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Wrapping up Brazil's 2-0 win over the USA

Some final thoughts from the Meadowlands.....

THE RESULT: The margin was two goals but felt like more, didn't it? Aside from Landon Donovan's early opportunity and Michael Bradley's disallowed header in the second half, the Americans were tame in the attack. The result never seemed in doubt. Brazil hit two posts, had two goals nullified and, with Neymar, Ramires and Robinho creating a blur, Selecao hogged possession.

We are sure to hear cries of the Americans being outclassed by a second-class squad, and while Selecao was lacking influential components, Brazil is Brazil. Each group has its own distinct personality. Other than Dunga, who stubbornly molded the World Cup unit in his industrious likeness, what national team coach anywhere on our blue planet would've passed up the chance to take Neymar and Pato to South Africa? Not many.

The point being: The Americans aren't going to beat Brazil -- any version of Brazil -- unless everything goes just right. Like in 1998, when Kasey Keller had the game of his life and Preki -- who was at the Meadowlands for the Hall of Fame ceremony Tuesday -- struck a great goal. It almost happened at the Confederations Cup last year, as well.

For much more.....

Having said all of that, the Americans realize their performance was severely lacking. "The effort was good," Donovan said, "but if we are going to get to the next level, we still have got to be a lot better."

DONOVAN DOWNER: Might the match have unfolded differently had, in the third minute, Donovan either gotten to the ball before Andre Santos or, a split-second earlier, gone down in the box and drawn a penalty kick? There was contact. Donovan wobbled, but stayed on his feet. A similar situation occurred in the World Cup final involving Arjen Robben. In both cases, the attacker remained upright and didn't finish the chance or receive a call.

"The guy fouled me," Donovan said. "I tried to stay up. They always encourage us not to dive and you try to do the right thing, but you've got to rely on the ref to make the call. Maybe next time I will go down and get the sure penalty."

OMAR IN THE MIDDLE: Given the opponent, the setting and his lack of international experience, Omar Gonzalez did just fine in earning his first cap and playing 90 minutes. With the backline in need of reinforcement heading into the next World Cup cycle, the 6-foot-5 Galaxy center back will be in the mix.

"It's not an easy first game, let's face it," Bob Bradley said. "He is still a young player and has some good starting points. He had some plays where there were things going on around him and it's not that easy for him to keep track of. When the games get faster, the ability to keep track of more things and still be able to deal with these top players, that's the challenge. Hopefully he will continue to grow."

RIGHT BACK ISSUE: Where was Steve Cherundolo while Jonathan Spector was chasing Brazilians? On the bench because of fitness issues. "The preseason has been slow for him," said Bradley, adding that the decision not to use him was essentially made Monday after training.

STADIUM REVIEW: It's big, tall, shiny and new, this Meadowlands mammoth that replaced Giants Stadium. My first thought? Eh. There's just nothing unique about it. It looks and feels like most other NFL stadiums; it's gray (literally) and soulless. The cost was more than $1 billion. Really? When I heard that figure, I fully expected to be transported to Dubai: gold-laced nacho stands, Picasso originals lining the portals and such. From a soccer standpoint, while it's perfectly nice to host World Cup matches someday, it won't create any lasting memories for visitors from around the globe. Other flaws: field width and few covered areas. With that price tag, you'd think they would've included a partial roof.

WHAT'S NEXT?: The Americans' proposed friendly against Poland on Oct. 9 at Chicago's Soldier Field is almost set. Three days later, they will probably play Colombia. The venue has yet to be determined, but the highest concentration of Colombian-Americans are in Florida and New York. These are friendlies, not World Cup qualifiers, so the USSF is likely to go where it can sell the most tickets, even if it means relinquishing home-field advantage (i.e. Poland in Chicago).

My match report is available here.

