USMNT, Brazil play to 1-1 draw in Continental Clasico

It was a significantly better game by the U.S. after losing 5-1 to Colombia on Saturday.

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It wasn't perfect, but the U.S. men's national team showed fight and grit against an elite Brazil side.

After losing 5-1 to Colombia on Saturday, the USMNT on Wednesday managed a 1-1 draw against Brazil in the second annual Continental Clasico. It wasn't an ideal win, but it was the type of performance the U.S. needed to exhibit to improve the confidence levels entering the Copa America.

The first half was absolutely electric. Both teams played open, with Brazil pressing extremely high when the U.S. tried to build up from the back.

The U.S. succeeded getting through Brazil often early on and even extracted multiple deep shots to test Alisson, including a near-wonder goal by Yunus Musah that rattled the crossbar.

But, despite the early tests by the U.S., Brazil struck first after making Matt Turner more busy. Vinicius Jr. had some opportunities, but his shots lacked power to bypass the American.

Instead, Vinicius Jr.'s Real Madrid teammate, Rodrygo, slotted home in the 17th minute. Turner tried to go long but ended up conceding possession in a dangerous area, which resulted in Raphinha finding Rodrygo for a weak-footed finish.

The game state could've completely shifted for the worse from there similar to how the U.S. caved against Colombia, but this lineup fared much better.

It didn't take long for the U.S. to equalize, and it came from a very familiar source. After Brazilian midfielder Joao Gomes conceded a foul right before the penalty line (and somehow avoided a second yellow), Christian Pulisic in the 26th minute converted the free kick by placing it in the most unlikeliest of spots.

Brazil dominated possession as the halftime score read 1-1, but the U.S. logged six shots and put five on target, so it wasn't short of creativity compared to the Colombia contest.

The second half again was dominated by Brazil in possession, with the U.S. only feeding off scraps in transition.

Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo remained busy in front of goal, but Turner did terrific on several occasions to make saves or come out to claim crosses.

Pulisic then had the best moment of the half in the 68th minute, but he took the shot first time with his weak foot when he probably had enough time to take an extra touch.

The introductions of Endrick and Gabriel Martinelli helped Brazil maintain the pressure in the final third, but Brazil continued to struggle to get past Turner.

In the end, Brazil had 25 shots with 12 on target to the USMNT's 12 shots with seven on target.

Besides Turner's heroics between the sticks, Musah, Tim Weah, Joe Scally and the center-back pairing of Tim Ream and Chris Richards stood out for the U.S.

The USMNT have experienced some success when it plays in a compact low block against elite nations compared to trying to outplay them by dominating possession.

Most of that comes down to the lack of personnel to play a possession-based system at a high level, but the U.S. needs more results like this to keep improving.

Next up is the Copa America tournament that will be held in the United States. First up in the group stage for the U.S. is a game against Bolivia on Sunday, June 23.

Brazil, meanwhile, will play Costa Rica on the Monday after.

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