The US men’s national team is set to kick off a very exciting string of friendlies this fall, starting with O Canarinho of Brazil. This will be the 19th time the US faces off against Brazil, going 1-17-0 in previous competitions. This will also be the first match Brazil has played since they were eliminated by Belgium in the World Cup and they currently sit in 3rd amongst all footballing nations according the FIFA Men’s rankings. We are breaking down for you what you need to know about Friday’s match between powerhouse Brazil and our up and coming US team.
When: This Friday, September 7th at 5:30pm MT
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
How to Watch: FS1, UniMás, and UDN
Why it matters:
As I have discussed pretty much ad nauseam at this point these friendlies benefit the US team for two reasons. First, it continues to expose a very young national team pool to the very elite players in their sport and creates a cohesion and grit that will be needed once qualifying for World Cup 2022 starts up. Second, it allows interim head coach Dave Sarachan and GM Earnie Stewart the opportunity to evaluate the talent in our pool and start to determine who the regular contributors will be as the team moves forward towards that goal of qualification.
What we are watching for on the US team:
One of the fatal flaws of the US’s failed 2018 World Cup run was the lack of a tried and true center back pairing. There was a revolving door of partnerships throughout the Hexagonal that ended in the nightmare at Trinidad and Tobago. The lack of playing time and consistent partnerships was evident as the US gave up far too many goals against inferior opponents. We will be keeping a close eye on Matt Miazga and John Brooks. The two should be the top choice pairing for the US going forward and my hope is that they have 4 years to play together game in and game out to really build that unity. They will absolutely have their hands full against the likes of Neymar, Douglas Costa, and Roberto Firmino. If the US is ever going to compete at the highest levels Miazga and Brooks need opportunities to play against elite offensive teams, they certainly will have that chance on Friday.
What we are watching for on the Brazilian team:
When you think of Brazilian football you think of the Joga Bonito era of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos. Fast and fluid football that is inventive and inspiring. Brazil has always had a flair for not only winning but capturing our imaginations in the process.
Neymar, despite the public ridicule of his antics (he spent over 14 minutes of game time rolling on the ground in the World Cup) is still one of the most dynamic and gifted players in the world. He blends football acumen with guile like few others have and can tear a defense apart or bait a referee into a penalty with relative ease. Expect to see the Brazilian squad pressing high up the field and showing zero fear in getting forward often. Thirteen of the players on Brazil’s roster competed in the last World Cup, so this isn’t a B squad that we will be seeing.
If the US isn’t compact and organized this game could get out of hand very quickly. That being said, this same group of youngsters went to France and drew 1-1 only weeks before the French won the World Cup. So I wouldn’t put it past this US group to not care who lines up across from them and come to compete.
This young US team has surprised us in the past. They hail back to an era when the US said “talent be damned,” we will line up with anyone and never give up. That being said, this group is young and Brazil is stacked. We expect a 3-1 win for O Canarihno.