U23s recap: Brazil goes down to 10 men vs U.S., holds on for 2-1 win

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Luan Michel de Louzã and Gabriel Barbosa gave Brazil’s U-23 men’s national team a 2-0 lead over the U.S. U-23s, and then dealt with a red card in holding on for a 2-1 win on Wednesday night in Recife.

Jerome Kiesewetter won and converted a PK for the Yanks in the loss. The U.S. will regret waiting until the red card to advance the ball with any intent.

The U.S. is playing a pair of matches against Brazil’s U-23s this week in continued preparation for the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL Olympic qualifying playoff against Colombia, which must be played by March.

[ MORE: How will the USMNT line-up in Friday’s World Cup qualifying opener? ]

The first half in Recife was all Brazil.

U.S. keeper Charlie Horton was whistled for a six-second violation, giving Brazil an indirect kick just inside the 18. The U.S. wall was a yard outside the six, and Gabriel’s shot went off Fred Rodrigues Santos and into the wall.

Horton had to fly to stop a 30-yard blast from Fred as the game reached 20 minutes, and Brazil controlled much of the possession at home.

Things were testy, as Matt Polster and Fred both picked up yellows as the half moved on. The States were forced into a first half change due to a leg injury to Boyd Okwuono. Oscar Sorto came on for the Real Salt Lake defender.

Brazil was extremely dangerous with overlapping runs on the wings, especially on the right side of the States defense. Fred thankfully blasted a shot over the bar on a wide-open ball late in the frame.

The 43rd minute saw Brazil up 1-0 on a terrific through ball from Lucas Silva to Gabriel, who blazed a run past Cameron Carter-Vickers before rounding Horton to finish the game’s first goal.

Jon Kempin replaced Horton at half.

The States came out with fire to start the second half, but Brazil countered and scored before the half was 90 seconds old. Luan had time and opportunity from the right side of the 18, and curled a ball around Kempin.

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The United States picked up a penalty kick when a high-pressing Jerome Kiesewetter was taken down in the 18. Doria, who was booked in the first half, was sent off for his second yellow.

Kiesewetter converted, and it was 2-1.

The U.S. then pushed forward for the equalizer, and really asserted itself physically. Brazil hunkered down for a 15-minute span, and the play was essentially the Yanks trying to work the left side of the pitch, but rarely cutting forward decisively or showing ideas to get through the banks of Brazilians.

Fred hit a late rocket off the crossbar, and the States just couldn’t get through to goal. A stoppage-time header off a corner popped over goal in the most dangerous moment.

U.S. stars of the game:

1. Kiesewetter – relentless, and made smart runs off the ball. Clinical finish of his PK opportunity

2. Polster – the Chicago Fire’s rookie star did plenty of solid work as a holding mid before subbing off for Dillon Serna.

3. Horton.

And at the other end of the productivity spectrum: Julian Green was invisible, Khiry Shelton struggled with his touch as a hold-up striker, and Okwuono looked a bit overwhelmed at times.