Miss-firing Brazil was held to a 1-1 draw in their final warm-up Copa America match against the spirited USA

Captain America was at the helm to rescue the Stars and Stripes in their final Copa preparation game
Brazil v United States - Continental Clasico 2024
Brazil v United States - Continental Clasico 2024 / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The United States Men’s National team eked out a 1-1 draw with many times World Cup winners Brazil at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The Real Madrid starlet Rodrygo open the scoring for the South American giants in the 17th minute with a well-taken strike after collecting a superb pass from Raphina. Captain fantastic Christian Pulisic restored parity for ‘The Stars and Stripes’ with a sublime free kick from the fringe of the 18-yard box.  

Brazilian coach Dorival Junior made a plethora of changes for Brazil as they rotate one final time before Copa America begins. Goalkeeper Allison was the only player to survive from the eleven that started in a 3-2 win against Mexico. After a stellar performance in La Liga and the Champions League, Vinicius Junior started on the left, with Rodrygo through the middle and Raphina out on the right. Joao Gomes, Bruno Guimaraes, and Lucas Paqueta are the Premier League trio in midfield, sitting in front of Wendell, a PSG pairing of Beraldo and Marquinhos, with Danilo at right-back.  

United States head coach Gregg Berhalter, on the other hand, stated earlier in his press conference that he would prioritize performance rather than the result against Brazil. Despite the challenge at hand in this friendly, he has been kind to his squad and only opted for two changes. Ricardo Pepi came in for Folarin Balogun up top, and Yunus Musah took the place of Johnny in the middle of the park.  

Though coach Berhalter wasn’t keen on the scoreline, the players had other ideas. They settled into the contest swiftly, putting together some slick passes, much to the delight of the home fans. Musah’s magnificent effort from outside the box in the 5th minute left the Liverpool custodian clutching at straws as his sensational strike clattered off the crossbar and down to safety. The Liverpool man looked stunned for a second or two. 

A minute later, Pulisic drove through the core of the Brazilian defense and fired one from the edge of the box to the bottom left corner, but Alisson made a comfortable save. Pulisic shot was a little less impressive than Musah's effort moments before.  

Brazil needed help to get a foothold in the game. However, their first serious intent came in the 7th minute. Gomes played in Paqueta, and he ghosted across the edge of the hosts' box effortlessly, then laid it off for  Rodrygo just inside the center of the box, yet he couldn't aim his shot anywhere else but Turner's outstretched long arms.  

Rodrygo scored his 6th goal in a Brazilian shirt in the 17th minute when Raphinha supplied a superb slicing pass through the US defense. Rodrygo collected the pass like a kid collecting a gift from Santa Claus, then fired it powerfully home from the left side to beat Turner at his near post. What was a one-sided affair quickly turned into an end-to-end encounter. Rodrygo was played in brilliantly by Guimaraes, and he then tried to round Turner, but the Nottingham Forest shot stopper stayed wise as fox and blocked Guimaraes's shot, which was harmless as a dove for a corner on the left.  

The Selecao have not lost to the USA since 1998, with Brazil having a 28-8 aggregate scoreline in their favor in those intervening matches against the Stars and Stripes. The last clash between these two came in 2018, where Brazil won 2-0 at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The USNMT was bound confident to recover from that 5-1 defeat to Colombia in midweek, the heaviest defeat since 2016.  

Pulisic jinked into a great position and was brought down rather clumsily by Gomes, who was tracking back. Gomes on a yellow and was lucky not to receive a second! It looked like a penalty initially, but a free kick was awarded. Pulisic got up and brushed himself off in the 26th minute to punch a low, powerful shot that evaded the wall and Alisson for a 1-1 tie.  

This first half's energy slowed to a canter after the equalizer. However, both teams searched earnestly for a go-ahead goal but to no avail as the first half drew to a close. The USA matched Brazil exceptionally well in the first 45 minutes, and judging from the first-half display, you wouldn't necessarily believe that six places separate both teams in the FIFA rankings (USA 11, Brazil six). 

Brazil passed the ball beautifully and carved open a chance in the 59th minute. Danilo whipped in a low cross hard from the right after being fed by the industrious Rodrygo. The cross found only the gloves of a flying Turner, who punched confidently clear. Wendell then had a go from outside the box, but it strayed off the American goal comfortably. 

In the 65th minute, both coaches reshuffled things. Berhalter brought on Jonny and Balogun for Reyna and Pepi. At the same time, his opposite number brought on Endrick and Savio for Raphina and Guimaraes.  

Endrick, Tim Weah
Brazil v United States - Continental Clasico 2024 / Douglas Defelice/USSF/GettyImages

Endrick immediately makes himself known and speeds away down the right side. He opened his body up and fired with his left, yet Turner is equal to it with a fine block. The hosts looked destined to score there, yet Liverpool, Brazil's number one, proved why he's the best. The Stars and Stripes cut Brazil open on the counter, and a square ball found Pulisic. Alisson was tracking over that side, and although the winger shot back the way he came, the keeper got a mighty left hand to the ball to keep out a superb strike.  

The game's latter stages proved to be more than friendly; the jam-packed stadium cheered as if it was a cup final. With a quarter of an hour to go, Rodrygo jinked down the left and prodded an effort with the outside of his right boot across goal. The Nottingham Forest stopper poked out a superb left-hand to keep this game to 1-1.  

The USA had two glorious chances in back-to-back succession. The first came in the 83rd minute after a throw-in crept into the box as Brazil was caught napping. And Aaronsen was there but fired straight at Alisson from close range. Great save again by Allison. Three minutes later, Captain America dragged his effort from the left wide-right of the target! It was a great effort after a fine build-up from Moore and McKennie.  

With almost the game's last play, Vinicius shrugged off Moore and sizzled one out to Savio. Martinelli overlaps him, yet the hosts block behind. The resulting corner on the right for Brazil was cleared quickly before Vinicius struck a tame effort at Turner. Had he taken a better shot, that would have been a game-winner.  

This final preparation for Copa America ended 1-1 between the United States and Brazil, and what a game it was. Going against the expected theme of a previous 5-1 thrashing against Colombia and a full-strength Brazil team - it looks like Gregg Berhalter's team have had an enormous confidence boost shot their way. Well, they did it themselves.

Both teams now turn their attention to CONMEBOL Copa America 2024. Brazil tackles Costa Rica at Sofi Stadium on June 24th, 2024, while the USA tackles Bolivia on June 23rd,2024, at AT&T Stadium. Both teams might meet again in the competition in the quarter-final.