USA vs. Brazil: Five Things We Learned From The International Friendly
In their first game since the World Cup, the U.S Men's National Team matched up against their 2009 Confederations Cup Final victors Brazil at the New Medowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
It was old against new as a youthful and inexperienced Brazil side under newly appointed head coach Mano Menezes, ran out 2-0 winners against Bob Bradley's experienced U.S side.
As with most international friendlies, there are things to be learned; here are five from this one...
Neymar Is Ready For International Stardom
Neymar's omission from Brazil's World Cup squad caused quite a stir with many in the squad and on today's performance during his international debut, he showed exactly why.
He showed flashed of sublime skill at times, linked up play well with his teammates and out jumped Jonathan Bornstein to powerfully head home Andre Santos' cross to give Brazil the lead.
This will undoubtedly be the first of many caps and goals for the Santos youngster.
USA's 'Keepers Are The Primary Reason the Team Can Compete At This Level
Aside from the plaudits sent Landon Donovan's way during and after the World Cup, the most recognized US player was goalkeeper Tim Howard and for good reason.
Not only did he perform well tonight in front of a Swiss cheese USA defense, his second half replacement Brad Guzan also was forced into some outstanding saves.
The US defense has been labeled a hole in the team for some time, how much longer can their goalkeepers continue to bail them out?
It may have to be for some time...
USA Has No Idea Who Its Best Striker Is
Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, Hurculez Gomez and Jozy Altidore all featured for the USA during this friendly and none did anything to suggest that they should be the one to lead their nations attack.
Even in the World Cup, Bob Bradley seamed clueless on who is best suited to start up front for his team as players rotated in and out of the frontline.
Once again, Landon Donovan proved the team's attacking spark and Clint Dempsey (who didn't play against Brazil) is always reliable, but the teams goalscoring exploits cannot be relied on by just these two any longer.
The Future Is Looking Bright For Brazil
New manager Mano Menezes promised to restore 'Jogo Bonito' (beautiful game) to the Brazil squad and based on a very small sample size of one game, he does not look like a liar.
He boldly went with a team of youngsters and featured just four members of the Brazil squad which failed in South Africa under former coach Dunga.
The result was a rejuvenated performance by the Brazilians who looked hungry and confident against a tried and tested USA lineup.
The score may have ended 2-0 but it could have been so much more. The smiles on their faces at the end of the game said it all, the pride of playing for Brazil was back with the players and the pride of their team is back with the fans.
Bob Bradley's Final Game In Charge?
OK, so we didn't actually learn this from watching the game, but it remains one of the hottest topics connected with it - was this Bob Bradley's final game in charge of the Men's US National Team?
Speculation has been mounting for some time as his contract expires in December. Will he be offered an extension? If he is, will he accept it or look for a new challenge in Europe?
If this is his last game in charge, it will be a disappointing finale to the Bradley era, which has seen the US team ascend to levels of interest and popularity previously unheard of in this country.