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What we learned from the USMNT's impressive draw with Brazil in final Copa America tuneup

The United States rebounded in a big way ahead of the Copa America.

5 min read

Tests against the best that international soccer has to offer are few and far between for the U.S. men’s national team.

The rise of the Nations League format has made inter-continental matchups increasingly difficult to schedule. As a result, the USMNT hasn’t enjoyed many chances to battle the global elite over the last several years. But in the buildup to the Copa America, the United States scheduled two such rare matchups, one against a strong South American opponent — Colombia — and another against a truly elite team — Brazil.

The meeting with Colombia turned sour and ended in a mistake-riddled 5-1 loss on Saturday. Eager to get rid of that bitter taste, the USMNT travelled to Florida to take on their third giant since Gregg Berhalter debuted as the U.S.’s manager back in 2019. First came the draw with England at the 2022 World Cup. Then came the loss to Germany in a friendly last fall. 

And on Wednesday evening came a confidence-building 1-1 draw with Brazil.

Up against a truly elite team with incredible attacking talent and an otherworldly spine, the USMNT went down in the first half before equalizing off a Christian Pulisic free kick:

With their first game at the 2026 World Cup exactly two years away and the Copa America starting next week, let’s dig into what we learned about the USMNT from their result against Brazil.

What’s your one sentence reaction to that game?

This is the committed, hard-working, shot-stopping, and occasionally technical version of the United States that needs to show up at the Copa America.

Can you give me a little more than that?

While mental errors and sloppy turnovers ruled the day against Colombia, the United States straightened things up in a big way against Brazil.

Berhalter made just two changes to his lineup: Ricardo Pepi started up top and Yunus Musah started over Johnny Cardoso and the still-not-fully-fit Tyler Adams at the base of midfield. Really, those are the only two positions still up for grabs ahead of the USMNT’s clash with Bolivia to kick off group stage play at the Copa America next weekend.

Outshot 25 to 12, the United States clearly weren’t perfect. If this match had been played 100 times, the U.S. would’ve lost the majority. But even up against a high-flying attack, the U.S. did well to limit clear chances for their opponents. According to Sofascore, Brazil had four big chances compared to the USMNT’s two. Nine of Brazil’s shots came from outside the box and several more came from tight angles inside the 18:

Matt Turner will regret his sloppy pass that led to Brazil’s goal, but he put in an otherwise fantastic performance with 11 saves. Without his quick reactions, the U.S. wouldn’t have held Brazil to just one.

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