The scoreline flatters to deceive as Brazil put on a clinic against the USA. The capacity crowd of 77,723 at the Meadowlands was treated to a young Brazilian squad who played with poise, tenacity, and some talent to match. Their domination was so complete that the US could probably count on their fingers the times they had the ball.
The USA had one big shining moment in the 2nd minute after Landon Donovan cut in to take over Buddle’s pass and was a shot away from putting the ball into the net but the Brazilian defense was able to get back in time to shepherd the ball away. Donovan was definitely pushed from behind by Thiago Silva but his appeal for a spot kick was denied.
On the other end, the very impressive Neymar and Pato were dangerous every time they penetrated the defense. The former especially showed he is the face of the future with his skills on and off the ball. The duo were given acres to operate with the US defense showing no desire to put any pressure on them.
Brazil opened their scoring through Neymar nodding Andre Santos’s cross past Howard after breaking free from Jonathan Bornstein. They could have gone two up but Pato’s goal was disallowed as the AC Milan striker ran over Howard. However minutes later, there was no mistake as Pato latched onto Ramires’s heads up pass which split the porous US defense and the Milan man danced around Howard to put Brazil two up.
With Neymar and Robinho skipping, bobbing, and weaving past the US defense – it was a matter of when Brazil would be on the boards again. And it would have happened but the upright denied them twice.
The US had a goal turned down after Bradley was found offside with his header. They had their best chance of the second half when sub Herculez Gomes headed Jonathan Spector’s whipping cross towards goal but Victor, the Brazilian goalie was able to deflect it out.
Omar Gonzalez had a solid game – he was able to get in some timely tackles. Brad Guzan subbing for Howard also caught the eye saving a shot from Neymar and in stoppage time denying Andre Santos.
Landon Donovan exited to resounding applause from an appreciative audience but they were groans when his sub Robbie Findley entered the field. He showed his trademark speed but his touch was as usual, familiarly heavy. Buddle went off to Altidore who had a decent game with his physical presence posing some problems but again there was no finish.
Amongst the Brazilians, David Luiz, Benfica’s central defender played the role of a holding midfielder. Much of the midfield build up went through him. A player to watch for the future.
All in all, Mano Menezes should be quite pleased with his new look Brazil squad. For the US, there were few Confederation Cup moments. Actually, they looked a bit slow and ponderous – not the usual quick counterattacking one associates US soccer with.