TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 3: The starting lineup for USA pose for a team photo before playing against Canada during their international friendly match on June 3, 2012 at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

USMNT World Cup Qualifying 2012

The United States Men's National Soccer Team take their CONCACAF rivals, Canada, in an international friendly tonight at BMO Field in Toronto.

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USA Vs. Canada: USMNT Grinds Out Dour 0-0 Draw In Toronto

The USMNT will need to be better than this when World Cup qualifying starts in 5 days. They played out to a rather dour goalless draw with CONCACAF rivals Canada at BMO Field in Toronto.

Overall the US looked tired and rather uninspired. They got off to a bright start and controlled play early, but as the game wore on the US faded and Canada actually enjoyed long periods of possession. That said, neither team really ever took hold of the match and scoring chances in general were at a minimum.

Clint Dempsey had what was probably the best chance of the evening for the US when he nearly went through clean before the Canadian keeper Lars Hirschfeld picked the ball off his feet. The vaunted Dempsey/Donovan combo never produced the kind of magic USMNT fans were expecting as Donovan didn’t see a lot of the ball and Dempsey had few chances in the final third. In fact, Dempsey drifted back into midfield often, which only further limited the US attacking options up top.

Canada probably had the best chances of the night, including a shocking miss from Simeon Jackson, who should have stuck in the game winner off a Dwayne DeRosario cross in stoppage time. The US also had a great chance just moments later when Clarence Goodson had a great header saved by Lars Hirschfeld.

US fans will likely question coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s use of Michael Bradley, who played in a deep holding role and failed to make much of an impact. Bradley has typically been most effective as a box-to-box attacking midfielder and never seemed to get into the game sitting in front of the back four. Fans will also wonder whether if Bradley was up higher, that Clint Dempsey would not have had to drop back as far as he was.

The result means the US extends their unbeaten streak against Cananda to 15 games. The Nats will kick off their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday, June 8th in Tampa against Antigua & Barbuda.


USA Vs. Brazil: USMNT Falls 4-1 Despite Valiant 2nd Half Performance

It was a tale of 2 halves for the US Men’s team tonight against Brazil, but the conclusion for both was the same. Brazil scored 2 goals in each half en route to a 4-1 victory at FedEx Field in Maryland.

Brazil dominated possession in the first half and took a 2-0 after 26 minutes on the back of goals from Neymar and Thiago Silva. It wasn’t until late in the first that the US managed to get themselves a chance and they converted it. Fabian Johnson played in a cross that found the head of Herculez Gomez to cut the Brazilian lead in half.

Overall though, the score flattered the US as Brazil controlled the game and wasted a number of chances that could have made the score bigger than it was. The second would be a totally different story, but the result was the same.

The USMNT controlled possession and got the vast majority of the chances in the 2nd, but left with nothing to show for it. Oguchi Onyewu hit the post with a header off a corner and two sure fire goals were saved with miraculous stops from the Brazilian keeper Rafael. He was really the star of the 2nd half for Brazil.

In true Brazilian fashion though, they were deadly on the counter-attack with a pair of by Marcelo and Alexandre Pato. After the first half, the 2-1 score flattered the US, but in the end 4-1 probably isn’t a fair representation of how they played.

Still, there’s quite clearly a gap between these two sides which should come at no surprise. At any given moment you could probably make a decent argument as to why Brazil is the best team on the planet. So for the US to play the way they did in the 2nd half, leaves fans with some positives.

The US is back in action on Sunday when they travel to BMO field in Toronto to take on Canada.


USA Vs Brazil: Neymar Helps Brazil To 2-1 Halftime Lead

A pair of set pieces put Brazil up 1-0 over the USMNT in their international friendly at FedEx Field in Maryland. The first came as a result of penalty given when Oguchi Onyewu was charged with handling the ball in the box. Budding superstar Neymar converted the spot kick for the first goal of the game.

US fans will likely complain a bit about the penalty, given that it was a case more of the ball playing the arm rather than the other way around… however, Gooch’s arm was up, which is going to make it much more likely to be called. Refs will usually let a handball in the box if the defender keeps his arms at his sides, but Gooch did not do that here.

The second Brazil goal came on yet another set piece, when defender Thiago Silva was left alone to nod in a corner kick in the 26th minute.

The US would fight back in the dying moments of the first half. Fabian Johnson, who was arguably the USMNT’s best player in the half, played the ball across the net to Herculez Gomez, who headed in to cut Brazil’s lead in half.

Overall, it was quite clear that the US was second best and to be frank, the 2-1 score flatters them. If the Nats don’t improve in the second half, the several chances Brazil wasted in the first half are likely to start bulging the net in the second.

There are reinforcements on the way, with Clint Dempsey warming up and likely to come on in the second half. Dempsey is coming off a breakout season in which he scored 17 goals in the English Premier League for Fulham. It will be the first time in the Jurgen Klinsmann era that Dempsey will have played with the other US talisman, Landon Donovan.

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