Brazil knocked in two first half goals and coasted for an clinical 3-0 win over the United States in Confederations Cup action at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. The U.S. was once again made to play down a man after Sacha Kljestan picked up a second half red card.
After several minutes of steady pressure, Brazil opening the scoring in the 7th minute off a Felipe Melo header. Melo easily beat Jonathan Spector to the back post and connected with Maicon’s service that left Tim Howard with no chance.
The goal could have and should have been avoided. The set piece was the direct result of a poor first touch that got away from Michael Bradley 25 yards out on the right flank. Bradley was forced to defend and was called for the foul. Replays showed that there was little if any contact on the foul other than a gentle tap on the shoulder before the Brazilian flopped to the ground.
Brazil continued to pressure but the Red, White and Blue appeared to be getting their feet under them and slowly adapting to the increased speed of this top rated international tournament with short moments of possession and build up.
But it all came crashing to an end when Robinho scored off a counter attack from a U.S. corner kick in the 20th minute. With the Oguchi Onyewu pushed up for the corner kick, Landon Donovan played the ball short to DaMarcus Beasley. The Rangers midfielder allowed the ball to slip under his foot and the counter was on.
A Brazil defender picked up the loose ball in the box and played it to Ramires at the bottom of the center circle. With only Spector back Ramires pushed the ball into U.S. territory and as Spector ran down the angel at the top of the U.S. box the Benfica player slotted the ball back to an unmarked Robinho who beat an exposed Howard.
The U.S. almost made it a hat trick of costly errors later in the half when Onyewu missed judged a long ball at the bottom of the center circle and saw the ball bounce over his head. Luis Fabiano gathered the ball and marched to goal. His shot from the top of the 18 was well saved by Howard diving to his right to corral the goal bound ball.
Bob Bradley only made one change at the halftime break sending in Conor Casey for Beasley and the U.S. looked more dangerous in the second half.
Once again the efforts were cut short when Kljestan was sent off in the 57th minute. The Chivas USA midfielder lost the ball near midfield and in trying to regain possession made a rash challenge.
With a two goal advantage and a little over 30 minutes left, the Seleção only had to continue their run of play to take the full three points but they were not done on the scoresheet adding a third goal in style and showing a glimmer of jogo bonito.
Maicon disposed second half substitute Benny Feilhaber on the sideline. The Inter Milan player turned and played the ball to the corner of the box where it was played square to another Brazil player who calmly sent a through ball back to Maicon making his run on goal. The defender then beat Johnathan Borntein and Howard to the near post from the corner of the six yard box.
The U.S. played well, or as well as they did with 11 players, for the final 10 minutes and almost pulled a goal back when Feilhaber knocked a ball off the crossbar. The attempt was set up by a fine run down the right flank from Spector.
The win was the first shutout for Brazil at the Confederations Cup in their last five matches.
The U.S. will be eliminated from the knockout phase if Italy takes a point from Thursday’s second match between the Azzurri and Egypt and even an Egypt win would make for long odds of the U.S. advancing.