Video highlights:

By Steve Goff  |  August 11, 2010; 2:15 AM ET
Categories:  Brazil , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: USA-Brazil  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchnight: USA-Brazil
Next: Wednesday kickaround: Spencer to Portland, North Korea inquiry, Ecuador's coach, Freedom in action, friendlies galore, TV listings

Comments

I'm starting to like these 2am postings. Gives me a chance to join in.

Anyway, any word on the foreign scouts who came? Or did they justify a boondoggle to watch Brazil by telling the front offices they had a line on some undiscovered American kid?

DeMerit's and Spector's experiences ought to be a lesson for Gonzalez and Goodson. I doubt Jay is a better player, but they get the benefit of the doubt for playing in the EPL.

And Brad, find yourself a team where you get to play.

Posted by: troy6 | August 11, 2010 5:14 AM | Report abuse

"either Jay or Jon are better players..." is what I would have written had I been more alert.

Posted by: troy6 | August 11, 2010 5:16 AM | Report abuse

I can't stand this zonal defense we play. No one marks a man unless they are standing right next to them. And nobody from midfield tracks their man, always assuming the next guy will get him. It's really frustrating to see the USMNT not doing something I've got my rec team trained to do! It's even more frustrating to see the opposing team closing down on us the way we should be closing down on them!!!

Posted by: silverrey | August 11, 2010 5:36 AM | Report abuse

"The effort was good," Donovan said, "but if we are going to get to the next level, we still have got to be a lot better."

Where have I heard that before?

Posted by: rcdwriting | August 11, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

brazil did look tasty.

Posted by: mizage | August 11, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

so when comes the news of Bob jumping to Aston Villa?

Posted by: nairbsod | August 11, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Since I didn't see anything worth commenting about on the field....

I'm disappointed at the cost vs. feel of such a stadium. Didn't the new Cowboys stadium cost the same amount? I mean, they at least got a roof and a scoreboard that interferes with play.

Posted by: SoccerVA | August 11, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

We need to find/develop some left backs.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 11, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"it's [the stadium] gray (literally) and soulless."

Much like the areas around the NJ Turnpike.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 11, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

and for the recap at espn.com

"Stadium: Red Bull Arena, New Jersey
Attendance: 77,223
Match Time: August 10, 2010, 20:00 ET"

Apparently they couldn't even tell what stadium it was they were so underwhelmed.

Posted by: csd1 | August 11, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: csd1 | August 11, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

My tires were slashed
and I almost crashed
but the Lord had mercy
My machine she's a dud,
I'm stuck in the mud
somewhere in the swamps of Jersey

Posted by: OWNTF | August 11, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

"They always encourage us not to dive and you try to do the right thing."

They should take it a step further, and encourage you not to cry about it afterwards. Playing the right way will cost you sometimes, and means nothing if you can't accept that. Don't second guess it or take the game down because of it.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 11, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Steve, for being a voice of reason in reaction to this friendly. Fans on another blog, which will remain nameless, were quick to turn their backs on the USMNT, a squad most fans championed in the World Cup only weeks ago. The game was fun to watch (Neymar's goal was sweet) and there were a few encouraging US performances (Gonzalez, Guzan) despite the result.

Posted by: Brokenbil | August 11, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to be off-topic...FSC WENT TO HD TODAY ON DIRECT TV!!

Again, apologies--had to share my joy with people who could actually sympathize.

Posted by: dargumedo | August 11, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Adeus Bob Bradley, e obrigado.

Posted by: GeneWells | August 11, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Apparently they couldn't even tell what stadium it was they were so underwhelmed.

Posted by: csd1 | August 11, 2010 8:59 AM

Man, did ESPN ever phone that one in! Crap commentators, didn't have any team or goal scorer info on their sites and the highlights showed up 49 minutes into SportsCenter. Actually, I should say 'highlight' because they only managed to show Neymar's goal. Seriously, how hard is it to show two goals from a match that contains two goals?

On the bright side, we can all get back to bashing ESPN :-)

Posted by: Kev29 | August 11, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I thought I heard Dellacamera say the US was going to use one of its only 3 subs to change goalies at halftime. Friendlies almost always allow for more subs than 3.

