Last night a crowd of 67,619 was on hand at FedEx Field in suburban D.C. to watch the United States host Brazil in a friendly, the second friendly for the US as it prepares for CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. After a 5-1 drubbing of Scotland in Jacksonville on Saturday night, the US entered Wednesday's match with a little extra momentum, but Brazil is Brazil and they picked up two goals early in the first half, one of which was a penalty kick converted by Neymar in the 12th minute.
The US gained some ground at the end of the first half when Herculez Gomez, with some help from Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson, scored for the US.
The US played strong in the second half, with numerous shots barely missing goal or being heroically saved by Brazil's keeper Rafael, but the US was not able to pick up another goal, let alone enough goals to beat Brazil. Brazil, which was primarily fielding a U-23 Olympic squad, managed to add two more goals thanks to Marcelo in the 52nd minute and Pato in the 87th minute.
While last night's match against Brazil marked the 16th time that the US has lost to the South American powerhouse, the US side acquitted itself well. The 4-1 loss to Brazil is a small stumble in the Juergen Klinsmann era, but Wednesday's match evidenced both growth and the further need for growth by the US national team. The never die, never quit attitude of last night's US side was refreshing to see and definitely sets this squad apart from the Bruce Arena side that played in Germany in 2006. On the other hand, the US needs to learn how to defend better against sides like Brazil and needs to learn how to finish some of those excellent goal scoring opportunities that they had last night.
One thing seems clear after last night, Michael Bradly and Herculez Gomez have secured national team roster spots for the foreseeable future.
Up next for the US is a friendly against Canada on Sunday June 3rd. Meanwhile, Brazil faces Mexico at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Sunday June 3rd.