Despite playing with their under-23 team plus a couple of older players in advance of this summer's Olympics, Brazil showed why they are Brazil in a thorough 4-1 beating of the U.S. It was not an embarrassment by any means for the U.S., and they had their fair share of bright spots, but there is no doubt who the better team was at FedEx Field on Wednesday night.
A harsh penalty call put the U.S. behind the 8-ball early. A Brazilian shot caught Oguchi Onyewu on the arm and the the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Onyewu's arm was extended just a bit, so nobody would say the ref was in the wrong, but it was a bit harsh for the U.S. Neymar converted the penalty and the U.S was trailing after just 12 minutes.
Brazil continued to attack and while Tim Howard did well to deny Leandro Damião, who was in alone on goal, he couldn't do anything about Thiago Silva's header. Onyewu and Jermaine Jones failed to communicate on a corner kick and the result was an unmarked Silva at the near post. There was no chance that Silva would blow that opportunity and he didn't, heading home to double the Brazil lead.
The rest of the half saw more Brazilian domination, but the U.S. did have their moments, usually through Fabian Johnson and Michael Bradley. So when the U.S. finally did score, it was no surprise that those two were at the center of it.
Just before halftime, Bradley played a tremendous ball in for Johnson, who was coming in down the left. In behind the defense, Johnson got the ball just before it got to the end line and crossed. The cross was deflected, but it bounced up right to Herculez Gomez, who nodded the ball into the open net and the U.S. was back in the match at 2-1.
The second half started looking a lot like the first, with Brazil controlling possession and putting the U.S. on the back foot. Seven minutes into the half, they got their two-goal lead back when Neymar got free down the left before dragging back for a wide open Marcelo. He knocked the ball into the open net and Brazil were up 3-1.
Once down 3-1, the U.S. really began to push forward and it paid off in chances. It helped that Brazil got a little complacent and Jurgen Klinsmann made substitutions that gave the U.S. a more attacking team, but credit goes to the Americans for creating the chances.
The U.S. forced Rafael into several excellent saves, denying Gomez, Terrence Boyd and Michael Bradley when all three times it looked like the Americans were sure to get a goal. Even when the U.S. beat Rafael, they couldn't get a goal, though. On one occasion Rafael was beat, but the ball hit the crossbar. On another, Clint Dempsey just had to tap the ball over the line, but a scrambling defense saw Brazil just barely knock the ball away before Dempsey could get a foot to it.
With the U.S. pressing forward, though, they were exposed at the back and that came back to bite them. Well, that and playing Onyewu, who was dreadful all match.
Brazil broke quickly in the 87th minute and caught the U.S. just a little bit out. Eventually, the ball popped out to Marcelo on the left, who hit a delightful chip over to Alexandre Pato on the right, who was only onside because of Onyewu. The onside Pato then took one touch to settle before ripping a shot past Howard, and that was that.
The scoreboard didn't accurately reflect the match because the U.S. should have had two or three goals, but then again, Brazil should have had six or seven. Whatever the scoreboard said, one thing was clear -- Brazil was just simply better than the U.S., and if you're the U.S., that's hardly something to be ashamed of. After all, they're Brazil.
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.