The United States drew Brazil, 0-0, in the Brasilia International Tournament championship game. Unfortunately, because Brazil finished the group stage with more points than the U.S., that draw was enough for the host country to win the title and left the Americans in second place.
It was a rocky tournament for the U.S., who took just four points from the group stage and fell from No. 1 in the FIFA world rankings. They drew China and lost to Brazil before beating Argentina to get into the final. The hope was that they could put on a show in their rematch against Brazil to get things going in a positive direction, but it didn't happen.
The U.S. was thoroughly outplayed in the first half. Brazil dominated possession and when the Americans did get the ball, they didn't do a ton with it. Jill Ellis opted to change the midfield and bring Morgan Brian into the starting XI with Carli Lloyd and Lauren Holiday, allowing Holiday to push further up the pitch, but there wasn't enough steel in the center to combat a team like Brazil and the three didn't do a good enough job keeping the ball to mitigate their defensive flaws.
Things turned a bit in the second half, but it was hardly a dominant performance for the Americans. Brazil was still right there with them and getting their own chances. In fact, Brazil had a stone cold penalty somehow denied by the referee that should have handed the hosts a win.
Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux and Christen Press were all out, leaving Abby Wambach to play as the center forward because Amy Rodriguez can't get a chance, for some reason. Unfortunately, Wambach struggled, but when Rodriguez came off the bench and the U.S. really pushed for a goal, things took a turn. First, they hit the bar, then they had a goal questionably called back for offside.
In the end, the U.S. couldn't get the win they wanted, and they probably didn't deserve it. They weren't the better team in this match, or in the tournament. Brazil was the best team and they got the title they deserved.
Now the U.S. heads into 2015 with a Women's World Cup looming and a team that doesn't really know what it is, nor are they playing especially well. Ellis has her work cut out for her because they have to be much better next June than they are now if they want to even compete for the World Cup, let alone win it.