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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

September 8, 2015
NO CONTEST
Brazil crushes U.S. Men's National Team 4-1

By Frank Dell’Apa
Soccer News Net Contributing Editor

The U.S. struggled to get the ball to lone striker Jozy Altidore.
The U.S. struggled to get the ball to lone striker Jozy Altidore.
Photo by Tony Quinn
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For Neymar, pre-game drills were as much about stylin’ as warming up. Once the match started, though, Neymar combined style and substance in a crowd-pleasing display as Brazil crushed the U.S., 4-1, Tuesday night.

Neymar sparked the Seleção in the second half, scoring twice and bringing the Gillette Stadium crowd of 29,308 to life.

Meanwhile, the U.S. presented almost no resistance to the Brazilians in sustaining its worst home defeat since a 4-1 loss to Brazil in 2012 at FedEx Field. The U.S. now has a 1-17-0 record against Brazil since 1930.

The U.S. badly missed Clint Dempsey (thigh strain), who remained with his club team, the Seattle Sounders, but had almost no cohesion in the offense.

The boys from Brazil, meanwhile, treated this exhibition as a kickaround. Before the game, Neymar booted several souvenir balls to fans in the stands. Once the match started, the Brazilians dominated possession and center backs David Luiz and Miranda, plus substitute Marquinhos, seemed unthreatened by the U.S. single-striker alignment.

Asked about the team’s struggles to keep up with Brazil, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann replied: “They’re not used to that. It’s a tempo that is played in Champions League. If you watch Champions League, this is Champions League tempo.

“And it’s not only the technical tempo, where they play one-, two-touches and then they dribble whenever they think it’s the right moment to dribble. It’s the speed of thought. They’re always two thoughts ahead. It’s like you play chess and they’re two moves ahead. That’s their level and we will try and catch up as much as we can. But if they turn it on and then you make a couple mistakes that you shouldn’t make like the penalty, in a moment when we actually started to get into the game then you’re finished.”

But Klinsmann and the U.S. players were positive about the U.S. chances against Mexico in the Confederations Cup playoff Oct. 10 in Pasadena.

“We have a clear picture about the Mexico game,” Klinsmann said. “We have to hope Clint is there, Jozy is at a different level, Jermaine (Jones). We have to hope Beas (DaMarcus Beasley) is available, even though I thought Tim Ream played a very solid game. We have a couple key players we need to get back on board. I’m optimistic. They have four weeks’ time to catch up on what they need to catch up.”

Brazil took the lead as Willian left Alejandro Bedoya flailing, went to the end line past Tim Ream and crossed over Brad Guzan off the far post. The ball ricocheted in front of the goal, Hulk then faking past a sliding DeAndre Yedlin and right-footing a point-blank shot in the ninth minute.

The U.S. threatened three minutes after the goal, Geoff Cameron springing Yedlin for a cross in front to Jozy Altidore, the shot stopped by the defending of Miranda and goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe. Miranda appeared to be soon hobbling afterward, and was replaced by Marquinhos in the 22nd minute.

The Brazilians spent much of the first half playing one-touch keepaway, but were seldom able to draw out the U.S. defense. Brazil was also willing to only selectively challenge U.S. defenders, content to play a finesse game.

In the 28th minute, Michael Bradley broke into the penalty area, but sent a slow shot for Grohe to grab.

Brazil held possession for long stretches, sending right back Fabinho forward for a 35th-minute deflected shot, cleared by Ventura Alvarado.

A minute later, Danny Williams replaced Bedoya as a holding midfielder and the U.S. earned a free kick as Fabinho took down Gyasi Zardes, but Bradley sent the kick over the end line.

Marcelo went in on Guzan, his hard blast punched for a corner in the 42nd minute, and again in the 45th minute, this time chipping the ball after an Alvarado clearance, but failing to get a shot.

Neymar replaced Willian and upped the tempo of the game at the start of the second half, running through the midfield and dancing on the ball.

Neymar controlled a long pass from David Luiz, then drew a foul from Cameron, referee Joel Aguilar calling the penalty. Neymar took a measured run up to take the penalty, drilling the shot into the left side of the net in the 51st minute.

Within the next four minutes, U.S. defender Michael Orozco and Williams were cautioned attempting to stop breakaways.

The U.S. struggled to find Altidore, playing as a lone striker. But Bradley was able to break through for a shot in the 58th minute.

Then Brazil really began turning it on.

In the 64th minute, Rafinha scored with his first touch, less than a minute after replacing Douglas Costa. Three minutes later, Neymar outmaneuvered four defenders to finish off a pass from Lucas Moura, dummied by Rafinha.

Williams finished the scoring with a dipping shot in the 90th minute.

“We’re always confident," Guzan said. "We’re confident in our abilities as a team. We’ve got quality individuals. Tonight’s a tough night. We played one of the best teams in world football. And to a certain extent they taught us a lesson. And so it’s not what we wanted but you move and we’ll be ready, for sure, come October.”###
   
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