Gregg Berhalter lives to see another day — USMNT earn first-ever draw vs. Brazil in 1-1 thriller

Gregg Berhalter’s seat got a little cooler as his United States men’s national team earned a respectable 1-1 draw vs. Brazil on Wednesday in a friendly ahead of this summer’s Copa América.

The USMNT licked their wounds from the Colombia battering that saw them lose 5-1 on Saturday in Berhalter’s worst loss in charge of the national team.

Many U.S. fans, this writer included, half-expected a massacre at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday as the USMNT hosted the No. 5 national team in the world.

The USMNT entered the game with fierce confidence. American midfielder Yunus Musah nearly scored a worldie in the opening minutes with a long-distance strike that rattled the crossbar.

USMNT vs Brazil highlights

Brazil were on the backfoot for the first 10 minutes but then grew into the game. 

One area the USMNT struggled with against Colombia was distributing the ball out of the back. That issue reared its ugly head in the 17th minute as a poor ball forward from goalkeeper Matt Turner led to Rodrygo opening the scoring.

Turner’s distribution has been a weakness for the USMNT and will be an area to keep an eye on in the Copa América this summer.

While the Rodrygo goal should’ve deflated the Americans, Berhalter’s boys showed resilience and found an equalizer nine minutes later. Christian Pulisic was fouled just outside the box and scored a clever free kick into the bottom corner.

At the halftime whistle Berhalter had done the unthinkable with his squad and were still in the fight.

The second 45 minutes saw a disciplined defensive performance from the USMNT, Turner morphing into prime Tim Howard and several quality counter attacks for the Stars and Stripes.

Brazil controlled the pace and possession but were frustrated in finding a go-ahead goal. Turner finished the game with 11 saves and produced a number of highlight moments to deny the likes of Endrick and Rodrygo.

At the other end of the field Pulisic had two great chances to find a winner with one being saved by Alisson and the other missing just wide.

Wednesday’s match was the 20th meeting between the USMNT and Brazil. The Americans had won just one previous game while the five-time World Cup champs won the other 18 meetings. The USMNT’s 1-1 draw will surely buy Berhalter a little more time as head coach.

This is arguably Berhalter's biggest result since the 0-0 draw vs. England in the 2022 World Cup.

The draw was the final tune-up game for the U.S. ahead of the Copa América. Their next time on the field will be their group stage opener against Bolivia on June 23 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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