AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

WATCH: Richarlison’s first Brazil goal is a beauty

Leave a comment

Put aside for a moment the fact that someone in Brazil’s FA owed someone in El Salvador a massive favor, and marvel at the wonders of the Canarinha.

Richarlison drew a penalty and then scored his first Brazil goal in the mismatch against CONCACAF’s seventh ranked side.

[ MORE: Tata to Argentina? ]

And my goodness, the Everton man’s goal is a feast for the eyes.

Neymar and Philippe Coutinho scored goals sandwiched around Richarlison’s, with Brazil notching a trio of goals before the half-hour mark in El Salvador.

It’s going to be a long night for Carlos de los Cobos’ Cuscatlecos.

USMNT 0-2 Brazil: Young hosts no match for Neymar, Firmino

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brazil coach Tite named a very strong starting lineup, with the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Casemiro. That was always going to be a struggle, and it was, but the United States was far from run off the field in East Rutherford on Friday night as they fell 2-0 to the World Cup quarterfinalists in an international friendly meeting.

The United States came out of the opening whistle with a very high press, and it seemed to trouble the Brazilians from the start, but the visitors began to figure things out and struck in the 11th minute. Douglas Costa straight burned Antonee Robinson who over-committed on the flank, and his cross found Roberto Firmino at the back post who had drifted back from an oblivious Matt Miazga. Brazil nearly grabbed a second as Costa again torched Robinson, this time cutting inside, but his ball into the box was fumbled at the penalty spot for Neymar.

[ COVERAGE: 5 Things Learned | Player Ratings ]

The US had its best chance down the other end on the half-hour mark as Yedlin crossed to Weston McKennie, but his promising shot was blocked. The ensuing corner resulted in a header by Miazga on a delicious cross from Julian Green, and again it went out for a corner. Again McKennie had a massive chance, but Alisson came off his line to smother the shot from the far post. A fourth corner again came sizzling in, but Wood couldn’t get his head to it and instead found himself shaken up on the turf.

Again Brazil almost had a second, but a Coutinho shot from the top of the box was blocked bravely by Robinson and Zack Steffen saved the follow-up from Fabinho. They would double the lead before the break when Fabinho went down softly in the penalty area trying to squeeze between John Brooks and Wil Trapp, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar sent Steffen the wrong way for his 53rd international goal. At the break, Brazil had most of the possession while the United States was left with little to savor.

With no substitutions for either side at halftime, Brazil came out of the break with the intent. Douglas Costa toasted Paul Arriola down the right, and nearly found Firmino but his poor first touch killed off the chance. Yet again, Costa beat Robinson on 52 minutes – this time through the middle – and fed a delicious pass to Neymar, but his shot was slowed by Steffen and eventually cleared off the line by Matt Miazga right on the doorstep.

[ MORE: U.S. to hire new head coach by end of 2018 ]

Sarachan brought on Timothy Weah and Kellyn Acosta for Paul Arriola and Julian Green as the game neared the hour mark, a positive substitution. Tite countered with the addition of Arthur for Manchester United midfielder Fred, while Douglas Costa was removed for Chelsea winger Willian. McKennie had a chance to put the U.S. on the board soon after, but he put his effort just wide on the end of a curling free-kick.

Another change for either side saw Gyasi Zardes replace Bobby Wood, while Paqueta made his international debut for Brazil replacing Coutinho. The U.S. nearly found an opening as Wil Trapp forced a shaky save from Alisson with a long-distance shot low and to the left. Down the other end, Robinson picked Firmino’s pocket to save a breakaway opportunity. The U.S. again had a chance on a set-piece with 15 minutes to go, but Alisson stopped a weak effort as two U.S. players came together for the shot.

With three minutes remaining, the U.S. had one last chance as Tyler Adams sent a cross in that went just over the head of Gyasi Zardes, while substitute Christian Roldan had his follow-up cutback cleared away. The loss is just the second for the United States in seven matches since the failure in Trinidad & Tobago, and will provide Dave Sarachan and the rest of the coaching staff plenty of tape to teach the players how to match up against the best in the world.

USMNT-Brazil preview: Sarachan, meet gauntlet

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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).

[ MORE: What’s at stake for USMNT? ]

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.

[ MORE: Hernandez to MUFC or Real? ]

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.

Brazil call up big names for friendly v USMNT

Getty Images
1 Comment

Brazil is bringing the big guns to MetLife Stadium next month.

The Selecao have announced their 24-man squad for the friendly against the U.S. men’s national team in New Jersey on Sept. 7, as Tite’s men look to get back to business after the slight disappointment of only reaching the last eight of the 2018 World Cup this summer.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Alisson are all included as Brazil aim to wow what should be a mammoth crowd in East Rutherford. However, there are some intriguing absentees with Man City trio Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus and Ederson not included in the roster.

In total there are 13 players on the roster who played for Brazil at the World Cup in Russia this summer as they lost to Belgium 2-1 at the quarterfinal stage.

Below is a look at Brazil’s squad in full, with the USMNT (currently coached by interim boss Dave Sarachan) yet to name their squad for the September friendlies against Brazil on Sept. 7 and then Mexico on Sept. 11 in Nashville.


Sevilla threaten to quit Super Cup if Barca field ‘improper lineup’

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Leave a comment

The 2018-19 Spanish Supercopa is in danger of being boycotted and abandoned by Sevilla, should their opponents on Sunday, Barcelona, field what they deem “an improper lineup” made of up too many non-European Union players.

[ PL Sunday preview: Man City visit Arsenal; Liverpool vs. West Ham ]

The limit for non-EU players for La Liga fixtures is three. The same limit was previously applied to — or, at least thought to have been — the Supercopa, which pits the previous season’s league and Copa del Rey winners against one another. Since Barcelona won both trophies last season, Copa runners-up Sevilla are slated to face the Blaugrana in Tangier, Morocco.

Sevilla released the following statement on Saturday:

“Sevilla FC is surprised by the Spanish football federation’s statement 24 hours before the Supercopa.

“It has been stated that as many non-EU players as desired can be registered. In their last notice for the 18-19 season, only three were due to be permitted, without exception.

“The club’s legal department is studying the matter and should FC Barcelona submit a team with more than three non-EU players, it would present possible ground for withdrawal on account an improper lineup.”

Arturo Vidal, Malcom and Arthur are expected to be the three non-EU players selected by Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde, but the Catalan club has traveled a fourth, defender Marlon, leading Sevilla to make the above claims and threats. The likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez — South American-born superstars — are EU citizens after years of living on the continent. Philippe Coutinho is also said to have recently received a Portuguese passport through his wife.