This is the first real test for this young American squad as they embark on a six match, three month period into the fall of 2018. These are the days when the begining of a brand new World Cup Qualifying cycle starts as the main goal is to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
But their first test was facing against five time World Cup Champions Brazil. A huge task to try and go toe to toe with those famous players that wear those lemon and green trimmed shirts with the blue shorts that had the likes of Neymar, Marquinhos Thiago Silva and the next crop of young Brazilians that will prove their worth.
On this night at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ the USA fell to Brazil by a final of two goals to nil. It was an early goal conceded by the USA as it was the easiest goal that Brazil converted after the end of the World Cup.
In the 11th minute Douglas Costa dribbled down the near side of the field and breaking away from Antonee Robinson to try and catch up. Costa makes a great cross to the middle of the field and Roberto Firmino was all alone to convert for an easy tap in.
Matt Miazga was with Firmino till all of a sudden he pealed towards the front post and then Firmino went to the back post and had the freedom of the USA area to easily put in the easiest goal he will ever score.
Then towards the back end of the first half it was a spot kick that was awarded to Brazil and to be honest it was the softest call that the visitors ever got. in the 42nd Minute you saw Fabinho running with the ball and was marked by Will Trapp.
It looked like it was a fair challenge and once Fabinho walked inside the area and got in between both Trapp and John Brooks, he quickly went down with ease and then the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot.
Minimal contact from Trapp as he never grabbed Fabinho and Brooks avoided any contact as the dive happened behind them, yet the referee blew his whistle and that allowed Neymar to convert the spot kick in the 43rd minute.
But there were some solid moments in this game that you had to be proud of as Former Red Bulls Center Back Matt Miazga was able to make some solid defensive tackles to stop some attacking runs, but in the 52nd minute he helped Zack Steffen clear a ball that he stopped but not all the way as it rolled towards the goal line.
Weston McKennie could’ve had two goals himself to level the match for the USA, but his finishing failed him as he couldn’t tuck the ball into the net with his chances that he created. He broke thru the Brazil wall on free kicks, but sadly he could direct the ball inside the net.
“It was pretty evident that we had a nervous start. I thought the ability to connect passes was a difficult chore early in the game, when you concede possession against a team like Brazil it makes it hard and you do a lot of chasing.” said Interim Head Coach Dave Sarachan.
“But I think that the first goal was well executed by Brazil. We were a little late against Douglas Costa and it was terrific execution so we got punished, the penalty I didn’t see. I thought we were nervy in the first half, but a lot better in the second half.
Overall this was a great game for us to play. These types of games when you face Brazil as they challenge you in many ways that I think they can beat you on the field.”
On the Red Bulls side of things you saw Tyler Adams facing against a world class side like Brazil as he was in his defensive midfield role and even he knew this was going to be a long night. But what was his thoughts after facing a great team like Brazil.
“It’s definitely not easy you can’t really have a game plan to stop Neymar. You got to have a lot of numbers around him and stop him in spots. Same thing for Courtinho and many other players.” Said Adams.
“It felt like when they were subbing in fresh legs against us it made it more difficult to defend them, but at the end of the day you have to give credit to our outside backs. They really limited some of their guys at the end of the day. They are going to be 100% on one v one’s but that one time they beat you, so give them credit out there.
Overall what you saw in this match was Brazil being at least two to three steps ahead of this youthful squad and disrupting some passes that were overhit or under hit, but the one thing that you can say that passed a solid test was they never lost their confidence or composure.
These kids will learn from this match as tough of an opponent Brazil is, they didn’t get embarrassed nor did they give up the fight to try and convert a chance on goal. The result against France before the World Cup was great, while the loss against Brazil is not to bad as they only had one mental mistake and a poor referee decision that lead to getting scored on.
The future is bright and now we need to see how they will handle a rivalry against their old foes against Mexico as we remember the tragedy our country suffered on 9-11 as their next home game will be in Music City of Nashville, Tennessee.