Posted by: GeneWells | August 11, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Landon, Friedrich and I disagree.

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

Friedrich Nietzsche quotes

Posted by: csd1 | August 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Gene --

When Guzan came in, he said that he was one of 3 subs ((that wwere used at that time)). Jozy and Sascha came in as well.

I was confused at first too.

Posted by: tphasbdp | August 11, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Two comments on the game:

1. Brazil was really fun to watch, and
2. Brazil was really fun to watch.

Nuf said.

Posted by: edmundburke247 | August 11, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

We used six subs.

@csd1:
"The way I see it isn't necessarily the way you see it, or the way it is, or ought to be. What's more important is that we're all looking for it and a way to see it."
Desi De Nardo, Canadian poet
Quoted from a Starbuck'c cup.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 11, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@soccerva, re: the cost v. feel issue... I believe it has something to do with the much higher cost of construction (labor, taxes, etc) in nj than in texas... like everything else in the ny metro area, stadiums cost more without really getting any added benefit.

Posted by: rico2182 | August 11, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I agree w/ silverrey. The zone defense was crap. We had 8 defenders at times and even then they weren't marking or pressuring anyone. Bradley was HORRIBLE! Gonzalez made a lackluster first appearance, but I thought Spector did a good job. Notice Neymar couldn't get past him so he switched sides, and hey presto, Gonzalez and Bornstein leave him completely unmarked for an easy header. On the bright side, though I think Goff and other give them short-shrift, our goalies were fantastic! Even Howard was remarkably calm for a change.

Posted by: hscott | August 11, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and can someone please tell John Harkes it is NOT all about him!

Posted by: hscott | August 11, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and can someone please tell John Harkes it is NOT all about him!

Posted by: hscott | August 11, 2010 10:26 AM

Harkesy disagrees with you.

Posted by: TwinCity | August 11, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

We need to find/develop some left backs.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 11, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

...and right backs (besides cherundolo). honestly, someone give me some hope: are there any young right/left backs in MLS that have the potential to be good? is parkhurst one of those guys and, whatever happened to him? thanks.

Posted by: birdynumnum | August 11, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Brazil's youngsters seemed far more motivated than the US team. They were also very skillful last night.

Overall, the 2-0 final score is extremely flattering to the US as it could easily have been a high-scoring rout. This was a much more one-sided game than the Gold Cup final a year ago in Ye Olde Meadowlandes when the US lost 5-0 to Mexico after a scoreless 1st half.

Coach Bradley played 3 d-mids (I'm counting Feilhaber as the 3rd dmid rather than as an attacking player) in what looked to me like a 4-3-2-1 formation.
Still didn't have much midfield bite or show much ability to close down passing lanes. I guess I blame either Gringo Torres, Ricardo Clark or Jermaine Jones.

Did anyone notice Brazil's love of waterfowl with both Pato and Ganso looking good?

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 11, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Note to Bruce:

Madison Square Garden called. The ushers need the red jacket back as soon as you can.

Posted by: mightymax | August 11, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

like everything else in the ny metro area, stadiums cost more without really getting any added benefit.

Posted by: rico2182 | August 11, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

=================

They have the benefit of being in the NY metro area, rather than in Texas

Posted by: OWNTF | August 11, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I had noticed the waterfowl connection several days ago and said that until the US comes up with cool names from wildlife or monsters, it will never compete with the likes of Brazil. We need some guys with names like Vampeta. It is a fusion of the words "vampiro" (Portuguese for vampire) and "capeta" (Portuguese for devil).

