Brazil Beats U.S.A.
But Fans Win It All
A young Brazilian team, the majority of which making their international debut, beat Team USA 2X0 (goals by 19-year old Neymar, near left, and 20-year old Pato) in a friendly game before its new coach, Mano Menezes, and a New Jersey crowd of over 77,000. It was an entertaining match with a bitter sweet taste, for it may be the last with Bob Bradley as the U.S. coach.
Helped by a few special conditions, the 20-something and younger Brazilian players showed enthusiasm and a flair that hasn’t been seen for quite a while from the five-time world champions. They were led by the only certified Brazilian star on the field, Robinho, who seemed at easy in his role as the captain.
Team USA hardly emulated what it had shown a month ago in South Africa, except for its customary slow start. Donovan, arguably its greatest player ever, was not in a particularly inspired night either. The team didn’t offer much of a reaction when Brazil scored twice in the first half, and came to life only briefly with Altidore in the second.
No one was seriously expecting a historical performance from neither team, to be fair. But what they came to see, they got: goals, a few superior plays, fair play and, above all, the party at the bleaches of the New Meadowlands Stadium. There shouldn’t be any doubt that if such conditions are present, Americans will show up in mass to see a soccer game.