Matt Turner redeems himself as USMNT holds Brazil to 1-1 draw

    The stats were against the U. S. Men’s National Team before a ball was kicked in Orlando on Wednesday afternoon. As the team lined up to face Brazil, its historical head-to-head record said everything: one win, zero draws and 18 losses in nearly a century of play.

    With a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Colombia barely in the USMNT’s rearview mirror, there was every chance that its match against the Brazilians could get ugly. But the USMNT — led by a stunning performance from goalkeeper Matt Turner — played brilliantly to hold Brazil to a 1-1 draw.

    The draw gives the USMNT and its fans some hope as preparations begin for the Copa America this summer.

    Brazil scored first when the USMNT gave the ball away cheaply in their own half and struggled to track Real Madrid’s marauding winger Rodrygo. But the Americans kept cool heads and soon equalized through a free-kick just outside the Brazil penalty box. Christian Pulisic sliced a perfectly placed shot just wide of Brazil’s wall and past a diving Alisson Becker in goal, and the two teams were level at the halftime break.

    “We’re limiting their space which is the most important thing,” USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said at the halftime whistle. “You see how good they [Brazil] are in tight spaces. We try to make it even smaller and smaller in the hope they resort to crossing and playing balls that aren’t to their favor.

    “We did really well to get ourselves back into the game after a good start.”

    Turner was the hero of the night. 

    Brazil kept attacking, but Turner kept finding ways to keep them out. It was quite the turn-around for Turner, whose lackluster performance against Colombia last weekend led to the USMNT’s biggest home defeat in years. 

    The U. S. has relied on strong goalkeepers throughout its competitive history; athletes like Kasey Keller and Tim Howard kept the USMNT in international games through sheer will and talent. It was a relief to see Turner live up to that reputation against Brazil, especially with the Copa America just around the corner.

    This Brazil match was the USMNT’s last competitive fixture before the Copa begins on June 20. The USMNT will face Bolivia, Panama and Uruguay in the group stage of the tournament, and crucially, it will do so on home soil. The U. S. is hosting the tournament as a warm-up for hosting the 2026 World Cup. With interest in soccer rising domestically following Lionel Messi’s MLS arrival, the Copa represents the USMNT’s best opportunity to show the country just how far it’s come since it failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018.

    Results like this against opposition like Brazil don’t hurt either.

    The USMNT will kick off its Copa America Journey against Bolivia on Sunday, June 23 in Arlington, Texas.

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