Marks are in for the US National Team's 2-0 friendly loss to a green Brazil side on Tuesday night, and they aren't too kind.
The Americans came out of the gate flying, offering hope that their habit of slow starts had been cured. However, this time it was the rest of the game that was the problem.
The US offered more and more space for the Samba Kings to dance around. Eventually, they'd be flattered by the final margin, largely thanks to a monster second-half display from Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Raised in a working-class Long Island home as the son of a butcher and a school bus driver, there was little real possibility that Bruce Arena would someday travel the world as a soccer dignitary.
But a poster of the Italian National Team in his grandfather’s Brooklyn sandwich shop made an impression on a 10-year-old Arena that has lasted a lifetime, punctuated Tuesday when he headlined the 2010 induction class into the National Soccer Hall of Fame during a ceremony at New Meadowlands Stadium.
USA vs. Brazil, international friendly
Where: New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: 8 p.m. ET
All-time series: Brazil lead 14-1-0
Earlier in the season, Bill Hamid was inserted into the starting lineup after United began the season 0-5. He earned the win in his debut, but was soon after relegated back to understudy. After starting against New England, Hamid has his second chance to hold onto the role of starter and, if he manages to sustain the necessary level of play, he could give a glimpse into the future of D.C. United.
Don’t look now, but goal season has just opened for Jeff Cunningham. And this time he has a bigger prey than just the Golden Boot. He’s gunning for D.C. United striker Jaime Moreno.
Two goals in FC Dallas’s win over Philadelphia on Sunday brought Cunningham’s career goal total at 127, five behind Moreno, MLS’ all-time leading goal-scorer.
Cunningham’s chase of Moreno has mostly slipped under the radar this season, partly because of the big-name signings casting long shadows, but also because Cunningham himself has been relatively off the mark this season.
Ninety minutes don’t give us a lot with which to form an opinion, but Ben Olsen trusts his players. Olsen only used one substitution during the match against New England, which means that he wanted to show the starting eleven that he had confidence in them to do their job. Confidence is not high at this moment for United, but the players that started the game surely felt some from their coach when he gave them the chance to stay on the field for 90 minutes.
D.C. UNITED INTERIM HEAD COACH BEN OLSEN
I’m very very proud of those guys. I thought they fought extremely hard and I thought at times, we played some very good stuff. We didn’t do the most important thing which was to score some goals and that’s been a bit of a thorn all year. But my overall thought is that tonight was a good step. The way they battled and those guys are sick of losing and unfortunately we didn’t get rewarded again from, what I thought, was a pretty good performance.
We had pretty good chances, you put them in the net or you don’t and we didn’t.
D.C. United have changed their tactics, tweaked the starting lineup, brought in midseason acquisitions and this week even fired their head coach for the first time in club history.
Yet despite increasingly desperate efforts to turn over a new leaf, the losses keep piling up and United remain locked in the MLS basement. The latest setback came at the hands of the New England Revolution on Saturday night in a 1-0 loss that highlighted the fundamental shortcomings of this year’s D.C. squad.
New England can credit their 1-0 victory over D.C. United to a few things – United's wastefulness in the final third chief among them – but the difference between winning and losing came down to resolve.
“It was a gut check for this team, a really gutsy performance,” Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We didn't play our best soccer out there, but we worked hard for each other.”
WATCH: Full match highlights