Thursday, June 20, 2024

USA vs Brazil Preview: Pressure turns up on Gregg Berhalter

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Gregg Berhalter’s seat is getting warm. Disdain for Berhalter and the job he’s done are nothing new of course. A quick perusal of social media during any US game will be full of fans requesting Berhalter’s sacking.

But last Saturday’s game was different. The US lost 5-1 to Colombia. It was the heaviest US defeat since 2016. Also, it was the first time the US had given up five goals since 2009. The fans were not happy. But more importantly, many mainstream American soccer journalists now want him fired. Things are not positive right now. They don’t figure to get any better either as the US gets set to face the mighty Brazil.

Colombia recap

Saturday’s 5-1 hammering against Colombia was nothing short of a disaster. Unsurprisingly, there were vastly more Colombian fans than US fans at the game. The players looked disinterested. Matt Turner gave up a pair of shockers. The giveaways to Colombia were amateurish.

Tim Weah may have gotten a goal, but Los Cafeteros responded with an avalanche of three goals in just eleven minutes. After the game, the same manager who bragged about almost kicking Gio Reyna out of the World Cup, threw his players under the bus by saying they didn’t respect the game of soccer.

The humiliating result, combined with his shocking post-game presser, is why Gregg Berhalter’s seat is getting warm. USMNT supporters have long criticized Berhalter, but his continued lack of success against teams from outside North America is jarring. The United States has only won one game against a team inside FIFA’s top 25 men’s national teams from outside CONCACAF. That was a must-win game against Iran in the final group-stage game of the 2022 World Cup. This fixture against Brazil is not a must-win contest. However, it should set the tone, for better or worse, for Berhalter at the Copa America.

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If Colombia is any preview, USA is in for a struggle against Brazil

If Gregg Berhalter’s seat is getting warm, a game against Brazil seems unlikely to cool it down.

Brazil is Brazil. They’ve only lost to the US one time in 19 meetings, back in the 1998 Gold Cup. They’ve won five World Cups and they’ve won nine Copa Americas. Brazil has more talent than most countries would know what to do with, though long-time star man Neymar was left out of the squad due to an injury. They also figure to have huge home support for this game in Orlando.

Their run of form at the end of 2023 was rough but has improved this year. They beat England at Wembley and got a draw with Spain at the Bernabeu. Most recently, they won an entertaining game against Mexico in front of over 85,000 at Kyle Field in College Station, TX. The fixture against the United States at Camping World Stadium should also draw a large crowd. US Soccer expects the friendly to break the USMNT attendance record in the state of Florida.

Wednesday’s game starts at 7 p.m. ET. The game will air on TNT in English and on Telemundo in Spanish.

PHOTOS: IMAGO

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