Coming off of their 2-1 comeback win against Peru Friday night, the United States Men’s National team will look to their big guns for the big upset against Brazil on Tuesday.
By Jeff Weisinger
There’s no question that Brazil is the clear cut favorite going into Tuesday night’s friendly against the United States (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
But if there’s anything that we can take from Friday night’s 2-1 comeback win against Peru in D.C., it’s that U.S. national team coach and technical director Jurgen Klinsmann will do whatever it takes to win – even if that means switching up his roster just a few days before the match.
Klinsmann made a few adjustments to the USMNT roster over the weekend, calling up midfielder Michael Bradley (Toronto FC, MLS) along with goalkeeper Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire, MLS) and Stanford standout Jordan Morris.
With Bradley and company coming in, defender Matt Besler (Sporting KC, MLS) and goalkeeper William Yarbrough (Club Leon, Liga MX) were sent back to their respective clubs.
Klinsmann made sure to praise Besler on his performance against Peru before sending him back to Sporting Kansas City.
“We were impressed,” Klinsmann said. “We saw what we needed to see.”
One noticeably big name not on the roster against Brazil is Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey. Dempsey hasn’t been with the national team for the last three months and both he and Klinsmann felt that the best decision right now would be to hold Dempsey out for Tuesday night in order to allow him to regain his form for the United States’ CONCACAF Cup match vs. Mexico on October 10, a match that could determine the fate of the American’s run to the 2018 World Cup.
Whether or not Neymar plays, this is a Brazil team that could, and probably should, easily handle the United States. The USMNT is 1-16-0 all time against the Brazilians dating back to their first-ever meeting in 1930 in Rio de Janiero where Brazil won 4-3.
The Americans lone win against Brazil came in 1998 when the USMNT pulled off a 1-0 win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal.
“I think this makes everyone proud on this team when you can wear that jersey,” midfielder Jermaine Jones explained. “Same with me too. I like to play against big countries, against big players and Brazil, this is that game where everyone wants to play. I like to battle with these kind of players.”
Tuesday night will be the first time these two teams played against one another since May 30, 2012, a game where Brazil won 4-1 at FedEx Field in Maryland.
Both Jones and Bradley are the only players expected to play and start Tuesday night that played against Brazil back in 2012.
JK: “When you play teams like Brazil, the mental side is enormous. If you have too much respect for them, you get crushed.” #USMNT
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) September 7, 2015
With the changes made to the national team roster, Klinsmann is expectedly sending out a more experienced side against the Brazilians. Despite a solid second half performance against Peru in D.C., the Americans spent a majority or the middle portion of the game defending their third of the pitch while applying little to no pressure against the Peruvians.
Forward Jozy Altidore scored a brace on the night, however he still needed two chances to get his penalty kick in the back of the net. His second goal, however, was perfectly set up by Gyasi Zardes, leaving Altidore’s only job to tap the ball into the wide open space at the far post.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan had a solid night in the net, only allowing an early goal by Daniel Chavez in the top corner on a shot that ricocheted off of the leg of defender Omar Gonzalez. Guzan’s played well for the most part since taking over the goalkeeping duties for the recently un-retired Tim Howard and proved that he deserved to keep the No. 1 shirt on his double save against Peru midway through the second half on Friday night.
It wouldn’t hurt to hold onto the possibility that Howard possibly plays the second half against Brazil, pending how the match is going. Klinsmann has made it clear, however, that Guzan is still his No. 1 keeper.
The biggest thing to watch for Tuesday night will be how defensive the Americans play compared to how aggressive they opened and closed against Peru. This Brazil team can, almost literally, run laps around the USMNT midfield and backline while easily containing an inconsistent U.S. attacking front.
We should see a backline consisting of Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin at the full back positions, with Omar Gonzalez and Tim Ream at the center back spots in front of Guzan in net.
Considering that Klinsmann goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation, look for Michael Bradley and Danny Williams in the defensive midfield with Alejandro Bedoya, Jones and Gyasi Zardes in the attacking-mid with Altidore up top.
It’ll be interesting to see if Klinsmann uses the pace of both Yedlin and Zardes to help set up the attack on the wings with Altidore, hopefully, working his way into the box to finish on chances. It will also be interesting to see if Altidore actually finishes on his chances on goal.
With Mexico on the mind of Klinsmann along with everyone around the USMNT, we should get a very solid idea of who Klinsmann plans to use for the Americans’ big match next month along with what kind of tactics he could deploy against El Tri.
But first, the USMNT will look to create another upset against a top team, this time in Foxborough, on home soil.