Thursday, May 31, 2012

Brazil 4 - USA 1: Trading Body Blows With the Big Boys

photo by odegaardvia PhotoRee

Summary: This one will go down as a loss, but it sure felt different than other losses to the Brazilians, and the 4-1 scoreline was extremely harsh on the home side. This was not the US retreating into a defensive shell, and hoping for a brilliant defensive performance combined with a stray goal against the run of play. This was the Yanks trading body blows with the big boys. As Ian Darke correctly called it, the game could easily have been 4-4 or 4-1 -- but at least we were playing the Brazilians at their own game. And I'll take that kind of effort any day of the week.

Some other brief thoughts on the US' 4-1 loss to Brazil last night, in no particular order:

o I like the new US jerseys, especially with the darker numbers they wore in the game's first half. Kudos to whoever came up with the design.

o I hated Neymar's showboating run up on the penalty kick that opened the scoring. First, the penalty on Onyewu was dubious at best.  Second, just get on with your business, son, there's no need to use such a dandy-ish run up en route to the spot. Third, you might want to head to the nearest barber shop. Someone on my Twtter timeline referred to you as My Little Pony, which I thought sounded just about right.

o Oguchi Onyewu didn't inspire a ton of condfidence in his return to central defense. Granted this was Brazil and not Scotland the US was facing, but Gooch gave away the first penalty, and the second goal for the visitors came from an unmarked header off a corner kick.  Tim Howard may be good, but despite sharing the pitch with Hercules and Hulk, Howard proved he's no super hero without a strong central defense in front of him.

o Although the US was bossed off the pitch for much of the first half, the goal from Herculez Gomez right before the interval was deserved, and Klinsi's boys were somewhat unlucky to be down 2-1.  It was Michael Bradley once again with the seeing eye pass setup -- what are they feeding that boy in Italy...?! -- and Fabian Johnson's cross was sublime -- this kid could be a real find at left back.

o Clint Dempsey finally joined Landon Donovan on the pitch for the first time since Klinsmann took the reins of the US squad, but the reunion came about 10 minutes too late for the US' chances.

o The contest's mood became a bit darker as the clock ticked away. If this was a "friendly," I'd hate to see a competitive match between these two sides....  The teams traded narrow misses on goal attempts, but did manage to connect on a few rough tackles and shoves. Marcelo and Jermaine Jones certainly did nothing to dampen the feeling that they are both constantly thisclose to being red carded.

o Despite the score line, the game remained fairly open, and the US created more than its fair share of real scoring chances in the game's second half.   The Brazilians looked suspect on defense, and the Nats looked dangerous virtaully every time they had the ball.  The rookie Brazilian 'keeper had a fantastic night to keep the US to only one score.

This is farlieonfootie for May 31.

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