U.S. Men's National Team is No Match for Brazil in 4-1 Loss in FedEx Field
Brazil's Marcelo reacts after colliding with a US defender. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
LANDOVER, MD—The United States Men’s National Team has made great strides of improvement under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, playing with confidence and stringing together a streak of four wins in a row coming into Wednesday night’s D.C.-area date with Brazil.
 
After 90 minutes on the pitch with the all-star Brazilians, Klinsmann and the USMNT now realize they have much further to go than they may have thought before the game.

Brazil dropped the U.S. by a 4-1 margin in front of 67,619, jumping out to an early lead on a 12th minute penalty kick goal by Neymar and never letting up the gas the rest of the way. Thiago Silva, Marcelo, and Alexandre Pato also scored for Brazil, and goalkeeper Rafael had four saves.

Starting forward Herculez Gomez potted the only goal for the U.S., an easy header from two yards out on a sly centering feed from teammate Jose Torres in the 45th minute.

“Herc’s so active and he gets in good spots,” praised U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan. “Every time we get the ball, he’s in front of the goal and he wants to score. He’s hungry. I thought he was very good tonight. He created a number of chances and maybe on another night he’d score a couple more.”

Similar optimism was reflected by most other members of the U.S. squad and its coaching staff after the game, an international friendly used by both squads as part of a series of final tune-up matches before the CONCACAF third round qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup begins.

“We’ve got to be smart, filter out the bad and take in the good. I think the 4-1 scoreline wasn’t really indicative of the way the game went. There were stretches of that game where we controlled the tempo and we were getting after it. They finished off their chances. That’s really the difference,” said Gomez.

 Chances were certainly not hard to come by for Brazil, who controlled possession for large portions of the game and were far more patient in working to set up quality scoring opportunities rather than just pound the ball at American goalkeeper Tim Howard.

 Howard turned away Brazil’s first good chance, interrupting a curving shot from Hulk just seven minutes in, but was helpless when the visitors opened the scoring a couple of minutes later.

Brazil forward Leandro Damiao sent a hard volley from outside the penalty box that hit the arm of U.S.A. defender Oguchi Onyewu inside the 18. Referee Jeffrey Calderon awarded a penalty kick, and Howard guessed left while star striker Neymar sent the ball right, putting Brazil on top 1-0 in the 12th minute.

Following Neymar’s goal, the U.S. had several good chances but Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra sailed their attempts over the frame, and Gomez zipped his volley into Rafael’s chest. On the other end of the pitch, Brazil continued their attack, with Damiao forcing Howard to stand on his head again to stop a breakaway.

The U.S. squad’s defensive posture was again pierced in the 26th minute off a Brazil set piece. Neymar curled a corner kick from the left corner into the penalty box, and Thiago Silva slipped away from his defender and easily nodded in the service past a helpless Howard.

“We fell asleep on a set piece and got punished for it,” noted Donovan.

Gomez’s goal on a U.S. counterattack in the waning moments of the first half sparked life in the home team and their partisan crowd, but Brazilian defender Marcelo quickly snuffed that hope when he found the back of the net on a perfect centering feed just six minutes into the second half, another case of the Brazilians taking advantage of an American mix-up that left an attacker uncovered.

Bocanegra had one more chance late in the game when Rafael gave up a juicy rebound to the American defender in front of the net, only to stick out his leg and knock away what seemed to be a sure thing.

Second-half substitute Alexandre Pato dazzled in his short time on the pitch, hitting the post on his first try after entering the game and then hitting nothing but net in the 87th minute on yet another picture-perfect passing sequence for the Brazilians.

 The U.S. plays again on June 3 against Canada in Toronto, its last friendly before starting World Cup qualifying with a June 8 match back on home soil.
 
Photo Gallery - USA vs. Brazil, Men's Soccer
 
US soccer star, Mia Hamm (center) is honored along with others before the match USA vs. Brazil match at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Players from both teams are introduced prior to start of the USA vs. Brazil match at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
A Brazilian fan cheers from the stands prior to the USA vs. Brazil match at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
The Brazilian starters pose for team photo. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
The Hulk is sandwiched between to US defenders. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Maurice Edu of the US tries to steal the ball from Hulk. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Brazil celebrates a goal in the first half. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Carlos Bocanegra of US is tripped while going after the ball. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Neymar of Brazil tries to get around Steve Cherundolo of the US. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Herculez Gomez of the US celebrates a header goal. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Herculez Gomez of the US shoots on goal. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Michael Bradley of the US dribbles the ball past Brazil's Juan. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Landon Donovan of the US goes after the ball. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
The Fed-Ex field with 67,000 screaming fans. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Players watched as a fan who ran across the field is subdued by security. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
Players from both sides come together after the game. Brazil defeated USA 4-1 during a soccer friendly game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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