Following confidence-building wins against Italy and Scotland, the U.S. lost its first match of 2012 on Wednesday. Though the final score was 4-1, it was a friendly and against Brazil (albeit its youthful Olympic team), so if U.S. fans repeat those two facts over and over for several minutes it should be easy to resume feeling optimistic.
If there was one moment worth remembering for the home supporters, it was, of course, the U.S.'s only goal of the match. Scored just before halftime after Brazil took an early 2-0 lead with a Neymar penalty given on a questionable handball call and an all too easy Thiago Silva header off a corner, the U.S. struck back when Michael Bradley put a perfect pass into the box for Fabian Johnson, who set up (with the help of a deflection from a Brazil defender) Herculez Gomes for a header from point-blank range. It was a lovely combination from the trio that was most impressive for the U.S. throughout the game and reason to be hopeful for the Bradley/Johnson glory days to come.
In the second half, the U.S. had a number of close calls, but Brazil just proved to be too good -- capitalizing on the U.S.'s defensive errors and benefiting from goalkeeper Rafael's exceptional debut. Goals from Marcelo and injury-plagued second-half sub Pato finished off the match and ensured the U.S. wouldn't go into the start of World Cup qualifying too over confident.
"We need to get an edge more nastier," said perturbed U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann after the game. "Maybe we're a little bit still too naive, maybe we don't want to hurt people. But that's what you gotta do."
And now that the U.S. fans have at least pretended to move on, here are the full match highlights for Brazil supporters...
- Sports & Recreation