(The Nike Friendlies are taking place in Phoenix this week and while the current members of the U.S. Under-17 national team are several steps away from being real targets for the senior team, that doesnt mean we cant keep a close eye on the young talent coming up the pipeline.
SBI is fortunate enough to have staff writer Jose Romero in Phoenix for tonights USA-Brazil match, and were also lucky enough to have guest contributions on the Nike Friendlies from long-time SBI Mafia member and occasional SBI writer Odeen Domingo (a sports writer for the Arizona Republic), who delivers this preview on tonights USA-Brazil friendly.)
BY ODEEN DOMINGO
So youre all smarting and snickering over the US U-17 MNTs impressive 2-1 win over Korea Republic on Wednesday, eh?
Well, now come the big boys. Big Bad Brazil.
Though there should an emphasis on boys. The US U-17 team will actually play Brazils U-16 team tonight at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in north Phoenix tonight.
Every single player on Brazils roster was born in 1994.
Here is a closer look at the Brazil team that will be facing the United States:
BRAZIL UNDER-16 ROSTER
Number Name Position Club
1Guido Goalkeeper (Santos FC)
2 Wallace Defender (Fluminense FC)
3 Josué, Defender (EC Vitoria)
4 Luiz Gustavo Defender (S.E. Palmeiras)
5 Rodrigo Midfielder (SC Internacional)
6 Emerson Defender (Santos FC)
7 Adryan Midfielder (CR Flamengo)
8 Marlon Bica Midfielder (SC Internacional) *Captain
9 Leandro Forward (SC Corinthians)
10 Guilherme Midfielder (CR Vasco de Gama)
11 Lucas Piazon Forward (Sao Paulo FC)
12 Jairo Goalkeeper (Sao Paulo FC)
13 Almir Defender (Sao Paulo FC)
14 Marcelo Midfielder (EC Vitoria)
15 Victor Defender (SC Corinthians)
16 Lucas Defender (Sao Paulo FC)
17 Mattheus Midfielder (CR Flamengo)
18 Nathan Forward (SC Internacional)
Head coach: Everson Avila
Its likely Brazil will put out the same starting lineup as it did in a scoreless tie vs. Turkey on Wednesday. That starting XI looked like this:
Against Turkey, Nathan subbed in the 63rd minute for Emerson and played right wing; Victor subbed in the 63rd minute for Mattheus and played left back; and Lucas subbed in the 79th minute for Guilherme and played left center midfielder as Adryan pushed up top.
It was a pretty drab and physical affair between Brazil and Turkey. With both teams looking like it was still dealing with jet lag. For much of the match, Brazil was frustrated with how it wasnt able to connect with passes and play with that flair the world has fallen in love with. While Turkey was more concerned about convincing the referee their ankles were broken, diving on the field and screaming in pain every time they were touched, as if they were auditioning for Serie A.
But there were still moments of brilliance from Brazil.
Guido made two great saves in the first half vs. Turkey.
After starting out slow, Brazils defense, led by a solid 1-2 of Josue and Luis Gustavo, shut Turkey down in the second half.
Adryan is the trickiest player on the roster. His ankle-twisting moves almost always cleared space for him near the end line, if only he was a better crosser of the ball.
Wallace is a scoring threat from the back. Hes not shy to let one rip from 35 yards out. You wouldnt expect anything less from a Brazilian right back international.
Mattheus and Lucas Piazon had the best combination work of the game, showing a good enough understanding with each other to combine and threaten the goal.
Guilherme has good vision. He puts himself in good spots for rebounds and widening the field for Brazils offense to flow well enough.
But who makes this team go is captain Marlon Bica. He doesnt have the Ronaldinho moves but he is the fulcrum of the team. Everything seemed to flow through him. He finds the passes to either put pressure on the other team or to relieve the pressure.
Still, Brazil could not find any goals. Many of their shots were not on target. Maybe with a couple of more days in Phoenix, theyll have fresher legs for tonight.If the US can jump on Brazil early and win the midfield as it did against the Korea Republic, it should be 2-0 in the Nike International Friendlies tournament heading into the weekend.