US U-17s tie Brazil 0-0 in Nike Int'l Friendlies
A year after drawing 1-1 with Brazil at the Nike International Friendlies, the United States U-17 posted another solid result against the South American side, this time getting a scoreless tie on Friday in Phoenix to become joint leaders in the four-team tournament.
Possession was sporadic and play was chippy in the early stages, marked by Brazil’s Émerson earning an premature yellow card in the seventh minute for a reckless challenge on Esteban Rodriguez.
The Samba Boys had a two-on-one break in the 20th minute after a turnover by Kellyn Acosta, but right back Wallace waited too long before slotting a pass to Lucas Piazon. The extra time allowed US defender Mobi Fehr to recover and ‘keeper Fernando Piña to pounce on the striker.
As the half wore on, the Stars and Stripes ran into the match and found time and space in their offensive third.
The US had their first chance in the 27th minute, when Mario Rodriguez showed a bit of skill and was brought down 35 yards from goal. Fehr's free-kick attempt was on net but didn't trouble Brazilian netminder Guido.
Rodriguez troubled the Brazilians again seconds later, going on a slaloming run that resulted in the American striker going to the ground. Referee Nico Bratsis awarded a spot foul – although replays indicated Rodriguez may have dived – and booked the defender. The chance was wasted, however, as the free kick from just outside the box slammed into the wall.
Dillon Serna, who replaced injured Alejandro Guido, had the best chance of the half, receiving a slotted through ball from Tarik Salkicic. Alone with just the ‘keeper to beat, Serna’s attempt was denied by Guido.
The second 45 started slowly, but the US earned a chance near the hour mark. Serna chipped a ball toward the net, forcing Guido to charge out. His punch fell to Rodriguez just outside the box, and the striker sent the ball toward net, where a defender deflected it harmlessly over the touchline for a corner.
The Samba Boys responded with an attack of their own and should have scored in the 64th minute, when Mattheus had a shot at an open net until Andrew Souders saved the moment with a sliding challenge.
Rodriguez was clearly frustrating his opponents and it came to a head in the 70th minute, when Émerson took down the striker from behind. While Rodriguez was still on the ground after the whistle, Gustavo drilled the ball into the American's head. After a discussion with his assistants, the official opened his book and sent the defender off with his second warning.
Another red card followed for Brazil, who continued to show their hot-headedness as Wallace elbowed Marc Pelosi.
The Americans dominated possession with a two-man advantage and threatened but failed to find the back of the net.
United States Starting Lineup
Brazil Starting Lineup
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.