USA vs. Brazil First Half

Starting Line-ups:

USA:
GK- Tim Howard
CD- Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit
FB- Jonathan Bornstein, Jonathan Spector
M- Da Marcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan, Clint Dempsey
F- Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore

Brazil:
GK- Julio Cesar
CD- Lucio, Miranda
FB- Santos, Maicon
M- Kaka, Gilberto, Felipe, Ramires
F- Robinho, Luis Fabiano

9:55- Teams out and the anthems well-played and sung.

9:57- Per Ives Galarcep, Carlos Bocanegra misses out for the U.S. again due to injury. Beasley returns in midfield, while Kljestan is preferred to Benny Feilhaber.

10:00- We’re off.

10:01- Corner to Brazil. USA clears the danger, led by a Donovan header and tackle.

10:04- Kaka steals the ball, but a defender knocks it away for a corner. Robinho takes but it misses everyone and rolls out for a USA throw-in.

10:06- GOAL to Brazil. That didn’t take long. Free kick whipped in, and Felipe Melo gets by Jonathan Spector for a nearly-free header. 1-0 to the Selecao. Dubious foul though in the build-up.

10:09- Spector’s defending wasn’t terrible, but Melo either out-jumped him or had a big height advantage to begin with. Couldn’t quite tell on the replay. Easy finish in the end though.

10:13- Robinho misses a half-chance as Beasley gives away position cheaply just outside the box. The other Americans had trouble defending the bouncing ball, but Robinho didn’t put a ball on target. Corner though, but Lucio puts a tame header into Tim Howard’s gloves. Now the Yanks need to settle things down fast. Bob Bradley clearly looks concerned (as seen on the tube). Not so for Dunga.

10:13- Kaka dribbles in and tries to center, but DeMerit clears it for a corner. Nobody wins the corner, but it’s eventually cleared to center.

10:21- Goal to Brazil, and it’s that man Robinho. Beasley fails to control a ball near the Brazil penalty area. Brazil goes out virtually 2-on-1 with only DeMerit back and Fabiano crosses to Robinho, who can’t miss this one and indeed fires home to Howard’s right. Good goal, but you really shouldn’t concede from your own corner kick, and Beasley is having a nightmarish first half. Brazil leads 2-0 and that’s probably game over. Now it’s an exercise in damage limitation. Minor scare for Brazil off the restart but Dempsey doesn’t get much of his head to a cross.

10:23- FIFA’s world feed drops out. Probably a satellite issue between South Africa and ESPN HQ in Connecticut. Meanwhile, the US Open is now in a weather delay as some of the course is unplayable.

10:25- Feed restored.

10:28- Fabiano makes some space but fires wide.

10:33- From a USA corner, Beasley crosses in, but it goes out of the box. Donovan finds Michael Bradley, but his feed is headed away. Onyewu hacks down Felipe Melo and is booked.

10:36- Finally an assured moment from Beasley as he knocks away a ball from a Brazilian midfielder. Robinho shoots well wide as the fans start to do a wave. Sambas later? Fabiano shoots low but right into Howard.

10:40- Maicon gets the ball in space as Beasley is caught ball-watching. His cross comes to Gilberto Silva, but he heads over the bar.

10:43- Just heard on air that the USA has attempted the most long balls in this tournament- and hasn’t completed very many. Is it a lack of experience as much as tactical skill? Not sure, but someone’s got to steady the ship and run with the ball a little. Maicon whips in a free kick, the ball falls to a couple of unmarked Brazilians but neither gets anything on the ball and it goes out for a goal kick. Poor defending, to be sure.

10:45- One minute of stoppage time. A couple more minor surges from Brazil but both teams probably pleased to head back to the locker room. For different reasons, of course.

10:46- Halftime whistle from referee Massimo Busacca, who also worked this year’s Champions League Final. Brazil leads 2-0. They deserve their advantage, but Bob Bradley has the right to question the defending and effort of several players in the U.S. squad. This wasn’t Brazil just dancing with the ball right over their opponents. Plenty of miscues from their opponents.

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