With interim Head Coach Dave Sarachan at the helm, the United States men’s national team had a tough time on Friday night against Brazil, losing 2-0 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Roberto Firmino opened the scoring in the 11th minute, and Neymar scored from the spot late in the half to give Brazil the easy victory.
Sarachan called in, and named a relatively inexperienced squad for the game against Brazil and Mexico on Tuesday. D.C. United’s Paul Arriola got a start as a right midfielder, but making just his 17th cap, he was the most experienced player internationally in the midfield. Tyler Adams, Julian Green, Weston McKennie, and Wil Trapp, the other starters in the midfield, came in with a combined 25 caps.
Bobby Wood got the start as the lone striker, while there was a bit more experience in defense, with John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin starting. Joining them was Matt Miazga an Antonee Robinson, with Zach Steffen minding the net.
Unsurprisingly, in front of a mostly pro-Brazil crowd, the 5-time World Cup winners dominated the game throughout, and went ahead in the 11th minute, with the best chance early on. Robinson couldn’t close down Douglas Costa on the right, allowing a cross in towards the box. Firmino had drifted away from Miazga in the box, and had a simple volley to open the scoring.
Arriola, like many of his teammates, had a tough time creating much in the first half. In the 18th minute, Arriola did have the ball in space on the right flank, and tried to find a teammate in the box with a cross. Instead, his attempt sailed way out, not coming close to threatening to create a chance.
The US had a series of corners after 30 minutes, and from it, they had their best chance of the half. A corner from Trapp just missed Brooks in the box, but the ball fell to McKennie, who stabbed a shot towards goal, only to be denied by keeper Alisson.
In the 39th minute, Coutinho had a shot blocked by Robinson, as the US struggled to deal with Brazilian numbers in the box. Not being able to clear the danger, Fabinho had a secondary crack at goal, but had his shot saved by Steffen.
Fabinho then won a soft penalty in the 42nd minute. Fabinho got into the box, and seemed to anticipate contact, going to ground in between Trapp and Brooks. But on replay, it looked like both Trapp and Brooks got out of the way of Fabinho, but a penalty was awarded anyway. Neymar, the captain, took the spot kick, and sent Steffen the wrong way with a slow run-up, giving the Seleção a two-goal advantage.
McKennie had a look at getting one back for the US, as Green found the Schalke midfielder with a cross in stoppage time. McKennie rose up to win the header in traffic, but couldn’t guide the ball on target, sending the header over the goal.
Douglas Costa and Neymar nearly created the third goal in the 51st minute, as Costa cut in towards the middle from the right. Slipping the ball behind the defense, Costa found Neymar, who was able to slide a shot under Steffen’s hand. With the ball about to trickle in, Miazga cleared the ball away, keeping the US within two goals.
The subs for the US began in the 55th minute, as Green and Arriola, both of whom had quiet nights, were replaced. On in their place were Kellyn Acosta and Tim Weah, the latter who earned his fourth ever cap.
Acosta, who has had somewhat of a resurgence after a recent trade from FC Dallas to the Colorado Rapids, took advantage of a set piece to create a chance for the US in the 65th minute. Curling a ball in from the right, Acosta found McKennie in front of goal, but McKennie could not guide a volley on target.
In the 70th minute, Wood, who only had one blocked shot to his name on the night, was replaced by Columbus Crew man Gyasi Zardes. Seconds later, it was his club teammate, Trapp, who forced a saved from Alisson. Weah found Trapp outside the box, and the captain on the night sent a low shot towards goal, and Alisson dove to his right to push the shot out for a corner.
Acosta and McKennie connected again on a free kick in the 75th minute, but once again, a goal eluded the US. Acosta’s service from the left was well placed, and though he looked like he might have been offside, McKennie was in behind the defense, and able to get a foot to the service. But once again, McKennie couldn’t guide the ball on target, denying the US a consolation goal.
Christian Roldan and Marky Delgado were the final subs for the US in the 83rd minute, as the midfield got a little bit more inexperienced in the last minutes of the game. Two minutes later, both Weah and Zardes went up for a header from a Robinson cross, but neither could connect for a shot on goal.
The United States wrap up this international window with a friendly against their rivals, Mexico, on Tuesday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
Highlights will be added when available.