August 10, 2010
By Michael Lewis
Brazil outclasses U.S., 2-0
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants Stadium or the New Meadowlands Stadium. It doesn't matter which stadium in The Swamp the U.S. National Team plays these days, they can't win or find the back of the net.
|Tim Howard (above) and his backup, Brad Guzan, were peppered with shots from Brazil for most of the game.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Americans are 0-2-2 in their last four games there, including Tuesday night's 2-0 loss to Brazil in an international friendly before a near sellout crowd of 77,223 fans at the new stadium.
They closed out Giants Stadium with a 5-0 defeat to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final last July and they played the second international soccer game in the new stadium with yet another scoreless performance.
The last time the U.S. scored at the Meadowlands was two minutes into stoppage time in the U.S.'s 2-1 comeback victory over Honduras in the 2005 Gold Cup semifinals.
The coach of that team was Bruce Arena, who was back at the Meadowlands Tuesday to be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame along with former players Kyle Rote, Jr., Preki and Thomas Dooley.
The current coach, Bob Bradley, might have directed his final U.S. match in wake of speculation that he is a candidate for the Aston Villa position in the English Premier League and of an uneven coaching performance at the World Cup in South Africa.
While the final score could not really define the Brazilians' domination, one stat could. They outshot the Americans, 20-7.
The first half was a disaster for the U.S.
Neymar and Alexandre Pato scored in the opening 45 minutes to lift Brazil to a 2-0 advantage.
Landon Donovan apparently thought there should have been a penalty kick called by referee Silviu Petrescu after he had been bumped off the ball by a Brazilian player in the third minute. Donovan, however, did not sell the call to the Canadian referee very well as he kept his balance in time for Andre Santos to strip him of the ball.
Slowly, but surely, the Brazilians started to penetrate the U.S. defense and their efforts finally paid off in the 28th minute.
Andre Santos beat his man, Alejandro Bedoya, on the left flank and sent a perfect air ball to Neymar, who headed it home from 10 yards past goalkeeper Tim Howard for a 1-0 Brazil advantage.
Some four minutes later, it appeared the Brazilians had doubled their lead when Alexandre Pato scored while knocking over Howard on the goal line. At first, Petrescu awarded a goal as he pointed to the center circle for a kickoff as Pato and his teammates celebrated. But an assistant referee, most likely Daniel Belleau, educated the referee and said there was a foul as the U.S. received and took a quick free kick.
The Brazilians did get their second goal just before the interval. This time Paulo Henrique Ganso touched the ball to Ramires, who sent a through ball to an charging Pato. Pato rounded Howard on the right side and easily knocked the ball into the net a minute into stoppage time for a 2-0 lead.
The U.S.'s best opportunity in the first came came in the 40th minute, when defender and team captain Carlos Bocanegra sent a 10-yard header of a Landon Donovan corner kick over the crossbar.
The Americans thought they finally found the back of the net in the 57th minute when former Seton Hall standout midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored, but the goal was called back because midfielder Michael Bradley was offside.
Not satisfied with a two-goal lead, Brazil kept on pumping away and a shot by Neymar was saved by halftime-sub Brad Guzan in the 70th minute.
Guzan was beaten by Paolo Henrique Ganso in the 78th minute, but the midfielder's long-range blast hit the right post.