If the previous games on the World Cup Victory Tour were a party, this game was the part where everyone has to go around with a trash bag and pick up the bottles and plastic cups. The United States was forced into cleanup mode early on when Brazil scored in the third minute of the game and kept it at 1-0 throughout the first half.
The US fought back, with Crystal Dunn several times owning Brazil's left flank and sending plenty of service into the box. One ball found Alex Morgan rising, but her redirected ball slipped just wide of the far post. A corner kick went to Carli Lloyd's head, but she popped it high. Even so, for a while it seemed like a US goal had to follow from just how hard they were pushing into Brazil's box.
But Brazil weathered the storm and gradually began to dig their way out with good passing into big swathes of space and some dangerous balls by Marta and Cristiane, including a sharp ball across in the 33' that Hope Solo was forced to smother. The linesman didn't help the situation, making a series of tight offside calls that kept reigning in a surging Alex Morgan.
Head coach Jill Ellis subbed retiring midfielder Shannon Boxx in the 40', sending her off with some style and putting Tobin Heath into the match, once again testing her out at defensive mid despite none of Tobin Heath's strengths lending themselves to that position.
The United States were on the back foot again as the second half kicked off. Even as they would find a way to push forward, they would get penned back in again, chasing after Brazil and losing possession almost as soon as they got it. It only get better around 70' in, as Megan Rapinoe found a second wind. Ellis also subbed in Jaelene Hinkle for Kelley O'Hara and Samantha Mewis for Crystal Dunn, capping Hinkle for the US for the first time and bringing Mewis back for the first time since December 2014. Both players had a few good moments, stepping to the ball to break up play and restart the offense.
Finally the United States equalized in the 85'. Meghan Klingenberg took the ball deep up the right, somehow rounding three Brazilian players and finding Carli Lloyd in the box. Lloyd smashed the ball into the underside of the crossbar, preserving the United States' 101-game unbeaten streak at home.
The goal galvanized the team and the last ten minutes were mostly American action, with a hard drive deep into Brazilian territory from Alex Morgan earning a corner kick and setting up the last play of the game.
The US looked pretty disjointed for most of the match. Megan Rapinoe was at the center of some good combination play here and there and eventually they started connecting more through the middle, but there was also a bevy long balls trying to find a runner that just ended up in turnovers and retreats. The US was at its best when finding the seams in Brazil's back line—like a beautiful ball early in the second half from Megan Rapinoe, who saw Morgan Brian making a run from deep—or when players like Crystal Dunn put in dangerous crosses.
The Brazilian national team is in the middle of an 18-month residency camp that is meant to carry them through the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, so it's understandable that even though several of their players flew in from Europe for these friendlies, they might look more coherent than the US national team, whose players have mostly been on vacation since the NWSL season ended.
Ellis also continues to experiment with the DM position, which surely can't be helping coherency. That's fine, though. She should be experimenting. She capped a new a player tonight and got another young player valuable experience against a tenacious, skilled opponent. Rotated in new players, gave Shannon Boxx a worthy sendoff, didn't lose. It's not the worst outcome in the world.
Starting Lineup: Hope Solo, Meghan Klingenberg, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara, Megan Rapinoe, Morgan Brian, Shannon Boxx, Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd