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List of Americans Abroad

U.S. shocks Spain, advances to Confederations Cup final, with tenacious effort.

Strong effort sends U.S. past Egypt 3-0 and to improbable Confederations Cup semifinal berth.

American shortcomings are again obvious and Brazil wins easily in Confederations Cup.

Shorthanded Americans cannot hold off skillful Italy in Confederations Cup.

U.S. survives early lapse, to rally past Honduras in important qualifier.

Costa Rica humiliates Americans 3-1 in World Cup qualifier.

Hejduk, others unavailable as Americans visit Costa Rica for qualifier.

Altidore's three goals lead strong U.S. effort in win over T&T.

U.S. responds to poor effort with late rally to draw El Salvador 2-2.

U.S. continues home domination of Mexico by starting final qualifying with 2-0 victory.

Final round of World Cup qualifying opens with weakened Mexico.

Kljestan shines in dull U.S. victory over Sweden.

CONCACAF draw has Americans facing Mexico to open final round of qualifying.

Cooper, Adu lead U.S. to dominant, if meaningless, decision over Guatemala.

Qualifying loss to ascendant T&T means little to U.S. men.

Cooper says no to invitation to join U.S. team in qualifying.

U.S. bursts into final round of qualifying by demolishing Cuba 6-1.

Improved U.S. attack sinks T&T, nears advancement to final qualifying round.

Americans score first victory in Guatemala in ugly qualifier.

High security follows Americans around Guatemala City.

Qualifying semifinals begin with trip to unfriendly Guatemala.

U.S. methodically closes out Barbados to advance in qualifying.

Against weak foe, U.S. attack finally finds itself in 8-0 qualifying rout of Barbados.

Howard saves U.S. men in 0-0 draw with Argentina in match of tired teams.

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Analysis

Despite surprising lead, U.S. wilts and Brazil wins Confederations Cup.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Sunday, June 28, 2009) -- The United States men opened a tantalizing two-goal lead which they took into halftime, but Brazil was at its powerful best after intermission and prevailed 3-2 to capture the FIFA Confederations Cup championship before 52,291 today at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Just about everything went right for the U.S. in the opening 45 minutes. It managed only two shots on goal, but made the most of them with midfielder Clint Dempsey volleying defender Johnathan Spector's right-side crossout of the air for the first goal in the 10th minute and midfielder Landon Donovan doubling the lead to 2-0 in the 27th on a field-length, two-man counter-attack, playing give-and-go with Charlie Davies on his left. .

The Americans were able to handle Brazil's pressure in the opening half. The few good shots the South Americans were able to get off were handled by goalkeeper Tim Howard, who put in another strong performance and was named the best keeper of the tournament. .

The momentum turned against the U.S. immediately at the start of the second half. Before the Americans could settle in, Brazil came forward with numbers after a throw-in. with right-side defender Maicon bringing the ball down the right flank. He was not pressured and fed got the ball to midfielder Gilberto Silva, who was not closed down and returned the ball to Maicon. Without pressure, he passed to open striker Luis Fabiano, who settled the ball with his back to goal. Before U.S. defender Jay DeMerit could step up on him, Fabiano turned and triggered a quick shot that beat Howard.to the right corner of the net.

"This was a tough one," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "Obviously, a good first half, then we give up the first goal so early in the second half that we really put ourselves in a tough spot. It was a tough one to take so early in the half."

From there, it seemed only a question of time before Brazil would win as it attacked in waves. As they did against Spain in their semifinal upset victory over Spain, the Americans defended heroically, clearing ball after ball out of danger, offten at the last second. However, as the half progressed, it was clear the U.S. was wearing down.

In the 74th minute, "World Player of the Year," midfielder Kaká beat U.S. right defender Jonathan Spector to the outside and brought the ball toward the touch-line. When the American central defenders went out to challenge Kaká, he put in a cross across the goalmouth that was directed in by Fabiano after it came off the post on a shot by Manchester City's Elano who had gotten in behind left back Carlos Bocanegra.

In previous matches Bradley's substitutions worked out well. This time, he had bad luck. Fabiano scored as Jonathan Bornstein waited to enter for an exhausted Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan was to replace Jozy Altidore. Both were good moves if the U.S. was holding a 2-1 lead, but counterproductive with the score now 2-2 and the Americans needing sudden offense.

The end result appeared preordained. In the 85th minute, Elano took a corner kick and Lucio, who got behind Dempsey at the far post, rose and ripped a header past Howard.

To an extent, this was a match of two halves. The U.S. won the opening stanza by taking advantage of its openings and by defending tenaciously. Over the final 45 minutes, perhaps the best attacking soccer team in the world was in full flight with its outside backs pushing forward continually and the tiring U.S. midfield and defense were under unrelenting pressure.

To put the matters into perspective, Brazil dominated possession 59-41 percent, according to the official statistics, and the Brazilians outshot the U.S.31-9, 13-4 in shots on goal.

"I'm extremely proud,".Bradley told the world television feed. "We continue to try to move ourselves forward and playing these kinds of games only helps, but it still feels pretty lousy letting this one get away."


U.S. Player Ratings

Starters

Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 7.5: Won the tournament's "Golden Glove" award as top keeper with another sterling performance. Denied Brazil several times in the first half after shots seemed sure to find the net.

Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 7: Played very well in the face of constant outside pressure, especially in the second half. Was able to get into the offense at times and was at fault only once when he was trying to cover after the U.S. defense lost its shape on the second Brazilian goal.

Defender Jonathan Spector - 7: He faced both Kaká and Lucio, and was beaten only once in a stellar performance.

Defender Oguchi Onyewu - 7.5: Another fine effort. Was pulled out of position in the face of mounting pressure in the second half but, except on the second goal, was always able to make the defensive stop.

Defender Jay DeMerit - 7: Another solid match with few mistakes. Did not react quickly enough to Luis Fabiano on the first goal, but was beaten only with a brilliant turn and perfectly-placed shot. Otherwise he made a strong argument once again that he should be the starter in the middle.

Midfielder Ricardo Clark - 5.5: Played quite well in a very defensive role. He was active all day and made numerous plays and defensive stops. At times, he did not pressure the ball when he should have.

Midfielder Benny Feilhaber - 6: In his first start of this event, he put in a strong effort, adding quite a bit to the attack while playing solid defense, but he faded as the second half wore on and needed to be replaced..

Midfielder Clint Dempsey - 6: Scored a great goal to open the scoring. Was very active all day, dropping deep into his own end to help out defensively while still managing to get forward to help the attack.

Midfielder Landon Donovan - 7.5: Another gritty 90-minute effort. His goal was among the best he has scored for the U.S. and his work-rate was exemplary, as it has been throughout the tournament.

Forward Charlie Davies - 5.5: His best outing of the event.. He worked hard running all over the field, but he needs to hold the ball better and to play faster. Considering the level of the competition today, he did well.

Forward Jozy Altidore - 4.5: He did not make much of an impression. He was handled easily by the Brazilian defense and when he had opportunities, he was not able to take advantage at all.

Reserves

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan (74th minute for Altidore) - 4: Contributed little in the closing minutes. He gave the ball away in key situations. Not a good showing.

Midfielder Jonathan Bornstein (74th minute for Feilhaber) - 5: Normally a defender, he came into the midfield and did fine defensively, but left much to be desired trying to move forward after the U.S. fell behind.

Forward Conor Casey (88th minute for Clark) - no rating: Sent on to provide some instant offense, but was not able although he was more active than in his previous short appearances.

SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Tim Howard.


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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