A youthful US national team went toe to toe with a first-choice Brazil squad on Friday, as the South Americans cruised to a 2-0 win at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The friendly, beginning the "Kickoff Series" for the USMNT to begin the cycle for the 2022 World Cup, looked like a mismatch on paper, and to an extent, it proved to be. But the US, still in transition after failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, were up for the game against Brazil, who under manager Tite effectively played a full-strength lineup. In spite of the effort, two miscues led to the home side falling on the night.
Brazil opened the scoring just 11 minutes in, as Douglas Costa played a beautiful cross that was tapped in by Roberto Firmino. The visitors had a chance to double their lead in the 39th minute, but a save from Zack Steffen and some nervy-if-successful defending from the USMNT kept the Brazilians from tallying again.
But the home side wasn't as fortunate a few minutes later, as Fabinho drew a penalty from Wil Trapp while he slalomed into the box. Neymar converted the subsequent spot kick to make it 2-0 before halftime.
After the break, the US needed to rely on emergency defending again, as Neymar's stinging shot off a back-post run was partially blocked by Steffen, before Matt Miazga cleared the bouncing ball off the line.
And while the Americans managed a few weak shots, their best looks in attack came on set pieces, but despite a few near misses they couldn't find the breakthrough to get on the board.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The US have been playing marquee opponents this year, and to their credit, while they didn't get a result they were up for the challenge and if they didn't play as well as they did it could have been a rout. This will be a learning opportunity and a chance for the squad to get some experience before competitive games start again.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The opening goal was a terrific team play, and Brazil showed how much faster they were in thought and execution.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: He "only" scored a penalty, but Neymar was the danger man all night and in addition to the flashy footwork shown for the MetLife crowd, he probably should have had at least another goal.
- USA: Tuesday, September 11 vs. Mexico (8:30 pm ET | ESPN - TV & streaming info)