Wednesday, June 19, 2024

USMNT vs. Brazil: Three things that USA need to do to recover after blowout loss against Colombia

With a record loss against Colombia behind them, it’s now time for the United States men’s national team to bounce back to show that they’re ready for Copa America. There’s just one small issue. Their next match will be Wednesday night in Orlando against Brazil. Unbeaten in their last three matches, Brazil’s defense may have some things to work on ahead of Copa, but behind super sub Endrick, the attack has been fearsome, scoring seven goals in those three matches with three of them coming via the 17-year-old.

After the USMNT hit a new low and manager Gregg Berhalter called out his team for not respecting their opponent and the game of soccer, not seeing an improvement against Brazil would be damning on the team and his management. 

“I think what he’s trying to say there is that we played into exactly what Colombia is good at and that’s the transition game and we didn’t do enough to mitigate that type of game in the last 30 minutes and I think that’s really what he’s getting at when he said that.” Tim Ream said responding to a question of what Berhalter meant in his lack of respect comments.

What can the USMNT do differently this time out?

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Don’t let Brazil get into their game

Ream spoke to one of the first mistakes that the USMNT made in letting Colombia play their game. Making a similar mistake against Brazil where they’re likely to see Raphinha, Rodrygo, and Vinicius Junior in attack could prove to be fatal as Brazil is a side that can both hit you on the counter, and if they’re allowed to hold possession, so the USMNT will need to show that they can both get physical and maintain possession of the ball.

In recent matches, Brazil has given teams chances to score as defense is their weak point in such a strong team, but Christian Pulisic, Folarin Balogun, and Tim Weah will need to take their chances better in this match. If they were more clinical in the first half against Colombia, that match may have been a different story and the front three is the strength of the USMNT. If they can round into form striking fear into their Copa America opposition, it makes defending a much easier job.

For a passionate, unapologetic and informed discussion about the USMNT and the state of the American game catch the Call It What You Want podcast! Download and follow Call It What You Want on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts!

Time for a back three?

Speaking of maintaining possession, while it could stunt the attack, a way to slow the game down and focus on defense is by rolling out a three man defense. This is something that Berhalter mentioned as an option replacing Sergino Dest and as Tim Weah is used to playing as a wing back for his club, it’s an option that wouldn’t be foreign to him either. The tough part of this is it would require dropping the dynamic Gio Reyna to the bench but something needs to change in order to challenge Brazil.

The addition of a third center back can seem a little redundant as Brazil doesn’t play with a recognized number nine but it also provides more set play targets to make the most of dead ball situations. When what we’ve seen constantly from the UMSNT hasn’t worked in big games, why not shake it up a little to see what you have in a different formation?

Potential lineup: Matt Turner, Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Chris Richards, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Tim Weah, Christian Pulisic, Folarin Balogun

Fight for the crest

Tactics are important but where things went wrong against Colombia isn’t completely down to Xs and Os which is why it was such a disheartening loss. While former USMNT sides may not have had players in top five European leagues they were going to come out and leave everything that they had on the pitch every game to fight for victory. At the end of the Colombia game, it felt like the USMNT gave up, which is unacceptable even in a friendly. 

Victory isn’t required against Brazil although a victory would go quite a long way in boosting morale, but what is required is an improved performance. The USMNT need to want the ball more. By doing that, good things will follow, otherwise they’ll be staring at a swift exit from Copa America.

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Wednesday, June 12 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: Camping World Stadium — Orlando, Florida
  • TV: TNT  | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
  • Odds: USMNT +500; Draw +225; Brazil -225

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