Back to Brazil: Gold Cup Rematch
With the U.S. welcoming five-time World Cup champion Brazil to the New Meadowlands Stadium on August 10, ussoccer.com decided to take a look back at some of the best matches between the two teams over the years. Today, we review the United States’ heartbreaking overtime loss to Brazil in the 2003 Gold Cup semifinal.
Aug. 4, 2010
Starting off with four straight wins against Paraguay, El Salvador, Martinique and Cuba, the U.S. put on a clinic in team defense on their way through the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup. In the other group, Mexico had topped Brazil, setting up a rematch of the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal with the 2002 FIFA World Cup champions. With the U.S. playing tight defense and a Brazilian team that included several future stars, it was pretty clear this would shape up to be one for the ages—and it absolutely lived up to expectations.
© John Todd/isiphotos.com
Facing a strong, if young, Brazilian lineup, the U.S. was coming off their best World Cup performance since 1930—reaching the quarterfinals in Japan/Korea. Brazil had also just met the U.S. just one month earlier, defeating them 1-0 at the 2003 Confederations Cup. That match had been the seventh straight decided by one goal or less in the U.S.-Brazil series, going back to that 1994 World Cup Round of 16 match on the Fourth of July. By all accounts, the U.S. had proven time and again they could play with the World Champions and this match was no different.
Brazil came out attacking, and put the U.S. on the defensive from the opening whistle. Much like their 1998 semifinal battle, Brazil would end up with a large advantage in shots, but once again, Kasey Keller was superb in net. Keller turned away every effort in the first half and got a little help from the post in the 23rd as Kaka’s strike from 22 yards hit the woodwork.
Taking their chances when they could, the U.S. capitalized in the 62nd minute off the head of Carlos Bocanegra. In a breakout year for the U.S. Men’s National Team defender, Bocanegra scored his third international goal off a 45 yard service from Claudio Reyna. Sneaking into the box unmarked, the ball fell perfectly to Bocanegra who headed it down and into the net from six yards out.
As the match continued Brazil quickened their attack as they sensed a fading U.S. team in the humid conditions. The South Americans kept possession deep in the attacking end, looking for holes in the U.S. backline, and just when it looked like the U.S. might hold on for the win, Kaka pounced. Substitute Ewerthon dribbled into the box, cutting against Cory Gibbs to fire on frame in the 89th minute. Keller dove but couldn’t hold onto the shot and the rebound fell to a waiting Kaka who slotted it into the open goal to knot the match at one.
As both sides headed towards a golden goal overtime, the heat was clearly affecting the U.S. Taking advantage of a huge boost in momentum after scoring the last minute goal, Brazil began the first overtime continuing to press the attack. It only took 10 minutes to end the match, completing a come-from-behind win in overtime. Slicing through the defense once again, Kaka fired a shot that Keller had come out to block. The blast ricocheted off his chest back to the striker, who chose to pass to his left to an open Diego. With only Gibbs on the line in front of him, Diego placed it on goal but Gibbs stuck out his right arm to deny the effort in the 98th minute. Given a red card for preventing a certain goal, Gibbs was sent off to leave the U.S. with 10 men for the remainder of the match. Diego converted his penalty kick with a smashing shot right down the middle that fooled Keller, who dove left.
Certainly fatigue was a factor tonight,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena after the game. “Give Brazil credit, they are an excellent team with outstanding attacking players.”
With the result, the game became the eighth straight match between the two nations decided by one goal or less. Factor in the last minute goal and overtime, and the U.S. and Brazil had just created another classic in their series.
"That’s the way it goes,” said Keller, whose personal and team shutout streak in the Gold Cup ended at 801 minutes, stretching back to Jan. 2001. “It’s unfortunate (to lose), because I think we had them. We had four or five good chances to score, and they created a lot of chances too. I think the heat and the humidity were definitely a factor and by the last five minutes you could tell we were out of gas. It was a great game.”
Match: USA vs. Brazil
Date: July 23, 2003
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal
Venue: The Orange Bowl – Miami, Fla.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: 85 degrees and humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 OT1 OT2 F
USA 0 1 0 - 1
Brazil 0 1 1 - 2
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (Claudio Reyna) 62nd minute
BRA – Kaka (Ewerthon) 89
BRA – Diego (penalty) 100
USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 6-Cory Gibbs, 15-Bobby Convey; 8-Earnie Stewart (17-DaMarcus Beasley, 83), 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.) (13-Richard Mulrooney, 71), 7-Eddie Lewis; 21-Landon Donovan, 20-Brian McBride (11-Clint Mathis, 30)
Subs not used: 24-Adin Brown, 3-Greg Vanney, 19-Steve Ralston
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
BRA: 1-Gomes; 2-Maicon, 3-Luisao, 4-Alex, 5-Adriano, 6-Paulo Almeida (9-Ewerthon, 86), 7-Julio Baptista, 8-Kaka (capt.), 10-Diego, 11-Robinho (17-Carlos Alberto, 75), 15-Nilmar (16-Nadson, 81)
Subs not used: 12-Negri, 13-Coelho, 14-Andre Bahia, 18-Thiago Motta
Head Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira
Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 7 / 16
Shots on Goal: 6 / 9
Saves: 7 / 5
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 16 / 15
Offside: 2 / 5
USA – Claudio Reyna (caution) 7th minute
BRA – Nilmar (caution) 16
USA – Pablo Mastroeni (caution) 41
BRA – Adriano (caution) 61
BRA – Maicon (caution) 65
BRA – Carlos Alberto (caution) 78
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 85
USA – Cory Gibbs (sent off) 98
Referee: Carlos Batres (GUA)
First Assistant Referee: Vladimir Bertiaga (PAN)
Second Assistant Referee: Paul Messam (BAH)
Fourth Official: Jose B. Pineda (HON)