The United States' trip to Brasilia isn't going so well. After a disappointing draw against China earlier in the week, the Americans fell, 3-2, to Brazil on Sunday in another uninspiring performance.
The U.S. now has just one point from their first two matches of the Brasilia International Tournament and will need some help to make the championship match. At this point, it's tough to argue they deserve to play for first place anyway.
Things started well for the Americans, who scored after just six minutes through Carli Lloyd. Megan Rapinoe hit a good corner kick that Brazil failed to clear and was knocked onto Lloyd for the finish. After that start, it looked like the Americans would roll.
It only got better for the U.S. as Rapinoe scored a blinder not long after. She was 20 yards out and from a bit of an angle, but she hit an absolute rocket that was dipping and dancing before finding the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
With an early 2-0 lead, the Americans should have had no issues. Instead, the rest of the match was all problems.
Marta scored once and the U.S. lead was down to 2-1. Then she scored again and the U.S. lead was gone.
Finally, Marta hit a 20-yard shot that Hope Solo should have had no problem with, but it squirted past her and Brazil were 3-2 up.
As good as Marta was, and she was brilliant, it wasn't just about her. Brazil played well for much of the match and the U.S. were poor. The Americans were out-played beyond the sensational Marta and they are familiar problems.
Once again, the American midfield was too easy to pass through. That's not much of a surprise with Carli Lloyd and an out-of-position Lauren Holiday in the center, but that's the midfield Jill Ellis has been leaning on. Abby Wambach also failed to make much of an impact, the team looked out of sync, the defense was slow-footed at times and Sydney Leroux's horrible run of form continued.
Maybe most concerning at this point isn't that the U.S. is struggling, but that they continue to try the same things. Ellis is sticking to her approach and her players. Even as Lori Chalupny made her return, she did so at left back, not in the midfield. Either the players are going to find their form and just "get it" or Ellis is in trouble because there wasn't been much in the way of new ideas and adjustments in months.
We will see if the U.S. can get going in a positive direction on Wednesday when they take on Argentina in the final group stage match from Brasilia. They could use a good showing.