LYON, France (Saturday, June 21, 2003) -- The U.S. Men's National Team came up a goal short in the second consecutive 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup match, falling 1-0 in front of 20,306 fans at Gerland Stadium in Lyon, France, today.
"Give Brazil credit. They took advantage of the one mistake that we made, and at the international level, that's what good teams do," said U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, whose 2003 record drops to 5-3-1 on the year. "While we're disppointed with the loss, this was a much better performance than Thursday's game."
The top-ranked team in the world, Brazil was dangerous from the outset as powerful forward Adriano, wearing the #9 jersey usually reserved for Ronaldo, played like his counterpart from the opening whistle and finished with seven of his team's 13 shots.
The first good chance for Brazil came in the 7th minute when Adriano brought down a looping pass in the penalty box with U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter on his back, quickly spun to his left and fired a shot under Berhalter's outstretched leg that went just a foot wide of the post.
Brazil then took advantage of a giveaway by Berhalter in the U.S. defensive third to get on the scoreboard in the 22nd minute. After playing the ball up and then receiving a pass right back to him, Berhalter was pressured and then dispossessed by Adriano, who raced in alone on goal. Howard came charging out and saved Adriano's initial shot with his left hand, but the rebound fell right in the path of the strong-as-an-ox striker and he slotted it home as Carlos Bocanegra tried in vain to stab at the ball as it sailed across the goal line.
Ronaldinho was also in top form as the playmaker in Brazil's 4-5-1 formation. He almost created a second goal in the 35th minute when de deftly flicked the ball to an onrushing Ricardinho, but two U.S. defenders quickly converged and forced a weak shot that was easily saved by Howard.
The first good chance for the U.S. came after Steve Cherundolo was brought down on a dribbling run a few yards outside the right side of the Brazil penalty area. Clint Mathis stepped up to take the shot, and tried to swerve it into the upper right corner, but pushed a few feet outside the post.
The U.S. has another chance to equalize in the second minute of stoppage time, as team captain Earnie Stewart sprung free on a counter-attack down the right flank. The 34-year-old midfielder outraced his defender and sent a low bouncing cross to the center of the box, where Donovan was charging in with a defender on his back. Donovan jumped up to take the ball out of the air, but his first touch sent the ball wide right of the goal as the defender clipped his trailing leg and brought him down. No penalty was called, since the ball was already across the end line when the foul occurred.
While play and possession evened out in the second half, it was Howard who kept the U.S. in the match, time and time finding a way to keep Brazil shots on goal from the back of the net.
In the 50th minute, Howard was forced to make a quick reaction save as a Ronaldinho free kick found the head of Kleberson, who snapped a shot toward the far post. Howard hit the deck to stop the shot, barely keeping it from crossing the goalline as the rest of his body lay just behind the goal line.
Ten minutes later, Howard made another huge save. After a flurry in front of the U.S. goal, Adriano laid the ball back to Alex at the top of the box, where he uncorked a blistering shot that Howard dove and barely pushed wide of the post and out for a corner kick.
The U.S. had a decent chance to tie it at 1-1 in the 71st minute when Donovan raced in on the right side of the box, and held off two defenders before drilling a low shot across the goalmouth that Dida bobbled and then smothered the rebound as DaMarcus Beasley sped in at the far post.
Howard saved another sure goal in the 76th minute when he got a good jump and stretched to push a perfect, bending 25-yard free kick from Ronaldinho right over the crossbar.
The 24-year-old keeper, who finished with five saves, earned Chevrolet Man of the Match honors for the second consecutive match for his efforts.
The U.S. finishes opening round play against Cameroon on Monday (June 23) live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker at 3 p.m. ET and via Same Day Delay broadcast on Galavision at 9 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. PT.
In the first Group B match of the day, Cameroon stole a 1-0 win over Turkey on a penalty kick that midfielder Geremi converted in the 91st minute after second-half sub Joseph-Desire Job was brought down in the area. With today's results, Cameroon leads the group with six points, followed by Turkey and Brazil tied for second with three points, and the U.S. in last with zero points. Turkey and Brazill will play for the other semi-final spot on Monday, with the match broadcast via Same Day Delay on Galavision at 7 p.m. ET / PT.
In Group A action, France slipped by Japan 2-1 in a well-played match in Saint-Etienne, while Colombia came back from a 1-0 defecit and scored three goals in the final 31 minutes to defeat New Zealand 3-1 in Lyon. France leads the group with six points, with Colombia and Japan are tied for second with three points and New Zealand in fourth with zero points. Colombia and Japan will battle it out for second place in Group A and a semi-final spot tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT live on Univision.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: United States vs. Brazil
Competition: 2003 Confederations Cup – Group B Opening Round
Venue: Gerland Stadium – Lyon, France
Date: June 21, 2003 – 9 p.m. (local) / 3 p.m. ET
Weather: 72 degrees; warm, clear
1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
Brazil 1 0 1
BRA – Adriano (unassisted) 22nd minute.
USA: 18-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 3-Gregg Berhalter, 12-Carlos Bocanegra, 23-Cory Gibbs (15-Bobby Convey, 78); 4-Pablo Mastroeni (20-Taylor Twellman, 84), 8-Earnie Stewart (Capt.), 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 22-Chris Klein (7-Eddie Lewis, 57), 10-Landon Donovan; 11-Clint Mathis.
Subs Not Used: 1-Joe Cannon, 19-Marcus Hahnemann; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 5-Greg Vanney, 9-Jovan Kirovski, 13-Kyle Martino, 14-Chris Armas, 16-Dan Califf, 21-Jeff Cunningham.
Manager: Bruce Arena.
BRA: 1-Dida; 2-Belleti (13-Maurinho, 70), 3-Lucio, 4-Juan, 16-Kleber; 5-Emerson (Capt.), 7-Ronaldinho, 8-Kleberson, 10-Ricardinho, 20-Alex (11-Gil, 73); 9-Adriano (21-Ilan, 89).
Subs Not Used: 12-Julio Cesar, 23-Fabio; 6-Gilberto, 14-Fabio Luciano, 15-Edu Dracena, 17-Eduardo Costa, 18-Dudu, 19-Adriano de Souza, 22-Luis Fabiano.
Head Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira.
Shots 6 13
Saves 5 1
Corner Kicks 3 5
Fouls 17 17
Offside 4 6
USA – Steve Cherundolo (caution) 63rd minute.
BRA – Belleti (caution) 69.
USA – Earnie Stewart (caution) 72.
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 79.
BRA – Gil (caution) 89.
Referee: Lucilio Cardoso Batista (Portugal)
Assistant Referee #1: Paulo Januario (Portugal)
Assistant Referee #2: Jose Silva (Portugal)
Fourth Official: Coffi Codjia (Benin)
Chevrolet Man of Match: Tim Howard