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The U.S. National team expressed their frustration after a flat performance against Brazil.

PRETORIA, South Africa – Following a 3-0 loss to Brazil on Thursday night, US coach Bob Bradley struggled to explain why his team lacked much spirit.

 

“You can do the right preparation, but you don’t know things will go your way,” he said in his postgame press conference. “We started out nervous and tentative, and you can’t do that against Brazil.”

 

From the opening kick, Brazil was the better team. The US went down a goal in the 6th minute when Felipe Melo headed home a Maicon freekick. The lead was doubled in the 20th minute through Robinho. Overall, Brazil outshot the US 23-9 and had 60% of the possession.

 

The performance for the US was summed up succinctly by midfielder Clint Dempsey, who started the game in the central midfield for the first time in recent memory.

 

“Frustration,” the Fulham player said. “We gave up some silly fouls. We conceded two early goals. What can you say? You dig yourself a hole and it’s hard to get out.”

 

Striker Jozy Altidore was often left stranded up top, struggling to find any space against Brazil’s centerbacks Lucio and Miranda.

 

“I don’t know what it was today,” he said. “We all, as a whole, didn’t come here to play. We knew what the game was, we knew it was a must-win game, and the guys came out flat. When you come out flat against these guys, that’s what happens.”

 

 

“We weren’t helped by taking red cards and being a man down. It’s always going to difficult to come back against Italy and Brazil. You’ve got to just find the positives, prepare ourselves for the world cup, come back and redeem ourselves.

 

“I don’t know, it’s hard to explain,” Landon Donovan added. “You can’t gift goals early to teams like that. It’s hard enough to play them 0-0. Then to play them 1-0, then 2-0, then a man down. It’s tougher.”

 

Following Monday’s loss to Italy and now the crushing blow on Thursday, the US adventure in South Africa is effectively over.

 

“We would’ve had to play two perfect games to get results out of these two games,” Donovan said. “We didn’t do that. It was always going to be difficult.

 

Are there any positives to take from this tournament? That is the question many fans and pundits will be asking over the next few weeks ahead of next month’s Gold Cup and then the next World Cup qualifier, against Mexico on August 12.

 

“We still have half the qualifying round to go,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard. “Look, we played against two of the best teams in the world. It didn’t work out for us, but we feel like we can come out on top in CONCACAF. It’s just about application.”

 

Greg Lalas, Goal.com

 

For more on the U.S. National Team visit Goal.com’s U.S. National Team page.

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