Posted by: GeneWells | August 11, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of stadiums, my MD delegate was door-knocking yesterday in advance of the primaries. After we talked about serious topics, I asked about a soccer stadium in the DC metro area (he goes to occasional DC games). His feeling was that it won't happen unless the team owner puts in most of the money.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 11, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I know it's early, and it was Brazil, but last night didn't give me a lot of hope for 2014. Our forwards collectively have the first touch of a brontosaurus, our defense looks either old and slow or young and uncertain, and our midfield spent most of the game running in circles chasing the ball. The only player who looked halfway decent last night was Bradley. I hate to blame the coach, but maybe it is time to bring in somebody who can work on tactics rather than just throwing 11 players out there.

Posted by: Kenobi | August 11, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I still say Bornstein has got to have some dirty pictures involving Bob Bradley. After all, Bradley must be bright enough to see that Bornstein is not able to play at the international level. So Bradley has got to go, at least we can get someone over whom Bornstein won't have hidden leverage

Posted by: DCUSince96 | August 11, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I was up in New Jersey for the game and I too found the stadium underwhelming. I looked around when we got there at the tow-shaded gray seats and thought, huh? This is so bland. It really doesn't seem like that much of an upgrade from Giants Stadium. More luxury boxes I guess. For $1 billion you'd think you could get an architectural gem like the South African stadiums in Durban, Cape Town and Soccer City. This stadium is just another blot on the sorry landscape of the Meadowlands.

Posted by: JHBinDC | August 11, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"We need to find/develop some left backs."

I wonder, too, if we could take opportunities like this friendly to find/develop some better commentators.

If I could program my TV to mute every time one of Harkes / Lalas / Foudy (don't think she was even on, but she still deserves a mention) speak, I'd be a happier man.

Posted by: cray | August 11, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I want change in the USMNT and it starts at the tippy top. Don't want Bradley in charge anymore, sorry boss you deserve better, but so do we.

Posted by: elfelixg | August 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I found it interesting that Brasil identified a new manager rather quickly after Dunga was sent packing. Was some sort of behind-the-scenes headhunting process underway while Dunga was still in the position?

Posted by: universityandpark | August 11, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Brazil came in with a new coach and a squad of young players to build a team around for 2014.

USA came in with a lame duck coach and a haphazard, older squad put together only days before the match.

It seemed U.S. Soccer approached this more as a victory lap for the boys returning from South Africa, while Brazil's wasted no time in beginning preparation for WC2014.

Posted by: cho_kettie | August 11, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it obvious to everyone by now, after the Brazil game, that coach Bradley needs to go? That as Donovan said, we need to get to the next level. We have a coach in waiting who can take us there. His name is, Jurgen Klinsmann. What's the problem with Gulati and USSF? Don't they ever get it????

Posted by: drphillips44 | August 11, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, too, if we could take opportunities like this friendly to find/develop some better commentators.

If I could program my TV to mute every time one of Harkes / Lalas / Foudy (don't think she was even on, but she still deserves a mention) speak, I'd be a happier man.

Posted by: cray | August 11, 2010 12:52 PM

Hey, turn on the England match (FS+) and you can hear Martin Tyler again

Posted by: Kev29 | August 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm now convinced it's not if, but when, as far as Bob Bradley's termination. I put the over/under at September 1st. We still have a couple of friendlies left before the end of the year...the new coach needs to be in place for those.

Posted by: soccerman | August 11, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

We still have a couple of friendlies left before the end of the year...the new coach needs to be in place for those.
__________________________________________

The odds of having a new (permanent) coach in place by October are very slim indeed. And of course, an interim coach would accomplish little in terms of building toward 2014, unless that person eventually gets the job on a permanent basis.

Posted by: universityandpark | August 11, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

We have a coach in waiting who can take us there. His name is, Jurgen Klinsmann. What's the problem with Gulati and USSF? Don't they ever get it????

Posted by: drphillips44 | August 11, 2010 2:39 PM
_________________________________________

I have yet to see convincing evidence that Klinsi would be particularly interested. (He's turned down the job at least once previously.) In addition, he almost surely has other attractive options.

Posted by: universityandpark | August 11, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

someone said they needed a right back?

Posted by: rightback | August 11, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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