BRAZIL DOWNS LACKLUSTER US
MICHAEL ADUBATO - Wednesday, August 11, 2010
In their first post World Cup game, the US Men's National Team had no answers for a young Brazilian team showing few faces from its own World Cup campaign.

The Brazilians hit a pair to beat the Americans 2-0 with goals from Neymar and Pato.

In a game where the US started off well but faded slowly, it was the US' top goal scorer Landon Donovan who had the first sniff at goal in just the third minute when Maurice Edu played the Galaxy man through and Donovan raced into the box and was fouled.

Canadian referee Silviu Petrescu however seemed to punish Donovan for staying on his feet, giving no call.

The visitors were at it five minutes later when AC Milan's Alexandre Pato was played through and moved into the American box with the ball at his feet. Omar Gonzalez stood his ground however and forced the Brazilian to shoot wide of Tim Howard's far post.

With a third of the first half gone at the New Meadowlands Stadium, the Brazilians began to apply pressure on the American back four, however they were finding it hard to turn their possession into goals.

Robinho threatened and then overlapped with Dani Alves but his pass back to the Barcelona defender was played poorly and the Americans cleared the danger.

On the 18 minute mark 18-year-old Neymar found Pato in the box but his shot was knocked away by Howard for a corner kick. The ensuing kick was cleared out of the area but Benfica's Ramires collected and fired hard and true but over the top of Howard's crossbar from 20 yards out.

Michael Bradley did the same a minute later, blasting towards the Brazilian goal but never threatening Victor.

Neymar was a handful for the Americans all night long in the New Jersey heat and showed signs of what was to come in the 26th minute when he received Pato's pass at the top of the box, spun and shot. However it turned out to be a bread-and-butter save for the Jersey native between the sticks.

Howard wasn't as fortunate a few minutes later when the youngster finally put his name on the score sheet in his national team debut when Andre Santos found him in space, placing the ball onto his head and watching the net ripple behind the Everton man.

The Brazilians began playing with more confidence and looked as if they were on the training field playing one touch soccer as the Americans did their best to contain any threat.

The South Americans thought they had scored again just past the half hour mark as they ran into the corner to celebrate after a ball into the box came forward and Pato chased it to the goal line but instead of tapping it in, gave the 6'3" Howard an NFL style tackle as the ball trickled over the line. The Canadian referee took his time deciding that Pato had fouled the big keeper.

Donovan then won a free kick at the top of the Brazilian box after being fouled but his kick was punched away by Victor.

Moments later Donovan played Alejandro Bedoya, who received his first start, up the right wing. The Floridian's effort was put out for a corner kick that found Carlos Bocanegra's head, however he missed the target.

Just before the half time whistle the visitor's doubled their lead with a move that started in the midfield when Paulo Henrique Ganso played Ramires forward, who threaded the ball between a pair of defenders to Pato. This time the 20-year-old forward made no mistake and slipped the ball into the American goal for his second career Brazil strike.

Perhaps sensing a need for change, US head coach Bob Bradley made a few to start the second half by bringing another Jersey native, Jozy Altidore, who replaced the ineffective Edson Buddle. Sacha Kljestan came on for Benny Feilhaber while Brad Guzan subbed on for Howard.

It seemed to be all for nothing though when Guzan's net rippled with just a minute played, but the off sides flag spared the US this time.

The score could have been 3-0 in the 53rd minute after some skillful passing by the Brazilians with the ball ending up at Robinho's feet deep inside the US box, but the sometimes Manchester City striker only struck Guzan's post.

The Americans seemed to come to life soon afterwards when Kljestan found his ex-Chivas teammate Jonathan Bornstein heading up the left wing, that ended up as a corner kick for Donovan to take, which he did and played short to Kljestan.

The Anderlecht midfielder whipped the ball into the box and found Michael Bradley and the Princeton, NJ native found the back of the net with his head but the effort was ruled off sides.

Kljestan had a chance with a free kick just outside the box in the 67th minute but Victor was up for it and claimed it for himself.

Guzan was called into action several times as the game progressed, such as in the 70th minute when Brazil counter attacked and the Aston Villa shot stopper performed his job well. This was followed by Altidore who took a chance at goal from an impossible angle that ended up as a goal kick.

Guzan was beaten some minutes later but Ganso, one of the three Santos players on the roster, was unable to beat the far post as it ricocheted off and was collectively cleared by the defense. Robinho found the ball at his feet soon afterwards but put his contribution wide of the post.

The Brazilians continued passing the ball around the Americans as only Brazilians can and substitute Carlos Eduardo decided to pull the trigger from inside the six yard box only to see Guzan deny the Bundesliga man.

With time running out Jonathan Spector found sub Herculez Gomez well inside the Brazilian box but the Pachuca striker couldn't make it count from a few yards out.

And so time fizzled out leaving the Americans with the loss in a pretty meaningless game.

"I thought we frustrated them for a little while, which was good," Tim Howard said to YA after the game. "But a little while isn't good enough."

"They certainly showed us some things we need to work on and we know that in order to compete at this level and get to the next level which this is and the World Cup is," continued Howard. "But you have to be able to frustrate teams a lot longer than that."

"We're disappointed because of the goals we gave up but Brad played fantastic in the second half but that's the problem with these teams; they create some many opportunities and you really need to eliminate them, particularly in front of goal," he concluded.

"I think the first half wasn't so bad," Alejandro Bedoya said of the team's performance. "I think towards the end we started sitting back a little bit and giving them more time."

"(The game was) high intensity, high tempo and obviously a different tempo than what I'm used to playing over there (in Sweden)," noted Bedoya.

Bedoya and the rest of his teammates will now return to their club teams following Tuesday's defeat.

At this time, the US does not have any other international matches scheduled as US Soccer and Bradley will begin discussions on whether or not the head man will return for another World Cup cycle.

In his four years at the helm of the US national team, Bradley has composed a 38-21-8.