desmond Armstrong, along with Builder inductee and former U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Tony DiCicco, were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame before Wednesday’s game. Longtime Los Angeles Times writer Grahame L. Jones was the recipient of the 2012 Colin Jose Media Award presented by the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: USA vs. Brazil

Date: May 30, 2012

Competition: International Friendly

Venue: FedExField – Landover, Md.

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

Attendance: 67,619

Weather: 79 degrees; cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1  2  F

USA                        1  0  1

BRA                        2  2  4

BRA – Neymar (penalty kick) 12th minute

BRA – Thiago Silva (Neymar) 26

USA – Herculez Gomez (Fabian Johnson) 45

BRA – Marcelo (Neymar) 52

BRA – Alexandre Pato (Marcelo) 87


USA : 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo (2-Michael Parkhurst, 73), 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 23-Fabian Johnson (15-Edgar Castillo, 80); 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (14-Kyle Beckerman, 80), 7-Maurice Edu (8-Terrence Boyd, 73); 10-Landon Donovan, 9-Herculez Gomez, 16-Jose Torres (8-Clint Dempsey, 56)

Subs not used: 21-Clarence Goodson, 22-Nick Rimando

Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

BRA : 12-Rafael; 21-Danilo, 14-Juan, 3-Thiago Silva (capt), 6-Marcelo (23-Alex Sandro, 89); 5-Sandro, 8-Romula, 10-Oscar; 20-Hulk (15-Casimiro, 82), 9-Leandro Damiao (19-Alexandre Pato, 64), 11-Neymar (7-Lucas, 84)

Subs not used: 1-Jefferson, 2-Rafael, 13-Bruno Uvini, 17-Wellington Nem, 18-Giuliano, 22-Neto

Head Coach: Mano Menezes


Stats Summary: USA / BRA

Shots: 15 / 12

Shots on Goal: 5 / 7

Saves: 3 / 4

Corner Kicks: 8 / 5

Fouls: 9 / 12

Offside: 2 / 1


Misconduct Summary:

USA – Jose Torres (caution) 13th minute

BRA – Oscar (caution) 19

USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 57

BRA – Marcelo (caution) 60


Referee: Jeffrey Calderon (CRC)

Assistant Referee 1: Leonel Bermudez (CRC)

Assistant Referee 2: Octavio Carballo (CRC)

Fourth Official: Jair Marrufo (USA)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Herculez Gomez

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