It was a beautiful Friday evening in New Jersey to witness the most successful footballing nation go up against a USA team with a mixture of youth and experience. Both teams are coming off a difficult summer which saw Brazil being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the World Cup and the U.S. failing to qualify.

Brazil started with a strong 11 led by recently appointed captain Neymar. Brazil started out the with most of the possession in the opening five minutes while the USA sat back looking to break on the counter-attack. Douglas Costa was constantly a threat down on the right side cutting inside and out.

The deserved opener came in the 11′ minute when Costa again picked up the ball wide on the right side and pushed it past his marker. He then played a beautiful ball to Roberto Fermino who made no mistake from six yards out.

The Americans tried their best to possess the ball but it was slow and predictable. At times it looked like the red, white, and blue missed having an experienced player or two in the middle. Brazil continued to possess the ball with little to show in terms of chances created. Neymar was effective at times but continued to slow the game down while Philippe Coutinho was overdoing the same things.

USA vs Brazil USMNT
Americans Matt Miazga, John Brooks, and Weston McKennie prepare to defend a set piece against Brazil in their first international friendly match of their USA Kickoff Series (Hakim Wright/TPR)

Brazil raised the level as the half went on and was awarded a soft penalty in the 44′ minute after a nice 1:2 between Costa and Fabinho which resulted in the Liverpool man going down very easily in the box. Neymar calmly walked up and sent the keeper the wrong way.

The second half was much better from both teams which saw Brazil continue to dominate and the USA trying to play instead of sitting back. Neymar got more involved, moving around the pitch and changing positions with Costa and Firmino.

Both teams looked to add some spark in the second half and made four substitutions each, giving some of the younger players such as Kellyn Acosta and Tim Weah a chance to show what they got. Weah was lively and sought to impress in his hometown.

The final 12 mins saw the USA create a few half chances while Brazil continued to possess the ball from left to right. The USA is in rebuilding mode while Brazil is still trying to find the right mix moving into the Copa America where they will host.


-Mike Brown

Photo: Hakim Wright

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