The United States Men's National looks to build on its 2-1 victory against Peru as it takes on Brazil on September 8th. Brazil is coming off of a 1-0 friendly victory against Costa Rica and should provide a formidable test for the U.S.
The match will serve as the USMNT's final tuneup before taking on Mexico in a Confederations Cup Playoff on October 10th.
While Brazil is still a good team, it is nowhere near as good as it has been in the past. The seleção are currently ranked 5th in the world by FIFA, but this ranking is quite generous.
The Brazilians were unimpressive in the Copa America this summer and they were eliminated by Paraguay on penalties in the quarterfinals.
Despite Brazil having 8 shots on target to Costa Rica's 0, it could only muster 1 goal in its recent friendly. While this is not the Brazil of old, the U.S. will still have its hands full. The U.S. is 1-16 against Brazil all-time and is up against a roster featuring many world class players.
Neymar is obviously Brazil's main goal scoring threat and the U.S. defense rarely faces a player who is as technically gifted as Neymar.
He has quickly become the second-best attacker for Barcelona behind only Lionel Messi and with 44 goals in 66 international matches he is on pace to become Brazil's all-time leading goalscorer.
While Neymar didn't start against Costa Rica and later told the media that he was not content with a role as a substitute, he is expected to start against the U.S.
Brazilian Coach Dunga told the media "We will use Neymar. He will be used. We brought him to get training, add competitiveness and motivation. But when it comes to a competitive player, he wants to play. We'll have a moment when we'll use him" (per Soccerway.com).
The seleção back line is led by Paris Saint-Germain star David Luiz and Real Madrid left-back Marcelo. The U.S. offense will have a tough time breaking down Brazil's physical and fast defense.
Brazil's weakest position is goalkeeper. Starting keeper Jefferson has only ever played in Turkey and Brazil and it is hard to think of many coaches would pick him ahead of Brad Guzan and Tim Howard, given the choice.
While the Brazilians may be weak at goalkeeper, they possess excellent players at every other position. The U.S. task is made tougher by the numerous players it will be missing. Fabian Johnson, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, and Timothy Chandler are all injured.
Clint Dempsey decided to pull out of the squad after talking with Jurgen Klinsmann. Matt Besler and William Yarbrough have also left the team to return to their clubs.
Klinsmann has called in Jordan Morris and Sean Johnson to replace Dempsey and Yarbrough. Additionally Michael Bradley will join the team for the match.
Despite missing many regulars, Jurgen Klinsmann will still be able to deploy a strong lineup. Left-back Tim Ream played very well against Peru and should get the nod for this match.
Michael Bradley played a full 90 minutes for Toronto this past Saturday although if he is healthy expect him to start. Aron Johannsson will likely replace Bobby Wood in the starting XI for this match. Wood was invisible against Peru and is unlikely to receive minutes in this match.
The U.S. will need to play much better against Brazil than it did against Peru. The offense looked stagnant without Dempsey and Bradley and will need to create more chances during the run of play. With Bradley back, the USMNT will have a genuine play maker that it lacked against Peru.
The defense will be key for this match, as Brazil's attack can be deadly. While the defense was adequate against Peru it showed its weakness in stoppage time when the Peruvians were applying relentless pressure.
Klinsmann will hope that the back line continues to develop chemistry that it has so often lacked in the past few months.
The U.S. is clearly the underdog in this match, but it has a chance to upset a Brazil team that is still looking to find its form. This tough game will provide Jurgen Klinsmann one last chance to assess his squad before the Confederations Cup Playoff.
While the atmosphere for this match may not be as intense as it will be in the Playoff, the USMNT's play will provide a good indication of whether it is prepared for the Mexico match.