If this was a dress rehearsal for next year’s World Cup, the United States showed it’s far from ready.
The Americans were beaten soundly for the second time in a four-day span at the Confederations Cup, getting outplayed throughout a 3-0 loss to Brazil on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa.
Felipe Melo scored off Maicon’s free kick in the seventh minute and Robinho made it 2-0 in the 20th, completing a counterattack that began when DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan failed to combine on a short corner kick. Maicon added the third goal in the 62nd.
“They’re always going to be the better team, right?” U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “It’s just for us about going out and trying to give a good showing of ourselves because the best team doesn’t always win. Today it did. We were overpowered, and sometimes you just come up against Goliath and David doesn’t win.”
Brazil (2-0) outshot the Americans 23-9, including 11-2 for shots on goal.
And the United States (0-2) finished a man short for the second straight game. Sacha Kljestan was ejected by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca in the 57th minute for a rough foul on Ramires.
Combined with an opening 3-1 loss to Italy on Monday and Egypt’s 1-0 upset of Italy on Thursday, the defeat left the United States with an outside chance, at best, to reach the semifinals. The Americans could advance by beating Egypt by at least three goals, and either Italy scoring three fewer goals than the United States in a loss to Brazil or the victory margins of the U.S. and Brazilian teams totaling seven or more.
Missing injured defenders Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo and Frankie Hejduk, the United States has been shaky in the back. Melo’s goal marked the third time in four matches the Americans fell behind within the first seven minutes.
“We had a very nervous, tentative start to the game,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “An early goal off a set piece really put us in a difficult situation right from the start.”
Melo beat defender Jonathan Spector for the first goal, taking Maicon’s 25-yard free kick following a foul by Michael Bradley and heading it past Howard from about 5 yards.
The second goal came on an end-to-end effort after Beasley fumbled Donovan’s short corner kick, the ball rolling right past him. With Beasley slapping the ground in frustration, Andres Santos cleared to Kaka, who touched the ball to Ramires. He dribbled 50 yards upfield before dishing off to Robinho, who celebrated by faking an interview into a microphone.
Maicon got the third goal off passes from Kaka and Ramires, with the last pass bouncing off defender Jonathan Bornstein right by the goal.
The closest the U.S. team came to scoring was when second-half substitutes Benny Feilhaber and Conor Casey hit the crossbar in the final 10 minutes.
Egypt upsets Italy
Egypt stunned Italy, 1-0 in Johannesburg, on a 40th-minute goal by Mohamed Homos, leaving the world champion Azzurri with an uphill battle to reach the Confederations Cup semifinals.
Homos outjumped Daniele De Rossi to meet a cross from Mohamed Abo Terika and headed the ball off the inside post and past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.