LANDOVER, Md. – It went down in the books as a 4-1 exhibition loss to Brazil on Wednesday night, but US national team players were convinced that the final result didn't tell the whole story about what transpired at FedEx Field.
“It’s maybe a harsh scoreline, but in the locker room we know that it was a lot better than a 4-1 game for us," said US star midfielder Landon Donovan.
Offered US goalkeeper Tim Howard: “I’ve been in some games where 4-1, 4-0 and you feel you got pasted. Tonight wasn’t one of those games. We were dangerous on set pieces, but at the end of the day we got caught a couple of times and that’s what happens.”
WATCH: Klinsmann's post-game press conference
The goal just before halftime by US forward Herculez Gomez injected a new belief into the US team.
And even after Brazil made it 3-1 on Marcelo's goal early in the second half, the US never backed down, creating numerous opportunities foiled by goal-line clearances, the crossbar and some great saves by Brazilian debutant goalkeeper Rafael.
“Yeah, there were moments that we were unlucky," Howard said. "We hit the post, their 'keeper makes some fantastic saves that on another day we put away.
"Look, you’ve got to call a spade a spade and hold your hands up. Clearly they're a better team and we had spots where we could have created better opportunities when we had the momentum. But we didn’t do that and we got punished on the other end.”
In his postgame press conference, Klinsmann praised the US fightback even if the push to get back into the game at 2-0 and 3-1 down left the US exposed to the Brazilian counterattacks.
"I felt still at the end that if we get one goal with five or six minutes before the end of the game, we have a chance to equalize that game," the USMNT boss said. "But it is what it is.
“To be fair to them, they were sharp and they scored the goals," says US midfielder Michael Bradley, "but I think 4-1 was flattering."