BRENT LATHAM - Sunday, June 28, 2009
United States vs Brazil
Conferations Cup - Sunday June 28, 2009
Ellis Park Stadium
Getty Images
Luis Fabiano Celebrates
The United States came out blazing Sunday night in the Confederations Cup final in Johannesburg, but could not hold a big halftime lead as Brazil rallied to ruin the Americans' dreams of glory in South Africa.

The teams felt each other out for the first few minutes, as Brazil came forward but the US punched back on the counter with equal determination.

On just such a break, on ten minutes, Jonathan Spector carried the ball forward down his right wing and chipped a ball into the area for Clint Dempsey, who swept a running volley across the box and past goalkeeper Julio Cesar to give the Yanks a quick 1-0 lead.

Brazil looked anxious to get the goal back, and came forward through Robinho, who slammed an angled shot that forced Tim Howard to knock the ball out for a corner.

The US threatened again at the quarter hour when a corner kick produced a melee in front of goal that led to a Dempsey attempt, but the Fulham man found himself in an awkward position and could only kick the ball over the crossbar.

Brazil tried from distance on 22 minutes, when Felipe Melo, the scorer of Brazil's first goal in the first game against the US, struck a shot from about 22 yards right at Howard, who knocked the ball back from where it had come.

Two minutes later Kaka and Maicon teamed up to put the American goal in danger again. Maicon played a wall fro Kaka which the future Real Madrid backheeled into the right back's path. Maicon slammed an angled shot off Howard, but the US goal remained safe.

Twenty seven minutes in the US, which had been looking dangerous on the break through Landon Donovan and Charlie Davies, doubled their lead on an exquisite counterattack conceived by the pair. Donovan fed Davies on the wing, and the Hammarby man laid an exquisite return pass back into the path of the former Bayern Munich attacker. Donovan then chipped the ball over Felipe Melo and struck it past Julio Cesar.

Brazil would not be held back and Andre Santos soon forced Howard into yet another save at the near post with an overlapping run.

The Selecao continued to look dangerous when Robinho shot from range and Howard made his fifth save of the evening. With time running out in the half Maicon sent a dangerous ball across the box but no one could get on the end of it and the Americans would take their 2-0 lead to the locker room.

The second half would be a completely different tale, as the Americans were unable to continue to absorb the Brazilian pressure.

Just 39 seconds into the half, Luis Fabiano took a cross at the top of the box and turned with Jay DeMerit on his back. The Brazilian struck a hopeful shot which slotted past DeMerit and beat Howard to cut into the lead and give Brazil all the momentum they needed.

Fifty eight minutes in Lucio would force Howard into another save with a sharp header. Two minutes late a Kaka header went into the goal, but both the linesman and the referee refused to concede the goal as Howard quickly pushed the ball back out, and the Americans were momentarily safe.

The Americans then came forward to help relieve pressure and Donovan and Dempsey both went close with long range shots.

The game turned for good in the 66th minute when Brazil coach Dunga brought on two substitutes, Elano and Daniel Alves. While the Americans warmed up some subs for ten minutes, the fresh Brazilians came in wave after wave at the American goal.

Ten minutes later, just after Tim Howard had stoned an onrushing Luis Fabiano, and with Jonathan Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan finally preparing to come on, Brazil tied the game as Luis Fabiano emphatically headed a loose ball into the US net past a helpless Howard.

In the 84th minute Lucio gave the Brazilian yet another title as he outjumped DeMerit and Dempsey on a corner and headed the ball in off the far post to break the Americans' hearts.

The US will now have to wait until at least next year for their first victory in an international tournament. Their second best finish is however, the best showing ever for the United States at a FIFA event.
Tuesday June 30, 2009 9:53 am
Much Adu about nothing on this board. Freddy is 1) not match fit, 2) proven to wimp out against big, strong, fast athletic players (e.g., the entire Brazilian team), 3) useless as a defender.
Alex Delgado
Monday June 29, 2009 9:36 pm
Well were do i start, we played a good frist half, i remember yelling my lungs out. ok lets se the errors.
1) We unnecesarilly lost our morale in the first goal they scored against us

2)through this tournament we didnt use our other young talent, (Adu and Torres), no offense but i would have put Adu over Casey in all the matches we played.
3) we needed to always keep our cool.
But now US is not the team everybody beats, we changed alot, and who knows, in a few more years we could become a superpower in soccer or better FOOTBAll The real one that is.
goof chewy
Monday June 29, 2009 8:51 pm
I disagree with all the "Well, they should still be proud of themselves" hand-holding talk.

Yes, Team USA should be proud to have battled their way all the way through the tournament -- proud up through the 1st half of the final, that is. But we and the team SHOULD be pi$$ed off with how they went through the motions in the 2nd half against Brazil. No excuse for relinquishing the fighting spirit at that point. Watch the replays, and notice the determination and concentration on the faces of the Brazil players in half Two. Only Tim Howard, and maybe some of the backfield, seemed equal to Brazil in that regard.

