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U.S. Falls to World's No. 1 Team as Ronaldinho Scores the Game-Winner to Give Brazil a 4-2 Victory


CHICAGO (Sept. 9, 2007) – The U.S. Men’s National Team jumped out to early lead and gave Brazil all they could handle, the but No. 1 ranked team in the world put their talent on display to earn a 4-2 victory in a thrilling encounter in front of a enthusiastic crowd of 43,543 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho scored a dazzling trademark free kick in the 75th minute that proved the game winner for the five-time World Champions. Clint Dempsey’s 73rd minute goal pulled the game even at 2-2, but the Ronaldinho free kick put the South American side up for good two minutes later and Elano added an insurance goal from the penalty spot in second half stoppage time.

“We were pleased with our performance but not satisfied with the result,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “We are continuing to make progress as a team, and I felt like over 90 minutes we did a much more solid job tonight. When you play against the best teams and the best players, the ability to keep raising your level to make all the plays is what makes the difference. The package is good, but it has to keep getting better.”

Brazil had the first chance of the game in the sixth minute, when Robinho fired a shot that hit the side netting. Four minutes later, Afonso found himself alone in front of goal after a quick restart, but his effort hit the right post.

Carlos Bocanegra opened the scoring in the 21st minute goal off a Landon Donovan corner kick, earning Donovan yet another place in the record books. The assist earned him his 22nd point in 2007, breaking the record set by Cobi Jones for most total points in a year. After Josh Wolff earned the corner, Donovan’s kick swerving delivery found an onrushing Bocanegra alone in the box, the defender re-directing the ball into the far side netting with his chest. The goal was Bocanegra’s seventh career international tally, and his second against Brazil.

In the 29th minute, a Ronaldinho free kick found Afonso in the box for a header, but Howard was up to the task and came up with the big save at the near post.

Brazil was finally able to solve the U.S. defense five minutes later after a nice buildup through the midfield. The sequence ended with Kaka in alone on goal, where he tried to beat Tim Howard to the far post. Howard made a fantastic reaction save, but the rebound bounced off the chest of a helpless Oguchi Onyewu and caromed into the U.S. net.

The U.S. continued to fight back, nearly taking the lead in the 37th minute when Dempsey sizzled a shot just over the crossbar. Beasley had another opportunity from 25 yards out, but his shot curled wide of the far post and the score remained level as the teams headed into the locker rooms.

The U.S. came out strong after halftime, claiming the first opportunity of the second half. Dempsey held the ball through traffic at the top of the box, and managed to break free and get a shot off, but his effort went wide left. But it was Brazil would get on the scoreboard next, Lucio heading home a Ronaldinho corner kick in the 53rd minute. Howard suffered a dislocated finger an attempting to save the shot, but the finger was reduced on the field and he stayed in the game.

Continuing to engage Brazil all over the field, the U.S. struck back in the 73rd minute. Taking a pass over to top from Donovan, Steve Cherundolo raced into the penalty area and picked out Dempsey charging through the middle. Dempsey received the pass near the penalty spot and curled a low one-timer that found the inside of the far post and evened the score at two goals apiece. The goal marked Dempsey’s second at the international level at Soldier Field, having scored his first-ever goal for the full team in the 2-1 loss to England on May 28, 2005.

The euphoria didn’t last long, with Brazil snatching the lead back just two minutes later. A suspect foul call on Bocanegra just outside the U.S. penalty area led to a dangerous free kick opportunity. With several U.S. and Brazilian players in the wall, Ronaldinho expertly found a gap and whipped a wicked curling strike past a sprawling Howard.

The U.S. pressed for an equalizer but couldn’t unlock the Brazilian defense, and the five-time World Champions picked up an insurance goal in second half stoppage time when Elano scored from the penalty spot.

The U.S. is next scheduled to play Catalonia on Oct. 14 at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain, then traveling to face Switzerland on Oct. 17 in Basel. Both October matches will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Date: September 9, 2007
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois
Kickoff: 3 p.m. CT
Attendance: 43,543
Weather: Clear, 76 degrees

Scoring Summary:
            1    2    F
USA    1    1    2
BRA    1    3    4

Scoring:
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (Landon Donovan) 21st minute.
BRA – Oguchi Onyewu (own goal) 33.
BRA – Lucio (Ronaldinho) 53.
USA – Clint Dempsey (Steve Cherundolo) 73
BRA – Ronaldinho (unassisted) 75
BRA – Elano (penalty kick) 92+

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 2-Heath Pearce (21-Davy Arnaud, 86); 4-Michael Bradley, 5-Benny Feilhaber (15-Bobby Convey, 70), 10-Landon Donovan, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 16-Josh Wolff (9-Eddie Johnson, 70); 8-Clint Dempsey
Subs not used: 24-Chris Seitz, 17-Jonathan Spector, 19-Kerry Zavagnin, 23-Jay Demerit
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

BRA: 1-Doni; 2-Maicon (13-Daniel Alves, 64), 3-Lucio (capt.), 4-Juan (14-Edu Dracena, 46), 6-Gilberto; 5-Mineiro, 8-Gilberto Silva; 7-Kaká (20-Julio Baptista, 70), 11-Robinho (19-Elano, 78), 10-Ronaldinho (21-Diego, 85); 9-Afonso (22-Vagner Love, 64)
Subs not used: 12-Julio Cesar, 15-Gladstone, 16-Kleber, 17-Fernando, 18-Josue,
Head Coach: Dunga

Stats Summary: USA BRA
Shots 11 9
Saves 3 2
Corner Kicks 5 3
Fouls 19 13
Offside 1 3

Misconduct Summary:
BRA – Robinho (caution) 45+ minute.
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 75
BRA – Gilberto (caution) 85

Officials:
Referee: Armando Archundia (MEX)
First Asst.: Hector Delgadillo (MEX)
Second Asst.: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo (USA)

Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey

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