The U.S. Under-23 national team played the first of two friendlies against Brazil’s U-23s in Brazil on Wednesday, losing 2-1 to the hosts, courtesy of goals by Gabriel Jesus and Luan. Jerome Kiesewetter had the Americans’ goal, courtesy of a penalty he drew that also led to an ejection for Brazil’s captain Doria.
Three California natives are on the roster for the U.S. for their trip to Brazil, and one of them saw action on Wednesday. LA Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto came off the bench as a late first-half injury replacement for Boyd Okwuonu. The 21-year-old was preoccupied with his defensive duties during his shift, as Brazil controlled possession until the hour mark and held a huge edge in shots on the night, and Sorto was the last defender on the winning goal, as Luan’s curling one-timer beat the Los Angeles native from the edge of the box.
Meanwhile, Sorto’s Galaxy teammate Dave Romney and Club Tijuana’s Alejandro Guido did not feature in the game.
The U.S. is using the two friendlies against Brazil as a tune-up for their 2016 Olympics qualifying playoff series against Colombia, scheduled to take place in March. If considered in those terms, a 2-1 loss isn’t a great result, but it’s ok for a two-leg series. Although there won’t be a home leg coming up, as there will be against Colombia, if the Americans can come out with a stronger effort and turn over the aggregate scoreline over “two legs,” it will serve as useful preparation for the playoff. And who knows — if the U.S. ultimately makes it to the Olympics next year, they could very well face Brazil, who will definitely be in the tournament as the Olympics hosts.
The U.S. U-23s will next take on Brazil in Belem on Sunday, to be aired on FS2 at 1 pm PT.