Pulisic, Turner rescue US in 1-1 draw with Brazil

Pulisic, Turner rescue US in 1-1 draw with Brazil

June 13, 2024 at 1:15 AM
USA captain Christian Pulisic scores from a free-kick in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Brazil in Orlando
USA captain Christian Pulisic scores from a free-kick in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Brazil in Orlando. Photo: Gregg Newton / AFP
Source: AFP

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The United States bounced back from their 5-1 defeat to Colombia to earn a morale-boosting 1-1 draw with Brazil in their final warm-up game before the Copa America on Wednesday.

US skipper Christian Pulisic's rasping first half free-kick ensured a share of the spoils for Gregg Berhalter's side after Brazil had taken the lead through Real Madrid striker Rodrygo at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.

Berhalter, who faced calls to resign after watching his team get dismantled by Colombia on Saturday, had challenged his players to deliver an improved performance against the five-time World Cup winners.

Berhalter's men responded with a dogged display that made them well worth their first ever draw against Brazil after 18 defeats in 19 previous meetings.

US Goalkeeper Matt Turner was the hero for the hosts, pulling off a string of fine saves to keep Brazil at bay.

At the other end, Brazil keeper Alisson twice denied what might have been winning goals for the United States late in the game, saving from Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson in quick succession.

Earlier, an entertaining first half saw the US start brightly with two promising early chances that signalled a willingness to attack.

Yunus Musah was the first to threaten Brazil's goal in the fifth minute, unleashing a ferocious shot from just outside the area which cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and almost ricocheted off Alisson and into the net.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was pressed into action moments later, saving smartly from Pulisic after the US captain surged forward from midfield and shot from long range.

But after those early scares Brazil settled down and the movement of Real Madrid duo Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo combined with Raphinha on the right flank was a constant menace to the US back four.

Rodrygo almost fired Brazil into the lead in the seventh minute but saw his shot from just inside the area saved by Turner after patient approach play by the South Americans.

Vinicius then shot over after Raphinha bamboozled Antonee Robinson wide on the right flank. Vinicius was soon tormenting the US again in the 17th minute, cleverly turning Joe Scally to go clear and bear down on goal.

Once again though Turner was equal to the challenge, narrowing the angle and blocking to frustrate Brazil again.

Yet Brazil did not have long to wait for the breakthrough. A poor goalkick by Turner handed possession to Brazil deep inside US territory and Raphinha picked out Rodrygo who took one touch to control before drilling a low finish into the bottom corner.

US won't wilt

At that stage Brazil looked poised to overrun the US, and American fans were given more nervous moments when Raphinha curled a shot over the bar before Rodrygo went in on goal only to be denied by Turner again.

Yet the US refused to wilt and on 24 minutes Pulisic accelerated into space on the edge of the Brazil area before being fouled by Joao Gomes to win a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Pulisic duly took full advantage from the set-piece, driving a venomous low strike into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

An end-to-end second half saw Brazil continue to threaten, yet it was the US who came closest to breaking the deadlock.

A counter-attack culminated with Weston McKennie picking out Pulisic in space inside the area, only for the US captain to aim his shot too close to Alisson, who reflexively dived to his left to stop a certain goal.

AFP photo