There is absolutely no such thing as a "good" 4-1 defeat. I had little, if any, bad feelings immediately following Brazil's victory over the United States on Wednesday evening, and that hasn't changed roughly 24 hours after the fact. One phrase I've seen repeated on Twitter, Facebook and sports websites since the second half of the game is "wake-up call." That would only be applicable, however, if the United States were acting as if they were world beaters up until the three-goal defeat. Everybody was flying high, maybe higher than deserved, after the 5-1 win over Scotland this past weekend. After re-watching Wednesday's match, though, I am actually more confident than I was this past Sunday morning that Jurgen Klinsmann and his side really are close to figuring things out heading into the important matches of the summer.
3 final thoughts on United States 1-4 Brazil: Worse than I thought
I hate to be one of many to continue to pile on the guy, but you really can't talk about Wednesday's game without mentioning how poorly Oguchi Onyewu played in both halves of the contest. While I still think the hand ball called in the tenth minute was harsh, replays showed that Onyewu, along with teammate Jermaine Jones, was partly responsible for Thiago Silva having a free header off a corner kick in the 26th minute. I originally blamed Edgar Castillo for keeping Pato onside for what was Brazil's final goal of the match, but slow motion replays showed that it was actually Onyewu who didn't hold the proper line. Add in some awful distribution, and you've got a night that had me wondering if Tim Ream wouldn't have been a better selection.
3 final thoughts on United States 1-4 Brazil: An unnecessary mistake
While the hand ball that was/wasn't remains a talking point, one also shouldn't forget what was a silly and unnecessary yellow card that was handed out just a couple of minutes after Neymar buried the penalty that opened the scoring. Jose Torres was cautioned for dissent after he had what appeared to be a completely unneeded mini-meltdown, and the card essentially took him out of the match until he was subbed off ten minutes into the second half. I'll rarely complain about a player getting himself in trouble for a gritty but not reckless challenge (see the Jermaine Jones tackle on Neymar for an example). That incident, however, was a yellow Torres could and should avoid during each international contest, especially one that is featuring Brazil as an opponent.
3 final thoughts on United States 1-4 Brazil: Perspective
It's understandable that some US fans may be feeling a bit down following the disappointment of Wednesday evening. Before we all start looking for Klinsmann's replacement, however, we would do well to take a glance at the team's recent results leading up to Wednesday evening's match. The US ended 2011 with a 3-2 win against Slovenia. They then won three consecutive 1-0 games to begin 2012, the last of which occurred when away to Italy. Then came the 5-1 victory against Scotland.
When talking with US forward Jozy Altidore about the USMNT a couple of weeks back, one thing was clear: While those within the team are full of confidence heading into World Cup qualifiers, they also realize that the squad as a whole remains a work in progress. One learns more by losing than by winning, and US Soccer spent about 90 minutes in class on Wednesday.
The next exam comes on June 3 against Canada.