Facing Brazil is never an easy task, even in a simple friendly when they only play half their starters. But the USA Men’s National Team must certainly be reeling from the 4-1 drubbing they just received and will need to get their confidence lifted ahead of two important qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup.
America came into this match riding high on the international soccer scene. Their five successive wins in international friendlies included victories over Italy, Slovenia, and a 5-1 thrashing of Scotland earlier in the week. The USA was starting to turn heads on the international scene and the thought of adding a victory over Brazil surely would have brought America into the discussion of the world’s best soccer nations.
But all that was wiped away when Brazil completely dominated the match with a group predominantly made of youngsters as they prepare for the 2012 Olympics in London. The USA saw very little of the ball, and although they looked a bit stronger after bringing Clint Dempsey on as a substitute, Brazil added to their onslaught with a late Alexandre Pato goal.
America continues its wait to become a world super power in soccer. People felt we were there after a quarterfinal appearance in the 2002 World Cup. Fans got excited again after the 2009 Confederations Cup tournament when the USA beat Spain and nearly topped Brazil in the final. But every time the team reaches the cusp of greatness, they seem to fall apart.
So how will America recover from its latest setback? Coach Jurgen Klinsmann needs to preach some confidence back into the side. The USA looked dominant against Scotland and their victory over Italy was impressive. But everyone needs to realize that these matches were all just international friendlies. As good as their victories were, and as terrible as the Brazil defeat was, none of these matches actually matter. The only matches that the USA cares about are in the World Cup when everyone watches.
Therefore, America needs to get their heads right before the 2014 World Cup qualifying matches coming up against Antigua and Barbuda, followed by a trip to Guatemala. Qualification is an absolute necessity and we can all recall how embarrassing it was that our Olympic team failed to qualify for this summer. Hopefully the upcoming friendly against Canada will provide just the confidence boost the players will need to rebound.
Yes there are wounds to be licked after Brazil, but all that match displayed is how much more work is required to be done. Even had America won, it would have proved nothing. USA needs to win World Cup games and they definitely need to qualify in order to get there. With Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore coming back to the side to support Landon Donovan, I fully expect this team to rebound and do just that.