Ominous problem that needs to be addressed right away: Neither Davies nor Altidore, despite all they bring up front, seem capable of holding onto the ball under pressure.
Monday June 29, 2009 5:12 pm
The first half Brazil had 59% possession, so to say USA played GOOD the first half and BAD the second half is crazy. USA had two shots and scored. USA depended on a miraculous entry into the semifinal to even get here.

My point being everyone needs to look at what you think is a good 1st half, two goals shows some class, but they did not do anything else on the first half. The second half was the same Brazil doing the same thing they did the first half, but with more objectivity.

Americans need to decide if they want a team who makes it to the next round on luck or a team that is a real contender. The USA has players to actually do a good job. But, with this coach they don't. This Cup was disastrous for the USA. Because the rest of the world will not play easy on the USA anymore. So now they can't depend on an Egypt or Spain underestimating the USA anymore. The World Cup will be tougher, and with the same US coach and players it will be disappointing to watch!
Bob B.
Monday June 29, 2009 4:55 pm
You are all clueless. Bob B. played the final two games perfectly from a tactics standpoint. He's the only USA coach to have found a winning formula against the big teams: Ultra-intense pressure on the ball with fierce counter-attacks that are supported by multiple players... for as long as the physical stamina holds up, which is generally about half the game. It worked beautifully in both the Spain and Brazil games. In the first halfs, you could see it... every time a Spain or Brazil player touched the ball, you had one, two, three U.S. guys flying at him. And, of course, the counterattacking worked beautifully - one goal against Spain in the first half - 2 against Brazil.

The only downside is that no team can do that for 90 minutes. So, you could see that in the second halfs of both games, the US players legs just weren't there to provide the same level of pressure. You just hope that your efforts in the first half produce a goal or two and in the second half, you bunker down to try to absorb the onslaught. Against Spain, it worked. Against Brazil, it came up just short (but darn near worked).

It's a great strategy when you're playing teams where every individual is better than our best individual. (No offense to our players). Coach Bradley deserves some recognition. And, I can't wait to see us in the World Cup next year. All you sour grapes will be disappointed in our success!
David R.
Monday June 29, 2009 3:25 pm
It has become all too clear after watching the Confederations Cup that the USMNT cannot play two cherrypickers at the same time. Also, if the clueless coach is going to have a strategy of playing not to lose, then the USMNT CANNOT HAVE EVEN ONE CHERRYPICKER ON THE FIELD. The concept of self glory never fits into TEAM DEFENSE! Adu will most likely not soar like an eagle (if he even gets into the games) since BB has chosen to surround him with turkeys. Too bad the U.S. doen't put in an experimatal coach.
Charlie G.
Monday June 29, 2009 11:37 am
It's watch that second half, the choices Coach Bradley made in subs...does he have an explanation? (someone please post). Am tired of the references to "lessons learned" and needing to grow "step by step" - the players on the field know better than this, that as a team they can compete...they knew this long before Egypt and Spain...that stars don't necessarily result in victories. My only hope is that Coach Bradley is just a slow learner, and that the same predictable choices/mistakes won't be made again. Its clear that US soccer will stay with Bob through WC2010 after this latest "advancement" for the US game?! Sitting on the same barstool as I did at 5:00 am in 2002 for US v. Germany, it doesn't really seem as though much progress has been made....while the player pool has been upgraded in places, the coaching talent has declined. Sorry, may be a bit harsh, but after watching the game for 40 years in the US, its hard to see it play out this way.
Ed C.
Monday June 29, 2009 7:18 am
A good game for the USA, with an excellent first half, although it all seemed to fall apart right after the intermission. That early goal killed us. Still, the boys did well under the circumstances.

As said below, BB needs to go. He has proven that he is clueless when it comes to tactics and selecting substitutes. I really don't know why he was hired in the first place! We need a world class coach who can take us to the World Cup and let us compete. The Word Cup isn't the Conf. Cup and it will be a LOT harder!

Its not too late to bring in a new coach!
Monday June 29, 2009 5:41 am
I AGREE WITH MOST OF THE FANS COMMENTS WELL DONE, ive been watching our team, for 19 yrs all over the world, bb got the subs wrong.....we needed to soak the midfield up,we were tired, casey....he's not internatinal standard....too much playing time, kjestan...again not up to the job, bb too quiet, we need a task master, a BOSS TO GET OUR PLAYERS TOGETHER, bb as ass manager yes, surley now...gooch, davis, demerit, bradley, will get OFFERS FROM DECENT CLUBS, OUR PLAYERS NEED TO BE IN SPAIN OR THE UK, IF WE ARE GOING TO GO FWD, ALL YOUR COMMENTS HAVE BEEN GT, KEEP THE PASSION,
mario jordan
Monday June 29, 2009 3:39 am
the coach is not reading the game, the midfield needed twiking in the second half .as players get tired. if you are going to send someone who doesnt oxygenated the midfield the team is going to drown . ADU can hold the ball in midfield given breathing air to the back .and because he is small he can get fouls and maybe even penalties . because he has ROMARIO used to say "when you got talent ,you dont need training".Bradley failes to see this and that's the reason he needs to go.otherwise we are going to have the same problems next year ,if we make it to the world cup.'cause in football anything can happen.
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