USMNT-Brazil preview: Sarachan, meet gauntlet

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Let’s recap the Dave Sarachan interim spell in charge of the United States men’s national team.

Two wins, three draws, and a loss to Ireland in Dublin are on Sarachan’s record, the most notable perhaps being a 1-1 draw against France that leaves the Yanks as one of the last two teams to play Les Bleus to a stalemate over 90 minutes (Denmark at the World Cup group stage).

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The Rochester, N.Y. born 64-year-old has been a steady hand for a reeling program, one which has yet to announce its next full-time boss (There’s reason to infer it could be Tata Martino, but let’s leave that for a later date).

It’s legitimate to wonder whether Sarachan will add another win to his resume before the end of the year. The manager will lead the U.S. against Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, England, and Italy (though the first four will be hosted on American soil, at least the first two will be without national team phenom Christian Pulisic).

That won’t change what’s easy to see as a successful tenure by the Sarachan, who has navigated the fact that he was a part of the staff who failed to qualify for the World Cup with calm if not savvy while introducing several new players to the fold.

We say all this now because the odds are that the USMNT fan base’s good vibes could be rocked on Friday night when Brazil rolls into MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Tite’s Seleção includes Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, Philippe Coutinho, and Casemiro.

The United States has beaten Brazil once, a 1-0 win at the 1998 Gold Cup, and frankly the Yanks have had a lot of trouble keeping their CONMEBOL visitors from scoring boatloads of goals. Brazil has scored three of more goals in five of six against the USMNT, the outlier being a 2-0 loss.

The latest was a humbling 4-1 defeat for Jurgen Klinsmann’s men that was only saved from a clean sheet by Danny Williams‘ absurd blast in the direction of Marcelo Grohe.

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Sarachan can choose 10 of the 11 men who started the 1-1 draw against France by sliding DeAndre Yedlin into Shaq Moore’s shoes (though we must say he could start 11 of 11, however unlikely).

Brazil’s 4-3-3 will look different for sure, with Marcelo, Paulinho, Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Miranda, and Fagner all absent after starting for Tite in the Selecao‘s 2-1 loss to Belgium at the World Cup.

Assuming a Firmino start between Neymar and Willian with Coutinho handling some playmaker duty underneath, this is another massive test for (presumably) Zack Steffen, Yedlin, John Brooks, Matt Miazga, and either Eric Lichaj or Antonee Robinson.

There are ways it could go well and the Yanks could still lose by two, which is why the utmost of caution should be given to any poor performance. But if the Yanks win or draw, it would not just be a positive step but a historic one for a team that enters the day 1-17 all-time against Brazil.