BRENT LATHAM - Sunday, June 28, 2009
United States vs Brazil
Conferations Cup - Sunday June 28, 2009
Ellis Park Stadium
Getty Images
Luis Fabiano Celebrates
The United States came out blazing Sunday night in the Confederations Cup final in Johannesburg, but could not hold a big halftime lead as Brazil rallied to ruin the Americans' dreams of glory in South Africa.

The teams felt each other out for the first few minutes, as Brazil came forward but the US punched back on the counter with equal determination.

On just such a break, on ten minutes, Jonathan Spector carried the ball forward down his right wing and chipped a ball into the area for Clint Dempsey, who swept a running volley across the box and past goalkeeper Julio Cesar to give the Yanks a quick 1-0 lead.

Brazil looked anxious to get the goal back, and came forward through Robinho, who slammed an angled shot that forced Tim Howard to knock the ball out for a corner.

The US threatened again at the quarter hour when a corner kick produced a melee in front of goal that led to a Dempsey attempt, but the Fulham man found himself in an awkward position and could only kick the ball over the crossbar.

Brazil tried from distance on 22 minutes, when Felipe Melo, the scorer of Brazil's first goal in the first game against the US, struck a shot from about 22 yards right at Howard, who knocked the ball back from where it had come.

Two minutes later Kaka and Maicon teamed up to put the American goal in danger again. Maicon played a wall fro Kaka which the future Real Madrid backheeled into the right back's path. Maicon slammed an angled shot off Howard, but the US goal remained safe.

Twenty seven minutes in the US, which had been looking dangerous on the break through Landon Donovan and Charlie Davies, doubled their lead on an exquisite counterattack conceived by the pair. Donovan fed Davies on the wing, and the Hammarby man laid an exquisite return pass back into the path of the former Bayern Munich attacker. Donovan then chipped the ball over Felipe Melo and struck it past Julio Cesar.

Brazil would not be held back and Andre Santos soon forced Howard into yet another save at the near post with an overlapping run.

The Selecao continued to look dangerous when Robinho shot from range and Howard made his fifth save of the evening. With time running out in the half Maicon sent a dangerous ball across the box but no one could get on the end of it and the Americans would take their 2-0 lead to the locker room.

The second half would be a completely different tale, as the Americans were unable to continue to absorb the Brazilian pressure.

Just 39 seconds into the half, Luis Fabiano took a cross at the top of the box and turned with Jay DeMerit on his back. The Brazilian struck a hopeful shot which slotted past DeMerit and beat Howard to cut into the lead and give Brazil all the momentum they needed.

Fifty eight minutes in Lucio would force Howard into another save with a sharp header. Two minutes late a Kaka header went into the goal, but both the linesman and the referee refused to concede the goal as Howard quickly pushed the ball back out, and the Americans were momentarily safe.

The Americans then came forward to help relieve pressure and Donovan and Dempsey both went close with long range shots.

The game turned for good in the 66th minute when Brazil coach Dunga brought on two substitutes, Elano and Daniel Alves. While the Americans warmed up some subs for ten minutes, the fresh Brazilians came in wave after wave at the American goal.

Ten minutes later, just after Tim Howard had stoned an onrushing Luis Fabiano, and with Jonathan Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan finally preparing to come on, Brazil tied the game as Luis Fabiano emphatically headed a loose ball into the US net past a helpless Howard.

In the 84th minute Lucio gave the Brazilian yet another title as he outjumped DeMerit and Dempsey on a corner and headed the ball in off the far post to break the Americans' hearts.

The US will now have to wait until at least next year for their first victory in an international tournament. Their second best finish is however, the best showing ever for the United States at a FIFA event.
Sunday June 28, 2009 7:21 pm
I'm not crazy about the subs either, but I think people are too hard on Bob. Everyone wants Adu and Torres in, thinking they will save the universe. They will not. Are they better than the subs that did go in, probably. But here's what I do know: everyone complained about BB for emphasizing Gold Cup with an eye on Confed Cup over Copa America. Hindsight says, good move BB. People said we wouldn't get invited south again. After this, really? People have been complaining about BB selecting "the old guard." How many new faces are there now? Looking at the big picture, I don't see what Bob is doing so wrong. Minor quibbles yes, but he's doing his job IMO.
Sunday June 28, 2009 7:01 pm
I am not sure it matters who Bob brings on - more of where and when. Dunga practically screamed his tactic in the 66' by putting on Alves and Elano - HELLO I AM GOING TO ATTACK THE FLANKS. Personally, I take off Davies and Altidore and push Donovan and Dempsey up top. If that does not make Lucio nervous nothing will. He spend the entire second half milling around the US goal box. I would have put in Heath Pearce on the left mid and ANYONE on the right mid - told them to help out Boca and Spector and run the flanks like they never have before. I don't care if these guys are professionals or not, fitness takes its toll after 5 games in 14 days. As a coach, you have to match fresh legs with fresh legs.
Charlie G.
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:54 pm
I can say bittersweet...such great effort in the last three games, some good basic strategy changes with Davies up top with Jozy, but I think failure to use subs properly. Rather that going for it, Bob asked the boys to do to's a sorry task to try to defend that long for the back line...and, you surely don't want to sub-out any of the them; rathe, it's faily clear that in order to relieve pressure, you need to control the ball a bit. Earlier subs with Adu and Torres would have been bold, but at least we would have gone out with all guns blazing. Hopefully, lessons learned...please get Adu and Torres on the field so that they'll be ready.

