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United States vs. Brazil: Continental Classic: Final Score 1-1 as USMNT Comes from Behind in Orlando

Christian Pulisic’s free kick goal earned the U.S. a draw against world power Brazil at Camping World Stadium.



Michael Citro, The Mane Land

The United States Men’s National Team fell behind early but Christian Pulisic’s free kick goal helped the Yanks draw South American giants Brazil 1-1 in front of an announced crowd of 60,016 at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Matt Turner set a new career high with the national team with 11 saves, eclipsing his previous best of eight, and although his turnover led to Brazil’s goal, Turner had a strong game stopping shots.

With the draw, the United States snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Seleção, the team’s longest losing streak against any country.

USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said he was happy with the way the team responded to Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Colombia.

“We talked to the guys before the game and we just asked two things from them. We asked for teamwork and intensity,” Berhalter said. “And the way we framed it is (these are) two things that are totally in their control. It doesn’t matter about the opponent. It doesn’t matter about the field, or the fans, or anything. Those are the two things they can control. And that’s the type of effort that we saw today. We feel like we made a little step. It’s not a huge step, but it’s a little step to be able to play against an amazingly talented Brazil team and bend but not break. I think give them problems as well, push them as well. So for us, looking at it, we think it’s a good end to our preparation camp and we’re ready for Copa America.”

Berhalter’s starting lineup included Turner in goal behind a back line of Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Chris Richards, and Joe Scally. The midfield in the team’s 4-3-3 consisted of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Gio Reyna behind a forward line of Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi, and Tim Weah.

The U.S. started brightly, creating the first two chances of the game. Musah was unlucky not to score just five minutes in as his cannon shot from long range hit the crossbar, bounced down and somehow stayed out.

A minute later, Pulisic made a nice move to cut through traffic into space and fired a shot from outside the area, but Alisson made a diving save.

Brazil grew more into the match after that and created the next couple of chances. The first fell to Rodrygo at the top of the 18. His shot didn’t have much pace on it and was right at Turner for the comfortable save in the seventh minute. A minute later, Vinicius Jr. had a shot from the top of the box on the right but he missed the target.

A nice play by Pepi created an attacking chance for Weah in the 12th minute. The winger cut in from the right side and fired with his left but it went straight at Alisson.

Vinicius Jr. cut inside and fired two minutes later, but the shot was partially deflected, making for an easy scoop for Turner. The goalkeeper then made a save on Vinicius Jr. after Musah turned the ball over moments later. Turner then made a much more difficult save in the 17th minute on the Brazilian speedster, who roasted Richards down the right side of the U.S. defense.

Brazil broke through on the ensuing restart. Turner’s pass into the middle was picked off, igniting the Brazilian counterattack. Rodrygo got in behind on the left thanks to a great diagonal pass, and he placed his shot well, beating Turner to make it 1-0.

The teams exchanged shots in the 20th minute, with Weah cutting in and firing right at Alisson for an easy save. Lucas Paqueta then fired over the bar at the other end.

Turner got away with a big mistake in the 22nd minute. Caught between two minds, he stopped his charge off the line, allowing Brazil to get to the ball first at the top of the area. The ball went left and Turner recovered to force a corner kick. Ream cleared the set piece cross to take the heat off.

Pulisic got to the top of the area in the 24th minute and was fouled hard. Although it appeared to happen right on the line at the top of the 18-yard box, Honduran referee Said Martinez indicated a free kick just outside the box. No matter, because Pulisic smashed a low shot into the bottom left corner, beating Alisson and making it 1-1 in the 26the minute.

“It was so close, it was going to be tough to get it over the wall,” Pulisic said. “And I just saw a bit of an opening.”

The pace of the game slowed a bit after the equalizer, including a hydration break a few minutes later. Brazil sent a couple of long-range attempts well over Turner’s goal in the five-minute span between the 35th and 40th minutes and the U.S. overcooked a couple of crosses in that same time period. A ball forward in the 42nd minute for Rodrygo was well shepherded by Richards, allowing Turner to collect. Pulisic sent a weak header to Alisson a minute later.

The game ground almost to a halt over the final few minutes of the half and the three minutes of injury time, and the teams went to the break all tied up.

The stats were pretty even at halftime, although Brazil held much more of the possession (60.8%-39.2%). The visitors also had more shots (8-6) and corners (2-0), while the U.S. put more shots on target (5-4).

Brazil controlled even more of the ball to start the second half, pushing the U.S. defensive block lower and keeping all 10 outfield players in the Americans’ half for long stretches. This got Brazil’s fullbacks more involved in the attack and Wendell bombed forward and smashed a shot from a tight angle on the left into the outside netting in the 50th minute.

Brazil initially won a dangerous free kick a minute later on the game’s most bizarre play. Richards appeared to commit a foul just outside the semicircle at the top of the penalty area and was booked. Before Brazil took the set piece, the referee went to the monitor, presumably to check to see if Richards was the last defender and should therefore be sent off. Martinez instead deemed that the play was clean, giving the U.S. the ball back and rescinding the yellow card he had shown the U.S. defender.

Moments later, the Brazilians sent an attack up the left that ended in an overhead kick by Rodrygo that sailed just wide. Wendell then sent a shot over the bar in the 59th minute.

The goalkeeper traded fantastic saves in the 67th and 68th minutes. Second-half sub Endrick blazed past Ream down Brazil’s right channel and smashed a shot that Turner saved. He was able to jump on the rebound before an opponent could arrive. Seconds later on the other end, McKennie picked out Pulisic’s trailing run. The captain was wide open but Alisson made an outstanding save to keep the game level.

Rodrygo created a good shot from a bad angle on the left in the 74th minute with a quickly released and cheeky shot with his right. Turner got a hand up at the last second to make a huge save.

The U.S. could have taken the lead in the 83rd minute off a throw-in. Pulisic did well to get the ball at the end line and centered for substitute Brenden Aaronson. However, the winger’s point-blank shot was too close to Alisson, who made a big reaction save. Three minutes later, Pulisic tried a shot from the left but sent his attempt inches wide of the right post.

In the final minutes, Brazil sent a couple of hopeful attempts at Turner and couldn’t do much with a series of corner kicks. Pulisic had one opportunity for the U.S. with a steal in the attacking half, but he was pulled back by a defender. The ref let the U.S. play on but Pulisic only made it about another step and a half before having the ball knocked away and Martinez did not pull the play back for a free kick on the foul. Instead, he gave Brazil a free kick at the other end on the ensuing attack. Turner punched the delivery away.

Ultimately, the U.S. survived the late pressure and earned a hard-fought draw with a tough Brazilian side.

Brazil ended up dominating the stat sheet, finishing with the advantage in possession (60.9%-39.1%), shots (25-12), shots on target (12-7), and corners (9-0). The crowd was a record for a USMNT match in the state of Florida.

“I think it was just a willingness to defend, get numbers behind the ball in transition, getting numbers back, just just a lot smarter, not losing balls in the wrong areas and just giving them easy opportunities. And yeah, just a team spirit,” Pulisic said about his team’s performance vs. Saturday’s game. “A willingness to also suffer at times and then find our chances. So, definitely a big step in the right direction.”

“If we could play with those two teams, we could play with pretty much any team in the (Copa America) tournament,” Richards said. “Of course, every team is going to bring new challenges, but I think tonight especially gives us a lot of confidence.”

The next time the USMNT takes the pitch will be June 23 in Arlington, TX, against Bolivia in the 2024 Copa America.


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