New England Soccer Today

A Rude Awakening

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – While the United States were not expecting a victory – or even a draw – in their final match before next month’s Confederations Cup Playoff with Mexico, the players got a rude awkening as Brazil toppled the United States 4-1 at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday.

While the United States hung around in the first half, limiting the damage to a single goal by Hulk in the 9th minute, Brazil broke open the game in the 51st minute on a penalty kick, and added two goals in the 64th and 67th minute.

In the span of a little over 20 minutes at the start of the second half, the Americans were dominated in an embarrassing one-sided affair. In the aftermath, the players were humbled by the defeat.

“If anything, [the loss is] a motivation thing and we need to step our game up and everybody needs to work hard and leave it on the field,” said defender and Attleboro, Mass. native Geoff Cameron.

United States Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann backed that statement, as he gave credit to the world-class Brazil squad. Klinsmann stated after the game that he wasn’t concerned about the result, but stressed he hoped his players would re-watch the game, providing additional motivation and a lesson for the future.

“For us, it was a huge learning curve…I’m not mad at anybody, it was just the tempo that [Brazil] set and we couldn’t go that tempo.”

It was only a few short months ago the United States defeated the Netherlands and Germany in friendlies, showing the Americans could compete with the world’s best and were a team on the rise.

However, an upset by Jamaica in an already disappointing Gold Cup campaign has taken the air out of the Americans’ tires, and to be picked apart by Brazil on their home turf may finally be the wake-up call that the United States need to step up their performance for Mexico.

“We know that the Mexico game is a final, and that everybody has to know they have to bring 100% in that game. And today, we don’t want to lose that game, but it’s a lesson,” said midfielder Jermaine Jones. “Everybody is a little bit upset, but it’s a friendly. We don’t want to lose it, but now we have to concentrate on our club teams and October 10th. It’s only one game and we want to win that.”

For most players, the team sees this as a pit stop on the road to the Mexico game. The result is undoubtedly disappointing and, to a degree, embarrassing, but the players hope to learn from the match and improve their game for when it matters.

“We have to have a short memory with this but we have to learn we can’t come out flat footed, we got to want to get involved, we got to move, we got to tackle, get stuck-in and be aggressive,” Cameron said. “Because we know Mexico is a team that likes to move the ball and keep possession, but if we make it very difficult and physical and don’t let them get their imprint on the game and flow of the game, it will be better for us.”

Perhaps this was the wake-up call the United States needed. Perhaps the friendlies against South American sides have helped them get accustomed to faster, stronger sides from their Gold Cup competition. Perhaps the friendlies were just for Klinsmann to experiment for final decisions before next month’s play-in game for the Confederations Cup.

But regardless of how you look at Tuesday night’s match and the final result, the United States learned they are still not a world class side, and they learned that lesson the hard way.

“When you play against teams like Brazil, if you don’t play at your sharpest, at you best physically, mentally, tactically, just in terms of pure sharpness, they make you pay,” said midfielder and team captain Michael Bradley. “And certainly in the second half, they made us pay.”

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