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USMNT, Brazil head to Copa America after draw

Rich Storry / Getty Images Sport / Getty

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Four days after one of their worst matches, Christian Pulisic and the U.S. soccer team stopped an 11-game losing streak to Brazil with a spirted 1-1 draw that left them with a positive mindset heading into the Copa America.

Pulisic scored in 26th minute to offset Rodrygo’s 17th-minute goal and Matt Turner had 11 saves, the most for an American goalkeeper since Tim Howard’s 15 in the second-round loss to Belgium at the 2014 World Cup.

“It’s obviously a huge bounce back performance for us,” Turner said. “We really stared in the face of adversity and we were able to bounce back a few days later. And in tournament play that’s so, so important because not every result, not every call is going to go your way and you have to be able put things behind you.”

Rebounding from a 5-1 loss to Colombia last weekend, the Americans are now 1-18 with the draw against Brazil, getting their only win in a 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal. The Seleção had 61% of possession, outshot the U.S. 24-12 and had a 9-0 advantage in corner kicks.

“We feel like we made a little step. It’s not a huge step, but it’s a little step to be able to play against an amazingly talented Brazil team and bend but not break and I think give them problems, as well,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said.

Among six invited guests to the Copa America, the U.S. opens against Bolivia on June 23 and then plays Panama and Uruguay. Brazil, which last won the South American title in 2007, has first-round matches against Costa Rica, Paraguay and Colombia.

“It just puts us in a good place,” American defender Tim Ream said. “Obviously, it’s a good result going into tournament play and I think that’s what we needed.”

The game drew a mostly pro-Brazilian crowd of 60,016 to Camping World Stadium, the largest attendance for a U.S. national team game in Florida.

Yunus Musah nearly put the U.S. ahead in the fifth minute with a 25-yard shot that hit the crossbar and ricocheted off the back of goalkeeper Alisson and away from the net.

Brazil went ahead when Turner took a back pass from Ream and sent the ball upfield for Musah, who was switching off. Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimarães intercepted with a header toward Raphinha, who fed Rodrygo with a diagonal pass for his sixth international goal, an 8-yard shot past Turner’s left arm.

Pulisic was pulled down by João Gomes at the edge of the penalty area and slotted a free kick through the defensive wall and past Alisson’s right hand for his 29th goal in 68 international appearances.

Turner made excellent stops on 17-year Endrick in the 70th, Rodrygo in the 74th and Vinícius Júnior in the 87th, then punched away Andreas Pereira’s free kick in the sixth minute of stoppage time. Alisson denied Pulisic in the 68th and Brenden Aaronson in the 80th.

The U.S. again used rainbow numbers for Pride Month, this time on jerseys that were largely blue with a low white diagonal slash and a small amount of red at the bottom.

Berhalter made two changes from Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Colombia, inserting forward Ricardo Pepi and Musah for Folarin Balogun and Johnny Cardoso. All 11 starters played for European clubs — just six of 154 starting positions have been filled with Major League Soccer players for the 14 matches the full pool has been available since the 2022 World Cup, including three of 110 since Berhalter returned as coach.

The U.S. had not played at the former Citrus Bowl since Berhalter made his first international start in an exhibition against Sweden on Jan. 24, 1998.

Brazil coach Dorival Júnior changed 10 of 11 starters from Saturday’s 3-2 win over Mexico, keeping Alisson as the only holdover.

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