June 18, 2009
By Michael Lewis
Brilliant Brazil rolls over U.S., 3-0
PRETORIA, South Africa -- Brazil gave the U.S. National Team a lesson in international soccer in its FIFA Confederations Cup match on Thursday.
|An error by DaMarcus Beasley led to Brazil's second goal.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Brazilians dominated the match from start to finish as Felipe Melo, Robinho and Maicon connected for brilliant goals in a 3-0 victory over the outclassed Americans at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
The U.S. (0-2-0) needed at least a tie to keep its slim hopes of reaching the semifinals alive. Brazil improved to 2-0-0 in advance of a highly anticipated meeting with Italy on Sunday
For the second consecutive match, the U.S. had a central midfielder red-carded as Sacha Kljestan was given his marching orders in the 56th minute for a reckless tackle on Ramires. Ricardo Clark was dismissed from the U.S.'s 3-1 loss to Italy on Monday.
There was little question as to which team was the superior side from the opening whistle, as the game quickly became a showcase for the Brazilians' speed, technique and flair. In fact, it seemed the match was going to become a contest between Brazilian players on who could have the most unique goal celebration.
The Americans, who made more than their share of unforced errors, barely could retain possession of the ball in the early going, and Brazil took advantage of it after midfielder Michael Bradley fouled Ramires 27 yards out on the right side. Right fullback Maicon sent a perfect ball into the penalty area as Felipe Melo beat his man, Jonathan Spector, and headed a point-blank shot past goalkeeper Tim Howard in the seventh minute.
Felipe Melo celebrated by kissing his hand and pointing to the sky.
A devastating error on a U.S. corner kick led to Brazil's second goal. Landon Donovan took a short corner with a pass to DaMarcus Beasley. Beasley, however, allowed the ball to go off his foot and the Brazilians quickly cleared. Kaka sprung Ramires, who raced down the field on a 2-on-1 break with the U.S. team chasing. Ramires fed Robinho, who converted from 12 yards past the defenseless Howard.
Robinho sucked his thumb during his celebration and did a quick interview with a TV commentator at the end line.
The halftime margin could have been as much as four or five goals had the Brazilians not misfired on many of their attempts and Howard not been so solid in goal.
In an attempt to get the goals back, coach Bob Bradley replaced Beasley with forward Conor Casey at halftime. Donovan moved back to the right side of midfield and Clint Dempsey flipped from the right to the left side.
The Brazilians added a third goal in the 62nd minute, as Maicon ran onto a short pass from Kaka on the right side of the penalty area and fired a shot into the roof of the net.
The U.S.'s best opportunities came in the waning minutes, with shots off the crossbar by second-half subs Benny Feilhaber (83rd minute) and Conor Casey (89th minute).
The U.S. will play Egypt in its final group match in Rustenburg on Sunday.