Rather be bold and lose by 2 or 3 goals than lose anyway without a real chance.

Hope the world can embrace a bit wider view of 'the beautiful game" to include the fine defensive efforts put together by the U.S. ! While not "beautiful" in the classic sense, to me the team defense was as beautiful as anything I've seen on the field this week.
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:51 pm
Lots of positives; but, Bob Bradley's insistence in not using Adu quite possibly cost the USA a loss today.
Davies did a great job, but Adu would have been perfect in a 2-0 situation with his great passing and dribbling ability. I just cannot understand why you leave a player of such quality sitting on the bench when others who don't have the same abilities are already exhausted anyway.
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:44 pm
Couldn't agree more with the other bloggers. US played a great game, but coach Bradley blew it by waiting so long to put his subs in. And he compunded his error by his sub choices of Klejstan, and Casey. He should be using Torres and Adu. But Bradley is thick headed. He uses the same players over and over, even after they completely fail him.
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:32 pm
Coach Potatoes Grumble!

The subs: for the remainder of the qualifiers (and if we make it to the WC), the team will likely be a bit different in the midfield. Many are groaning about the subs made but the choices made were what was available. If Edu and Bradley were in this game would not that have changed things? Im thinking it might have. But you sub with what is available. The timing of the subs could be argued perhaps.

But someone above is saying Torres for Sasha? Torres doesn't have the guns, too little and hasnt been convincing. Sasha hasnt been perfect either but he lends hudspuh on defense...I would have gone with Sasha as well.

Fun match. Rough 2nd half. I'm proud of the boys and I can't wait to see how they fare in qualifying. One thing is for sure - we have found a strong back four. Go USA.
Barry U
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:21 pm
As far as the game we need to finish those run outs we had in the second half and this would have been a US victory.

This is was good tourney for the US. Add some more players to the mix and we have something to build on.
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:13 pm
The dream was great while it lasted. Although the US certainly can come away from the game with a lot of positives, the subs certainly didn't do a thing to help matters. Casey had not shown a thing during the tournament but slow, lazy runs and Kleijstan, nothing but poor passes since the Sweden game. Given the available players on the bench, Bornstien seemed like an acceptable sub, but he certainly wasn't enough to relieve a midfield that was simply out of gas. Why Torres didn't get a look is tragic. My hope is that Bradley has seen enough from Kleijstan and Casey to remove them from future consideration and that the upcoming Gold Cup will bring a some new striker and midfielder talent to the forefront to come off the bench.

Apart from the poor subs, there were plenty of positives to speak of - namely breakout performances from Davies, Spector and Demerit and the rock-solid Donovan, Gooch and Dempsey(For CD- the first two games not withstanding). How Davies has been riding the pine for so long while the underperforming Ching, Johnson and, to a lesser extent, Casey have been getting starts boggles the mind. A great young player. Overall it was a great effort, which has shown that although they are definitively are not the finished article, the team is slowly realizing its potential on the world stage.
Skip Beaubien
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:09 pm
Agreed, What in God's name was Sasha doing?? Zero hustle with juvenile passing.The Clark/Bradley pairing was dearly missed in the second half. Its a shame Jose can't find 90 min match fitness. Hats off to the team. Loved the efforts from new first team options Davies, Jay D., and Spec.

Can't wait for SA 2010. Now its time to wash my beer entrench Ricardo Clark jersey. Buzz Kill.
Sunday June 28, 2009 6:05 pm
It didn't help that Brazil scored right before the substitution, but I still couldn't believe it when Kleijstan came in. Our lack of depth was highlighted at this tourney. With very few exceptions, MLS players are outclassed at the National team level.

I fully expect someone to swoop for Dempsey and Donovan in the next few weeks. Possibly Demerit and Gooch as well.
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