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Depleted Americans gain respect despite loss to fluid Brazil.

U.S. men

Brazil Defeats Young U.S. Squad, 2-1.

PASADENA, Calif. (Saturday, March 3, 2001) -- The United States Menís National team scored only its second goal against Brazil in over 70 years, but it was not enough as the four-time World Cup champions defeated the USA, 2-1, before 45,387 fans in an international friendly at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena today. The victory by Brazil marked the eighth time in ten all-time meetings between the two teams that the game was decided by a single goal.

The U.S. team limped into the match following the physical 2-0 win over Mexico match in World Cup qualifying only three days earlier, and had only two fully healthy field players on the bench to start the match. Defender Jeff Agoos was a late scratch from the starting lineup when he developed a late case of food poisoning, and was essentially unavailable for the game.

Young American stars Bobby Convey, making only his second full international start, and Landon Donovan stepped into starting roles and were active in the U.S. attack throughout the match. Convey combined with Richie Williams to penetrate the Brazilian defense in the 4th minute, giving the USA its first good scoring chance of the game.

After twenty minutes of even back-and-forth action between the two teams, Brazil broke the ice in the 25th minute. Ronaldinho took a free kick after Williams took him down 21 yards from the goal, and bent his left-footed shot perfectly over a six-man American wall and inside the right post.

Brazil, the top team in FIFAís monthly rankings, looked certain to double its lead in the 31st minute when Juninho looped a pass onto Emersonís foot from the top of the penalty area. Emerson hit the ball out of the air on the full volley, directing the shot on goal, but goalkeeper Tony Meola swatted the ball over the endline with a great save.

But it was the United States who next dented the back of the net, when Chris Armas and Clint Mathis teamed up in the 40th minute. Armas spotted Mathis from the right flank and delivered the ball to the 18-yard box where Mathis collected, turned, and patiently rolled a low shot across the box and just inside the right post as Brazil goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni stood and watched.

For Mathis, named Chevrolet Man of the Match, the goal was his second in only nine international matches and caps off an active week in which he also set up the game-winning goal against Mexico.

The momentum swung to Brazil again in the 56th minute when Silvinho took a one-touch pass and darted to the endline before sliding a cross across the goal mouth to Euller, who worked through traffic to beat Carlos Llamosa and Eddie Pope to tap the ball home from close range.

Donovan, who will celebrate his 19th birthday on Sunday, nearly created the equalizer in the 75th minute with a subtle chip inside the penalty area. Donovanís pass landed at the foot of substitute Tony Sanneh, whose volley was cleared over the crossbar by Rogerio Ceni.

Meola did well to keep the Brazil lead at one goal when he denied Euller in the 81st minute. The Brazilian forward slipped between defenders Greg Vanney and Pope and broke in alone on goal, but Meola was quick off the line and smothered the ball before a shot could be taken.

"I was very pleased with our effort today," said head coach Bruce Arena. "Itís been a great week for us, and it was capped off with a good game and good experience fore our players against Brazil. We played a bunch of young guys, so itís an invaluable experience for us and hopefully it will help us get better."

Brazil 2, United States 1

Lineups: United States - Tony Meola, Greg Vanney, Eddie Pope, Carlos Llamosa, Frankie Hejduk (Tony Sanneh 61), Richie Williams (Cobi Jones 61), Chris Armas, Clint Mathis, Bobby Convey (Chris Klein 64), Josh Wolff, Landon Donovan. Brazil - Rogerio Ceni, Cafu, Roque Junior, Silvinho, Lucio, Emerson Ferrira, Vampeta (Edilson 46), Juninho Paulista (Ricardinho 46), Christian (Euller 46), Romario, Ronaldinho.

Scoring:
Brazil - Ronaldinho (unassisted) 25.
United States - Mathis (Armas) 40.
Brazil - Euller (Silvinho) 56.

Shots: United States 9, Brazil 15. Saves: United States 5, Brazil 2. Corner kicks: United States 4, Brazil 2. Fouls: United States 21, Brazil 11. Offside: United States 0, Brazil 4. Yellow card cautions: United States - Mathis 58; Brazil - Ricardinho 47, Emerson 92+.

Referee: n/a. Assistant referees: n/a. Attendance: 45,387 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Weather: 58 degrees, hazy, light breeze.

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