Challenges Ahead for USMNT as Brazil Looms

Challenges Ahead for USMNT as Brazil Looms

With a record loss against Colombia behind them, it is time for the United States men's national team (USMNT) to bounce back and prove their readiness for Copa America. The next match, scheduled for Wednesday night in Orlando against Brazil, will be a crucial test. Brazil's defense may still have some areas to improve ahead of Copa America, but behind their super-sub Endrick, their attack has been formidable. Brazil has scored seven goals in their last three matches, with three of those goals coming from the 17-year-old prodigy. Failing to show improvement against Brazil would be a significant indictment of the team and its management. Tim Ream, a key figure in the squad, succinctly explained one of the errors made against Colombia:

"I think what he's trying to say there is that we played into exactly what Colombia is good at, and that's the transition game. We didn't do enough to mitigate that type of game in the last 30 minutes, and I think that's really what he's getting at when he said that."

Don't Let Brazil Get into Their Game

Ream highlighted one of the primary mistakes that the USMNT made: letting Colombia play their game. Making a similar mistake against Brazil could prove to be fatal. Brazil is a team capable of hitting opponents on the counter while also excelling in possession. The USMNT will need to show that they can be both physical and maintain control of the ball. Recent matches have shown that Brazil does give teams opportunities to score. Christian Pulisic, Folarin Balogun, and Tim Weah will need to capitalize on these opportunities more effectively. If they had been more clinical in the first half against Colombia, the outcome of that match might have been different. The front three remain the strength of the USMNT, and their performance will be key. For a passionate, unapologetic, and informed discussion about the USMNT and the state of American soccer, fans can tune into the "Call It What You Want" podcast.

Time for a Back Three?

In an effort to slow the game down and focus more on defense, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has considered deploying a three-man defense. Although this could potentially limit their attacking options, it is a strategy worth considering. Tim Weah, who often plays as a wing-back for his club, is familiar with this role. However, employing this setup would likely mean dropping the dynamic Gio Reyna to the bench. Adding a third center-back might seem redundant given Brazil's lack of a recognized number nine, but it could provide more targets for set pieces, making dead-ball situations more advantageous. When the conventional approach has failed in big games, why not try shaking things up to see what a different formation might offer? A possible lineup for the upcoming match could be: Matt Turner, Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Chris Richards, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Tim Weah, Christian Pulisic, and Folarin Balogun.

Fight for the Crest

The shortcomings against Colombia were not solely tactical, which made the loss so disheartening. Previous USMNT teams may have lacked players in top European leagues, but they always played with heart and left everything on the pitch. At the end of the Colombia game, it felt like the USMNT gave up, which is unacceptable even in a friendly match. While a victory against Brazil is not mandatory, it would significantly boost morale. What is required, however, is an improved performance. The USMNT needs to show more determination and desire to control possession. If they achieve this, positive outcomes will follow. Failing to do so will leave them facing a likely early exit from Copa America. Wednesday's match in Orlando is more than just a game; it is an opportunity for the USMNT to demonstrate growth, resilience, and the ability to compete at the highest level. Fans and critics alike will be watching closely, waiting to see if this squad can rise to the occasion.