East Rutherford, NJ—Playing their first-ever match in the New Meadowlands, the United States lost to Brazil 2-0 in front of a crowd of 77,223. Since 1930, the United States has faced Brazil 16 times. Out of those encounters, the United States sole victory was in 1998 when they won 1-0 in Los Angeles.
Making his coaching debut as Brazil's National Manager, Mano Menezes ushered in the new era of Brazilian futebol by going young and allowing his players to free-flow throughout the match. Playing aggressively, this new Brazilian team lead by Neymar, Santos, and Pato made it clear that they're going to dictate the ball and will attack the net until they produce a few goals.
With that said, it was a busy night for American Goalkeepers. The United States lost momentum after an aggressive start which saw Landon Donovan pushing the ball towards the net after a questionable no-foul call.
From that instance, Brazil dictated the flow for the majority of the match. As a result, the United States was unable to muster up any offense or defense. If it wasn't for the heroic efforts of Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, the United States would have suffered a loss more embarrassing than the 2009 Gold Cup 5-0 final loss against rival Mexico.
For the match, Brazil took a total of 11 shots on goal. Out of the 11, they were only able to convert two into goals. In layman terms, the combination of Howard & Guzan made nine out of 11 saves for the match. Both goals scored by Neymar (29th minute) and Pato (46th minute) were surrendered by Tim Howard in the first half because the United States backfield collapsed on both occasions.
The United States loss tonight further demonstrated that the United States has one of the best goalkeeping tandems in the World. But, until the United States solves their backfield dilemma and find their offensive rhythm, their goalkeepers will also continue to allow goals because they have to constantly have to step out of the box.
Luckily for United States, this game was only a friendly, and the team has less than four years to improve on their offense and defense.
Cesar Diaz writes for Latino Sports. Please send him your e-mails and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org