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USMNT looks to rebound against mighty Brazil: 'We need to be ready'
United States

USMNT looks to rebound against mighty Brazil: 'We need to be ready'

Updated Jun. 12, 2024 11:45 a.m. ET

ORLANDO, Florida — Since suffering its most one-sided loss in more than a decade in Saturday's 5-1 humiliation against Colombia, fans might expect the mood around the U.S. men's national team to be somber or at least a little bit subdued heading into Wednesday's second pre-Copa América tuneup versus fearsome Brazil.

That clearly wasn't the case as the U.S. prepared for training here on Tuesday morning at Camping World Stadium.

"Everyone's energy is a bunch of positivity in the group right now," U.S. forward Tim Weah, who scored the Americans' only goal last weekend, told a small group of reporters before the session began. "We move on, and we learn from it, and it's now time to focus on our next game."

The next game, against the five-time World Cup champs, will reveal the truth about where USMNT squad truly stands better than any words ever could.


It makes sense that players are eager to forget the Colombia game as soon as possible. Professional athletes must have short memories to have long and successful careers. That's not to say the Americans haven't spent much of the last three days poring over video of how and where it all went so wrong against Los Cafeteros, which became the first opponent to score five times against the U.S. in 15 years. They have. But dwelling on the ugly result too long has its dangers, too. Especially with a foe as ruthless as Brazil lying in wait on Wednesday.

"We know that we're facing another world-class team. We need to be ready for it," forward Brenden Aaronson said.

"The scoreline showed that the [Colombia] game wasn't good enough, and we all know that. But it's football, and sometimes it doesn't go your way. Sometimes you don't play up to the standard. Everybody has bad games, has bad performances. When you look at it, it might [feel like] the end of the world at moments. But it's not."

Timothy Weah celebrates after scoring a goal in 2023

Having that sort of big-picture perspective is healthy. Yet there's no getting around the fact that there suddenly is real pressure on this team now with the U.S.'s Copa América opener versus Bolivia less than two weeks away. The Americans need to respond in a big way. Another multiple goal capitulation and those bad vibes will snowball quickly. But beating the Seleção outright is a tall order for any nation, though. The U.S. has lost 18 of 19 matches all-time to the Brazilians. Under the circumstances, a tie would be a triumph. Even a close loss could be acceptable — depending on how the hosts look, of course.

"I think the message for the team after the Colombia game is not chasing results," coach Gregg Berhalter said during Tuesday's pre-match press conference. "For us, it's about really focusing on the performance."

Berhalter struck a slightly lighter tone on Tuesday than he did in the immediate aftermath of last weekend's defeat.

"In terms of digesting it, it's business as usual," he said. "We look at what we did well and look at what we didn't do well. We analyze it. We were very critical of some situations on the field. But the guys see that, also, it's not personal. We wanted to play better in that game, especially towards the end of the game. We gave away goals too easily, and we talked about that. And if we're gonna have a chance to get a result in this game, we can't make those same mistakes.

"But the mood is good," he added. "The mindset is good and [we're] ready to go out and compete against Brazil."

Having Tyler Adams' bite in central midfield should help. The 2022 World Cup captain sat out Saturday but is healthy enough to play almost a half on Wednesday after an injury-ravaged season in the Premier League, the coach said. Aaronson is also in line for his first pre-tournament action, as is central defender Miles Robinson. Robinson could start over Tim Ream or Cameron Carter-Vickers, who both struggled mightily in the last match.

More intensity will be needed from the opening whistle. Overall, though, the U.S. has little choice but to run it back with mostly the same tactics and personnel and hope that minor tweaks are enough to make a major difference.

"We have to be brave and continue with our plan," Berhalter said. "Obviously, a lot of pressure from the outside after a 5-1 defeat at home. But for us, it's about preparing this group for Copa América, which is the most important thing.

Reaction to USMNT's disastrous loss against Colombia ahead of Copa America

"We know that these opportunities don't come every day, the chance to play against Brazil," he added. "We're really relishing it and the players are excited. The whole squad is ready."

We'll see. Words are cheap. In the end, the Americans will do the only talking that matters with their feet.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered the United States men's and women's national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him at @ByDougMcIntyre.

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