The United States lost to Brazil 4-1 this evening at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, but despite the scoreline there were several positives for the United States. They stuck with a 4-3-3 formation with Landon Donovan up top even after two goals for Brazil, playing the ball on the ground instead of resorting to hopeful long balls. Old friend Herculez Gomez netted the lone goal for the US.
Newer Galaxy fans may not know Gomez is an old friend, but he made 53 appearances from 2002-06 in a Galaxy uniform and scored 16 goals in that span. A local kid who born in Oxnard, Ca but raised in Las Vegas. He played for the San Diego Gauchos (now defunct) and was noticed by the Galaxy playing a friendly. He got his break in the '05 season, stepping up big when Donovan was out with the US national team. He was voted the team MVP that season.
He became a bit of a journeyman after the Galaxy traded him in '06, and had given up on having a US National Team career before this last call up. So far with the national team he has looked really good, earning a start tonight.
On his goal, Michael Bradley set up outside the 18 yard box, and found Fabian Johnson making a run to the end line. Johnson timed his run perfectly, then send in a chip in front of goal. Herculez Gomez was able to get his head on the ball and knock it down toward the goal and in.
The other bright spot of the match, outside the positive play, was the quick turnaround with the new jerseys. In the friendly against Scotland the light silver numbers were unreadable, but Nike was able to redo them with darker numbers in a very short span of time. Grant Wahl reported the switch cost US Soccer close to six figures, and reminded people that the light silver numbers were US Soccer's idea, not Nike's.
It's an interesting point to bring up, as often athletic clothing producers like Nike and adidas are blamed for the designs on the pitch. While it's true Nike had a strong hand in designing the original MLS uniforms, and of course adidas has to have the three stripes on the shoulder of any soccer uniform they produce; things like the Galaxy redesign this offseason or the new red and white striped US uniform come from the clubs and not from the uniform makers. Same way that while adidas has cleats they design for the public, David Beckham gets his own special color design.
Up next for the US National Team is a friendly against Canada on Sunday. It's the last tune up friendly before World Cup Qualifying against Antigua and Barbuda followed by Guatemala. At the end of those matches, Landon Donovan will be returned to the Galaxy and MLS will resume competitive play.