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USA-Brazil Is Set

Insider loyalists knew about it yesterday. Everyone else is finding out today.

In what is being promoted as the "Clash of Champions," USA-Brazil at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 9 is set. It replaces the USA-Mexico match scheduled for Estadio Azteca, which was cancelled due to "contractual and financial considerations."

Both teams will be able to field strong lineups because Sept. 8-12 is an official FIFA international fixture period. Kickoff is 3 p.m. Central time. ESPN2 and Univision will show it live.

From a competitive standpoint, what is more beneficial to the U.S. program: Facing the five-time world champion Brazilians on home soil, or taking another run at the Mexicans at altitude in preparation for World Cup qualifying?

By Steve Goff  |  August 13, 2007; 3:18 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Next: USA Roster Unveiled Tuesday


I'll take the challenge of playing Brazil. We already know the Mexican team and how to beat them - sure a friendly could have helped in prep for qualifiers and given us an opportunity to beat them on their turf, but assumming Brazil brings their A team (or B team) this game should be a good test, mixed in with the "easier" European teams already on the fall schedule.

Posted by: emanon | August 13, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Both are valuable contests -- I'd prefer to do both, thanks very much.

Brazil offers, well, Brazil. How often do you get to face a full strength iteration of the fabled side? Should draw a good crowd, and there's plenty of useful learning to be had by the players and the coaches.

In facing Mexico in Azteca, you get the combo of a quality competitor and a formidable venue (to say nothing of the lung-searing air quality). That game presents a unique set of challenges that you can't fake elsewhere.

It would be great if the Azteca match could happen at some point later, before qualifying. For now, I'll be happy to watch the Nats get toyed with by the Samba Kings....

Posted by: Greedy | August 13, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Brazil.

I don't need to hear Mexican excuses until WCQ.

Posted by: Kim | August 13, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse


Clearly the Brazil match is more important. The US will be expected to qualify for the World Cup and IMO, the Mexico game only preps us better for winning the World Cup qualifier in Mexico. The Brazil game exposes us to additional quality opponents and has morew of an impact on World Cup pool play eventually. The more diverse, quality teams we can play, the better off the team will be.

Posted by: Ed Ho | August 13, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Brazil over mexico is a no-brainer.

sure, we'll get tooled, but it will be good for us.

Posted by: bribri | August 13, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Brazil for 500 Alex!

1. We'll play Mexico at least twice next year. We could lose both of those matches. But while I want to learn to beat Mexico in Mexico, the better objective is to be a better team. And Brazil helps with that.

2. We can probably schedule a "friendly" against Mexico at another time. But until we start winning WCs, this is one of the few times that we'll be able to play a full or near full strength Brazilian team outside of a tournament.

3. Also, Brazil will be in the Confed Cup so it's not bad to play them at least once before that time (just for psychological benefit if nothing else).

Posted by: JoeW | August 13, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I vote Brazil. It helps the team to play a tougher opponent. I am sure there will be more opportunity to play Mexico in Mexico. The rivalry will continue. I think it good for marketing and international attention as well to play Brazil. Everyone knows they are the best. If they field a strong team, and we show, it will be a great learning opportunity and great exposure. Win-win.

Posted by: T. Henry | August 13, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Some homesoil humble pie will do the boys some good. The US needs to diversify it's opponents, and it's been doing a good job of it by scheduling games in Europe against teams they don't normally face, Brazil will help to further this cause. It will give the US players a view of different styles and paces and will ultimately help them compete against teams they are unfamiliar with and won't be able to study as intensely, like say games where they have little lead time to scout in the knockout rounds of the Confederations and World Cups.

Posted by: kev13p | August 13, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I have to say, I'd rather play Mexico in a truly hostile environment. I doubt the Ronaldinho's and Kaka's will make the trip, and I wonder why they're playing at Soldier Field again. Does the USSF really think that we should play our most high profile friendlies in Chicago (England, Brazil...)

Posted by: Max | August 13, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Um, didn't Mexico beat Brazil in the Copa America 2-0??? I'm just saying.............

Posted by: DC United Fan | August 13, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

It's awesome that we won the Gold Cup and everything... But calling USA vs. Brazil the "Clash of the Champions" is a bit of a joke...

Posted by: Shatz | August 13, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The USSF HQ is in Chicago, which is why Soldier Field is getting alot more looks at higher profile matches.

Brazil looks to be getting ready to bring its A squad, so the match should be a good one. That said, this will be Big Bob's first home loss.

