Tuesday, September 11, 2007

US Falls to Brazil

I've been delaying writing this article, as I've had a difficult time deciding how to view the game. The US had bright moments, but ended up giving up 4 goals to the number one ranked Brazil. Of course it was the number 1 ranked team in the world, and the US held their own for quite a bit of the game. Although for many parts of the game, it didn't look like Brazil was actually trying and only turned it on when they needed to.

These are some of the things that have been going through my head when I look at the game and try to decide how the US played.

In the end I think I've decided that it was a good performance by the US. There were moments when the US was definitely outclassed by the Brazilians, but there were moments when it looked like the US could get at least a draw out of the game. In fact, if not for a poor non call on a PK, the US could very well have gotten a 3-3 draw out of the game.

The US had the lead at 1-0 on a Carlos Bocanegra goal off of a corner kick. An Oguchi Onyewu own goal leveled the score. The first controversial call came right before half time when Robinho beat two players in the corner and was driving along the end line and then flopped over Onyewu's foot. Robinho was in the air diving before he even made it to Onyewu. He got a yellow for the attempt. Brazil took the lead off of a corner. The goal was scored by Lucio.

The US had chance to equalize when a Heath Pearce shot was parried by Brazil's goalkeeper into the path of Josh Wolff, who had an empty net. Wolff, though, was tackled from behind in the box. No call was given for the foul, though replays seemed to show that it was indeed a foul. A great give and go by Wizard, Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan set Steve Cherundolo free down the right. He found Clint Dempsey who leveled the game at 2. Two minutes later, another controversial foul called on Bocanegra was converted by Ronaldinho to make it 3-2. I never saw a replay of the foul, but from what I've been told there was no foul there. Brazil finished the scoring in second half stoppage time on an Elano penalty kick, after a Michael Bradley foul.

The foul by Bradley was the one real blemish on his performance. Bradley played fantastic today and showed that he's definitely a midfielder for the future. The other player that shown was Tim Howard. Howard made some big saves to keep the US in the game. He even continued to play after he dislocated his left ring finger on Brazil's second goal when he hit the cross bar.

As for the 3 Wizards called in for the match, Eddie Johnson, Davy Arnaud, and Kerry Zavagnin, none of the 3 started. Johnson came on in the 70th minute for former Wizard, Josh Wolff. Johnson didn't do a whole lot, but his great play with Donovan on Dempsey's goal was great, one of the nicer goals I've seen the US score. Arnaud got his first US cap when he came on in the 86th for Pearce to give the US more attacking options. Arnaud showed the hustle and heart that he's shown for the Wizards for years. He did well, earning the US a corner just after coming on, and tracking back and making a great tackle on a Brazilian counter as the US searched for the equalizer. Overall I think that Arnaud has earned himself another chance to come into camp and get a cap.

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