Youthful MNT Falls 2-0 to No. 3 Ranked Brazil in Kickoff Series Opener

Testing itself against some of the best nations in the world, a U.S. Men’s National Team side averaging just over 23 years old battled hard, but ultimately fell 2-0 to No. 3-ranked Brazil in Friday’s Kickoff Series opener at MetLife Stadium.
U.S. MNT - Tyler Adams
U.S. MNT - Tyler Adams

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Sept. 7, 2018) — Testing itself against some of the best nations in the world, a U.S. Men’s National Team side averaging just over 23 years old battled hard, but ultimately fell 2-0 to No. 3-ranked Brazil in Friday’s Kickoff Series opener at MetLife Stadium.

Despite some good early play, the experienced Brazil side, which had an average age of nearly 27 years old, jumped ahead in the 11th minute as Douglas Costa sped down the right flank and centered a well-placed cross for Roberto Firmino to volley home at the back post. The U.S. worked its way back into things when a series of corners led to its best chance of the first half as Weston McKennie’s close-range effort was only turned away by a desperation slide from Casemiro in the 34rd minute.

Just as the U.S. came close to equalizing, Brazil doubled its advantage through a dubious penalty call. Fabinho flailed in the box as he tried to work his way between Wil Trapp and John Brooks. Referee Fernando Guerrero pointed to the spot, where Neymar slotted a low effort past Zack Steffen in the 44th minute. 

Steffen continued the strong form he showed during the MNT’s 1-1 draw with France back in June as he was forced into two stops on Douglas Costa and Neymar early in the second half.

Those saves helped settle the MNT before the entry of Kellyn Acosta and Tim Weah reinvigorated the U.S. attack. Acosta’s 65th minute free kick picked out McKennie whose subsequent one-time volley went just wide of the Brazil goal. In the 72nd minute, Weah alertly cut back a ball for Wil Trapp, with the captain’s low effort from distance forcing Brazil goalkeeper Alisson to push it out for a corner kick.

The MNT continues the Kickoff Series with USA-Mexico, presented by AT&T, on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. The next chapter of the region’s most storied rivalry begins at 7:30 p.m. CT with ESPN and Univision covering the action.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
BRA – Roberto Firmino (Douglas Costa), 11th minute: After some even spells of possession between the two sides, some nice passing and a bit of speed helped Brazil pull ahead. Playing the ball around midfield, Marquinhos slotted it to Douglas Costa on the right who took one touch before speeding down the flank. The Juventus attacker measured a pinpoint cross for Roberto Firmino at the back post who one-timed his effort from close range past Zack Steffen. USA 0, BRA 1

BRA – Neymar (penalty kick), 43rd minute: Brazil was awarded a controversial penalty after Fabinho gained entry into the box on the right before falling gracefully as he tried to penetrate between Wil Trapp and John Brooks. Neymar stepped up and slotted a low penalty to the right of Steffen to take a two-goal advantage into the locker room. USA 0, BRA 2 FINAL

Key Save and Defensive Plays:
BRA – Casemiro, 34th minute: The USA nearly pulled level via a corner kick. A well-served ball from Will Trapp on the right found John Brooks, whose header at the six-yard box was deflected before falling for Weston McKennie. The midfielder took a touch to his left before firing a shot, but saw the effort deflect out for a corner kick by Casemiro.

USA – Antonee Robinson and Zack Steffen, 39th minute: After a series of U.S. corners, Brazil pushed back again as a ball over the top saw Philippe Coutinho break into the box on the left before a nifty back heel for Neymar. The PSG attacker centered looking for Roberto Fimino, but the ball found its way back to Coutinho whose measured effort was turned away by Robinson. Fabinho collected the rebound and a right-footed rocked which was turned away by Steffen.

USA – Zack Steffen, 47th minute: Brazil broke out quickly after a U.S. corner, with Douglas Costa’s centering pass turned away by Yedlin. The forward collected the ball on the right again and tried to pick out Roberto Firmino with a low through ball, but Steffen was quick to get down and paw it away.

USA – Zack Steffen and Matt Miazga, 51st minute: Douglas Costa continued to show his attacking prowess, working his way down the right before cutting inside to thread a pass for Neymar at the left post. The Brazil captain one-timed his effort, but Steffen caught it with his left. As the ball slowly trickled behind him, Miazga came through with a timely goal-line clearance.

BRA – Alisson, 72nd minute: The U.S. nearly cut into the lead when substitute Tim Weah held up the ball on the left before cutting back for Wil Trapp. The MNT captain took one touch before blasting a low effort from distance that was destined for the left corner before Alisson’s diving save put the ball out for a corner kick.

Additional Notes:

  • The MNT Starting XI had an average age of 23 years 117 days, marking the fifth-straight match the U.S. lineup has averaged under 24 years. Brazil’s starting XI came in with an average of 26 years, 326 days.
  • Making his seventh MNT appearance, Wil Trapp captained the side for the fifth time tonight. Trapp has worn the armband in every U.S. match this year except for the 3-0 win against Bolivia on May 28.
  • Trapp and Tyler Adams made their team-leading fifth appearances of 2018. 
  • Both starting center back John Brooks and substitute midfielder Kellyn Acosta made their first MNT appearances since the team’s 1-1 draw at Portugal on Nov. 14, 2017. 
  • With teams allowed to dress 20 players and make six substitutions, goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, defenders Aaron Long and Shaq Moore and forward Andrija Novakovich were healthy scratches from the matchday squad.
  • The USA has a 1-18-0 all-time mark against Brazil. The MNT’s lone victory came in a 1-0 win in the Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals on Feb. 10, 1998 in Los Angeles. 

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Brazil
Date: September 7, 2018
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: MetLife Stadium at East Rutherford, N.J.
Attendance: 32,489
Kickoff: 8:06 p.m. ET
Weather: 74 degrees; Cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1        2        F                                               
USA                       0        0        0
BRA                       2        0        2

BRARoberto Firmino (Douglas Costa) 11th minute
BRA – Neymar                                      44

USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Matt Miazga, 6-John Brooks, 17-Antonee Robinson; 20-Wil Trapp (capt.) (10-Cristian Roldan, 83); 14-Paul Arriola (23-Kellyn Acosta, 55), 4-Tyler Adams, 8-Weston McKennie (25-Marky Delgado, 83), 16-Julian Green (11-Tim Weah, 55); 7-Bobby Wood (9-Gyasi Zardes, 70)
Subs Not Used: 22-Alex Bono, 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 10-Cristian Roldan, 15-Eric Lichaj, 21-Tim Parker
Head coach: Dave Sarachan

BRA: 1-Alisson, 2-Thiago Silva (3-Dede, 80), 5-Casemiro, 6-Filipe Luis, 7-Douglas Costa (19-Willian, 61), 10-Neymar (capt.) (21-Everton, 80) 11-Philippe Coutinho (17-Lucas Paqueta, 70), 13-Marquinhos, 14-Fabinho, 18-Fred (15-Arthur, 60), 20-Roberto Firmino (9-Richarlison, 75)
Subs Not Used:12-Neto, 24-Hugo, 4-Felipe, 16-Alex Sandro, 22-Eder Militao, 23-Andreas Pereira
Head coach: Tite

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 11 / 12
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 12
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Andres Hernandez Delgado (MEX)
4th Official: Ivan Barton (SLV)

Budweiser Man of the Match: John Brooks