Five time world champions Brazil will take on the US Men’s National Team in a friendly at the MetLife Stadium, New Jersey on Friday.

South American heavyweights Brazil return to action for the first time since their quarterfinal elimination at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when they clash against USA in a friendly encounter.

Currently ranked third in the world, the Selecao did not have the most memorable campaigns in the World Cup, as they were made to work really hard to make it to the final eight of the tournament, only to be eliminated by Belgium with a 2-1 defeat.

Manager Tite has claimed that he will be using this game and the upcoming friendly against El Salvador to experiment with new players and tactics as he looks to build a team for the 2019 Copa America at home next summer.

The USMNT weren’t involved in the FIFA World Cup in Russia and were last seen in action against current world champions France in a friendly that ended in a 1-1 draw just before the summer’s blockbuster event.

The friendly against Brazil will kick off a series of fixtures against high-profile oppositions for the team, with games against Mexico, England and Italy lined up in the coming months as head coach Dave Sarachan sets out to prepare his team for the Gold Cup next summer and the qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics.

Team News & Tactics

United States

As has been the case for the past several months, Sarachan has once again picked a youthful squad for the matches against Brazil and Mexico. However, the USMNT will be going into the games without their most recognizable player worldwide, Christian Pulisic, with the Borussia Dortmund starlet sidelined with a muscular problem.

No Pulisic in the USMNT squad (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

No Pulisic in the USMNT squad (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Tottenham centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers, currently on loan at Swansea City is among the 24-man squad along with Chelsea’s Matt Miazga who is away on a temporary spell with Nantes. There has been a call-up for PSG youngster Timothy Weah, who has been making all the right noises recently. Gyasi Zardes makes a return to the camp along with Kellyn Acosta.

The USMNT is likely to set up in the 5-3-2 setup that seemed to work well for them against France in June. Sarachan’s team will sit deep and defend, while trying to hit the visitors on the counter. Zack Steffen is very much guaranteed to start in goal on Friday.

The five-man backline is likely to comprise of DeAndre Yedlin and Antonee Robinson as the full-backs, with Carter-Vickers, Miazga and the experienced John Brooks set to start in the heart of the defence. The entire defence will be in for a stern test, while the full-backs will also have the added responsibility of joining the team in attacks on the break.

Wil Trapp will start in the holding midfield role, with Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie alongside him to provide the energy and the legs in the middle of the park. Julian Green is likely to start in one of the two forward positions, having scored against France. The second slot is likely to be taken up by Hannover striker Bobby Wood, with Weah likely to be used as an impact substitute.

Probable Starting XI (5-3-2): Steffen; Yedlin, Carter-Vickers, Miazga, Brooks, Robinson; Adams, Trapp, McKennie; Wood, Green;

Brazil

There are some notable absentees from the Brazil squad as Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus and Real Madrid left-back Marcelo have been left out by Tite. Goalkeeper Ederson and midfielder Renato Augusto withdrew citing personal reasons, while there are 9 uncapped players in the roster for the upcoming fixtures.

No fewer than 11 players who failed to make his World Cup squad were invited to USA this month as part of the squad including the likes of Fabinho, Alex Sandro, Andreas Pereira, Barcelona new boy Arthur Melo. Everton forward Richarlison has also been rewarded with a call-up after his impressive beginning to the new campaign.

The South Americans are expected to line up in the 4-3-3 setup against the USMNT on Friday. Incumbent No.1 Alisson is likely to get the nod in goal, despite his howler for Liverpool last weekend in the Premier League.

Barcelona new boy Arthur in line for Brazil debut (Photo courtesy - Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona new boy Arthur in line for Brazil debut (Photo courtesy – Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

20-year old Eder Militao is in line to make his debut for the Canarinha at right-back in the absence of Danilo and Fagner, while Sandro is set to slot in on the left-side of the back four. PSG defender Marquinhos is likely to start in the heart of the defence ahead of club teammate Thiago Silva, with Porto defender Felipe who will also be making his international bow.

Casemiro will anchor the midfield for the Selecao against Sarachan’s side, with Barcelona teammates Arthur Melo and Philippe Coutinho likely to occupy the other two midfield slots and look to break upon a defensive USMNT side with their vision and creativity.

PSG superstar Neymar is almost a certainty to start on the left-side of the attacking trident for Tite’s team. On the opposite side, it will be a toss-up between Willian and Douglas Costa, with the latter likely to get the nod. In Jesus’ absence, Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino should start through the middle.

Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Militao, Marquinhos, Felipe, Sandro; Arthur, Casemiro, Coutinho; Costa, Firmino, Neymar;

Key Stats

  • The two teams have met 18 times previously, with Brazil emerging victorious on 17 of those occasions. The only victory for the USMNT came in the 1998 Gold Cup semifinals.
  • The last time Brazil and USA clashed was in September 2015, in Foxborough. The South Americans trumped the hosts 4-1.
  • The 2-1 WC quarterfinal defeat to Belgium is Brazil’s only loss in 2018. The five-time world champions have won seven of their nine games this year.
  • The South American powerhouse have conceded just two goals in their last ten matches and have managed to keep a clean sheet in their previous five friendly matches.

Player to watch

Neymar (Brazil)

All eyes on Neymar (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

All eyes on Neymar (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Each time the Brazilians take the field, all eyes are invariably on one man – Neymar. And it promises to be no different on Friday when he steps out at the MetLife Stadium against the USMNT. The former Barcelona man may have drawn a lot of flak for his antics in the summer’s World Cup, but remains one of the best players in the game.

With his pace and skills, the 26-year old can terrorize any defences on his day. And considering that he will have a point to prove after the World Cup, the attacker will be extra-motivated and as a result more dangerous. Neymar bagged a brace the last time these two teams clashed and more of the same can be expected in the upcoming fixture.

Prediction

USA 0-2 Brazil

This young US team performed exceptionally against France just before the World Cup and has the ability to spring a surprise or two. However, going up against a Brazil team stacked with so many superstars is going to be a difficult proposition for Sarachan’s side.

They might sit deep and make life difficult for the Selecao, but given the attacking quality that the visitors possess with the likes of Neymar, Coutinho, Costa, Willian and Firmino, along with the young Richarlison and Everton, we at The Hard Tackle expect them to register their eighteenth victory against the hosts on Friday.

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