Posted by: dcsundevil2002 | August 13, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Much better for any Euro-based players from a logistical standpoint.

Posted by: Matt | August 13, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad that the US lost out on a game at Azteca (because of a tv contract dispute, apparently?), but it's hard to argue with Brazil as a second-choice opponent. I hope we see some of the big Brazilian names actually in the game - I know that they will be available, but as Alexi Lalas will tell you... we cannot guarantee that any one player will actually take the field....

Clash of the Champions sounds a little silly. But it made me wonder what they're calling the Brazil / Mexico game. Clash of the Champion... and the Almost-Champion? Sounds enticing!

Posted by: stairs | August 13, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love beating Mexico, I'd rather have Brazil exploit our weaknesses and beat us 5-0, than to beat Mexico again 2-0.

How can we ever expect to get better by playing the same opponents over and over again. A very young team learned some good lessons in Venezuala this summer. Now lets take those lessons and show that we've learned from them.

If we really want to advance in the 2010 World Cup, we have to demonstrate our ability to beat some of the world's best, not just CONCACAF's best.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Mexico in Mexico City is about 100 times more valuable an experience for our players than having a kick about with a vacationing squad of B-Team Brazilians (yes, they can field a strong team, but will they?) in Chicago.

We need to be playing tough games in hostile environments. These home matches, regardless of the quality of opponent, aren't helpful.

USSF continue to be stupid and pander to the youth soccer crowd.

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | August 13, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Its time the we start to think about more countries than just Mexico. We need to play more top teams (Brazil, Germany, Italy, etc..). This game against Brazil is a breath of fresh air and a great challenge to see were we stand.

Posted by: Joel | August 13, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Any chance on picking up another game on 9/12??

Shame to lose the other Intl date after fielding a crap Copa team because supposedly Intl date release rules did not apply....

Posted by: Lloyd Heilbrunn | August 13, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

WHEN WILL THEY LEARN THEY NEED TO PLAY GAMES OUTSIDE THE US?!?! Squandered a great chance at getting some away game experience for the top US team in Copa America, and "Clash of Champions"? srsly just keep hyping this US team, Landycakes doesnt have a big enough head already, play both if anything, the Mexico team is HOT right now, have another go see how it goes, Im guessing the Mexican team will come out to destroy

Posted by: rodrigo | August 13, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

You mean like the game in Sweeden later this month?

Posted by: rodrigo | August 13, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

We've got a game against New England at 3 pm, Eastern time, that day.

I just hope McTavish, Emilio and Fred don't get capped.

Posted by: garbaggio | August 13, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

oh ok 3 more away games this year, Sweden, Switzerland and Catalonia, Sweden obviously being the best team out of the 3 and Catalonia, good luck in getting the big players that randomly play for that team to show

6 away games all year 3 of them already loses and with a B squad cuz apparently MLS is more important? pshhhhh
and who knows if they will send a full US team to those last 3 away matches, even if they do 3 away matches all year for your top squad is quite lame

Posted by: rodrigo | August 13, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Gotta wonder which woulda gotten higher ratings: USA-Brazil, which if I recall had pretty high ratings on Spanish TV during the Copa, or USA-Mexico, which ESPN could market the heck out of as "The Re-match." Or "Into the Lions' Den/Cauldron."

Still, considering that this will be the only sport shown in its time slot on that day on a non-sports-tier channel that's NOT a college football game, I'll watch it regardless.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 13, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Last summer in Germany, the fault in US preparation pointed out time and again was the failure of the US to play top sides. Yet another game against Mexico, even in Azetca, is just not as valuable as playing some different opponents when we can. Let's face it, barring a major collapse the US WILL qualify for the 2010 WC finals, so the path to improvement is no longer figuring out how to deal with Mexico, it's now how to deal with the world powers.

Posted by: just sayin' | August 14, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The match is on a Sunday -- the same weekend the NFL kicks off its season. I wouldn't expect much coverage in the mainstream media.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

we play Mexico so much and the 2 sides are so evenly matched that it's really about both sides trying to over come the obstacles they have winning away.

Brazil offers the US a chance to play against a different style of play (in theory, though Dunga looks to be de-Brazilling Brazil) and with all due respect to our frenemies to the south, Brazil is a higher quality opponent.

I am excited to see how we do. We won against Brazil with a horrible side once. I think we will have a much better side going this time. Could be interesting.

Posted by: papa bear | August 14, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

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