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Back to Brazil: The Start of the Series

As two of the first federations to join FIFA, Brazil and the United States started out on similar soccer tracks. Both nations participated in the first FIFA World Cup in 1930, held in Uruguay, though the U.S. advanced out of their group and into the semifinals while Brazil failed to escape group play.

Made up of players plying their trade in the American Soccer League, a vibrant, active national league in the 20’s and 30’s, the U.S. team was indeed a true national team as opposed to one club representing the country. Supported most often by factories and companies whose employees would play on the team, many of the clubs (such as the Fall River Marksmen) grace the list of U.S. Open Cup winners with multiple titles in their history.

Amateurs or not however, the U.S. surprised many experts with their stellar group performance in the World Cup, dispatching Belgium 3-0 before shutting out Paraguay by an identical scoreline. Advancing out of their group and to the semifinals, the U.S. faced Argentina in Montevideo, playing the Argentines close in the first half but eventually falling 6-1 after an onslaught of goals in the second.

Following the tournament, the U.S. team extended their South American tour with four friendlies against club teams and one match against the Brazilian national team. The first game was against Nacional Club at Central Park in Montevideo on August 2, Uruguay in a match the U.S. lost. The next day saw them take on C.A. Peñarol, losing to the Uruguayan club 4-1.

Taking their tour to Brazil, the U.S. met Santos FC and drew them 3-3. Their final club friendly was against Sao Paulo FC, and a sold-out crowd saw an exciting match that ended with a 5-3 loss for the Americans.

Moving onto bigger things, the U.S. then prepared to take on fellow World Cup qualifier Brazil in Rio de Janiero. Both sides came to play, starting off their storied history in exciting fashion.

A goal by Preguinho and Carvalho Leite put Brazil up 2-0 and heading towards an early victory, but Bert Patenaude (who scored the first-ever hat trick in a World Cup by notching all three against Paraguay) pulled one back to cut the lead in half. Brazil went ahead once more off the foot of Doca to take a 3-1 lead into halftime, but the U.S. wasn’t finished yet.

Another goal by Brazil begged to differ however, as Theofilo put the home team up 4-1 as the second half began. But a resilient U.S. team clawed their way back into the game, and Billy Gonsalves cut the deficit to 4-2. Patenaude scored again to make it 4-3, but despite the momentum, the U.S. failed to find another—putting the first match between the U.S. and Brazil down as a 4-3 loss for the young United States national team.

On the field for USA
Aug. 17, 1930 – Alvaro Chaves Stadium – Rio de Janiero, Brazil
USA        3     Bert Patenaude (2), Billy Gonsalves
Brazil     4     Preguinho, Carvalho Leite, Doca, Theofilo

USA: Jimmy Douglas (NY Nationals), Alec Wood (Detroit Holley Carburetor), George Moorhouse (NY Giants), Jimmy Gallagher (NY Nationals), Billy Gonsalves (Fall River Marksmen), Phil Slone (NY Giants), James Brown (NY Giants), Andy Auld (Providence Clamdiggers), Bert Patenaude (Fall River Marksmen), Mike Bookie (Cleveland Slavia), Tom Florie (New Bedford Whalers) (capt.)
Head Coach: Robert Millar
Referee: Virgilio Fedrighi (BRA)