I’d be lying to you if I said I was hoping for a U.S. win against Brazil in last night’s friendly. I’m a Cleveland sports and U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team fan. I see the glass half-full. My standards are severely low. If the game ended 2-1 in Brazil’s favor, I’d be orgasmic.
And it was that score heading into halftime, as the U.S. pulled back a goal (its only goal in last night’s match) minutes before the referee blew the first half whistle. Herculez Gomez’s goal constituted the U.S.’s lone highlight, but damn was it pretty. Channeling Jason Kidd, central midfielder Michael Bradley split an underrated Brazilian defense like a coconut, unleashing American winger Fabian Johnson to serve Gomez on a platter right in front of the Brazilian net. Wah-lah: Juergen Klinsmann footy in real time.
However, the U.S. lost 4-1. Despite the score (and Norbel’s team’s all but booking a trip to the NBA Finals), I’d also be lying if I said I was completely disappointed with the outcome. A few strong headers here and several frantic Brazilian clearances there prevented a second, third and potentially fourth American tally. The Americans might’ve been whipped like Brazilian charcoal workers in the first half, but they provided something that was absent in the Bob Bradley era: confidence.
It was invigorating to see the Americans attack, pass and actually move off the ball. They also stretched the Brazilians in the second half, utilizing quick one-twos that sprung long balls for Gomez and Donovan to hop on. There was plenty to lament (and Taylor Twellman, God bless him, did), but it’s great to see the squad not playing like 11 shell-shocked MLS second-stringers.
Confidence, man. Maybe that sporting mojo will eventually rub off onto me.