Turner Saves and Pulisic Shines as USA Manage To Hold Brazil To A 1-1 Draw

With the Copa America on the horizon, the USMNT showed significant improvement, securing a 1-1 draw in Orlando against favorites Brazil.
Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Today, June 12, 2024, the United States men’s soccer team faced five-time world champions Brazil in a pre-Copa America friendly. 

The match, played at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, served as a crucial warm-up for both teams ahead of the Copa America, which begins on June 20.

Both teams fielded their starting elevens, emphasizing the importance of this final tune-up. The USMNT, led by coach Gregg Berhalter, lined up in a conventional 4-3-3 formation. Matt Turner started in goal, with Tim Ream, Chris Richards, Antonee Robinson, and Joseph Scally forming the defense. The midfield trio consisted of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Gio Reyna, while Timothy Weah, Ricardo Pepi, and Christian Pulisic (captain) spearheaded the attack.

United States Soccer Federation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Brazil, managed by Dorival Júnior, opted for a dynamic 4-2-3-1 setup. Alisson Becker of Liverpool guarded the net, with Beraldo and Marquinhos at center-back. Danilo (captain) and Wendell occupied the full-back positions. The midfield featured Bruno Guimarães and João Gomes as holding players, supporting the attacking trio of Rodrygo, Lucas Paquetá, and Raphinha. Vinícius Júnior, the Champions League winner and Ballon d’Or contender, roamed from the left wing to a central position.

Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The game started energetically, with both teams testing their setups. In the 4th minute, Musah struck the post, followed by a clear chance for Pulisic, which was denied by Alisson. 

Brazil responded with Vinícius Júnior’s one-on-one opportunity, which was thwarted by Turner.

Brazil opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Rodrygo capitalized on an opportunity with a clinical finish, leaving Turner with no chance. 

Brazil maintained their momentum and almost doubled their lead through Rodrygo again at the 21-minute mark, but Turner made a crucial save.

The USA equalized shortly after, thanks to Pulisic, who converted a free-kick he won just outside the box. 

His fast powerful strike into the bottom right corner left Alisson in the dust, tying the game at 1-1.

The rest of the first half saw fewer experiments from both sides, and the score remained unchanged as they headed into the break.

The second half mirrored the end of the first, with both teams struggling to create clear-cut chances. 

As the game progressed the USA’s defensive lines dropped deeper, allowing Brazil to dominate possession. However, the Brazilian side failed to capitalize on their opportunities.

In the 64th minute, the USA made their first substitutions, with Balogun and Johnny replacing Pepi and Reyna.

 Brazil responded by bringing on Endrick, Sávio, Andreas Pereira, and Douglas Luiz, replacing Gomes, Guimarães, Raphinha, and Paquetá.

The substitutions injected new energy into the match.

Shortly after Pulisic nearly scored again at 72 minutes, but Alisson made an excellent save. 

Brazil also created, with Endrick playing centrally to free Vinícius for playmaking duties. As a result of this many chances were created but none good enough to get past Matt Turner.

One of the final key moments came in the 78th minute when Brazil’s brilliant play put Rodrigo face-to-face with the American Keeper, but Turner’s spectacular save kept the score level.

As the match drew to a close, both teams pushed for a winner, but both goalkeepers stood firm, ensuring the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The USA leaves with a positive outlook, showing significant improvement from their 5-1 defeat to Colombia. It must be noted that if it weren’t for a superstar performance from Matt Turner the game would’ve ended with just as lopsided of a scoreline. 

With the friendlies finally over, the real competition begins now.

 The USMNT’s next match is against Bolivia on June 23, while Brazil will face Costa Rica on June 24.

 The stage is set for an exciting Copa America.

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