Turner and Pulišić save USMNT and change the mood after draw against Brazil

Turner and Pulišić shine in draw against Brazil, easing pressure on Berhalter
Robin Alam/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Who could have imagined? After a disastrous match, the U.S. Men's National Team achieved a significant feat against a top-tier opponent: a 1-1 draw against Brazil at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Many expected another debacle, but that was not the case. The Stars & Stripes managed to put on a commendable performance, nullifying the offensive actions of their opponents. Credit goes to the scheme set up by Gregg Berhalter.

The coach effectively closed the spaces and, depending on Brazil's movement, the defense formed a line of six players — a nearly impenetrable wall. Real Madrid midfielder Rodrygo scored with a cross-shot after a pass from Raphinha on the right. It might have seemed like a prelude to more goals, but that didn’t happen.

Follow MLS Multiplex on X (Twitter).

Turner was fundamental and extremely decisive. Brazil attacked, attacked, and attacked. They had a total of 25 shots, with 12 on target. The goalkeeper made 11 crucial saves, preventing what could have been a much different outcome, ultimately resulting in a great achievement by breaking Brazil’s 11-game winning streak.

"It’s been a tough few months for me personally on the field. So, to have the opportunity to be here again and feel the confidence my teammates and coaches have in me is huge. It’s not always going to be like this, but I think you’re only as good as the guys around you," Turner mentioned.

If the USMNT had a defensive pillar, they also relied on the talent of their number 10, Christian Pulisic, to score the equalizer from a free kick just outside the box. Turner and the Milan player were crucial in easing the pressure on Gregg Berhalter, who was under considerable scrutiny and whose job was at risk.

The USMNT managed to get things in order, but one of the main positives was their defensive organization, holding off the opponent's onslaught: "I think it was just the willingness to defend, get numbers behind the ball in transition, recover numbers much [faster], much smarter, and not lose balls in the wrong areas and just give them easy opportunities," said Pulisic.

The talented midfielder noted that the players' own determination contributed to the positive result. It was a positive outcome as they knew how to suffer and capitalize on the opportunities created, giving Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson a hard time in the second half.

"And yes, just a team spirit and willingness to suffer at times and then find our chances. So definitely a big step in the right direction," Pulisic pondered.

Turner and Pulisic helped to create a more relaxed atmosphere for the Stars & Stripes. A step in the right direction? That's also assured by Berhalter: "We feel like we took a small step. It’s not a huge step, but it’s a small step to be able to play against an incredibly talented Brazilian team and bend but not break. It’s a good end to our preparation. We’re ready for the Copa América," stated the coach.

After the storm came relief. However, the USMNT showed a change in attitude, not intimidated by a tough opponent, overcoming adversities, but they need to maintain this rhythm to reap the benefits in the Copa América. Otherwise, there will be new storms for a team expected to deliver more.