Teams around the world are in the midst of some of the most important parts of their calendar. In Europe, teams are getting ready for Euro 2012 or prepping for World Cup qualifying. Teams in Asia, Africa, CONCACAF and South America all have World Cup qualifiers in the next two weeks. There is no time off or easy summer for anyone. Well, unless you're Brazil.
As hosts of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil gets a spot in the tournament and does not have to participate in qualifying. That, along with Copa America being last year, leaves Brazil without any matches if importance until the World Cup, or maybe the 2013 Confederations Cup if you think that tournament is of any importance.
What does a team without any matches importance do? Experiment...a lot.
Dani Alves, you can stay home. The same goes for Robinho and Ramires. Without a qualifier to prepare for, Brazil has the luxury of trying out some new players or even new formations and methods of attack. Losing doesn't matter, nor does momentum. They are still two years away from a match of any importance so their results matter even less than most friendlies. Experiment away, Brazil.
Of course, it is a lot easier to experiment and try new players when you are Brazil. Even without a handful of players they still have Neymar, Hulk, Alexandre Pato and Leandro Damião in the attack. There is also this fella by the name of Thiago Silva in defense. When you have the depth of talent of Brazil being without some of your top players doesn't matter so much.
It will still be tough to get much of a read on Brazil. They can hype up the match all they want and yes, they are still Brazil so they have high expectations, but you cannot feign intensity and urgency. Brazil have none of that without an important match in the next two years. They are in an awkward place.
For more on the U.S. vs. Brazil friendly, check out the match's StoryStream, which has previews, as well as live and postgame coverage.