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Highlights from U.S.-Brazil, and untangling a Twitter knot

Brazil v United States

LANDOVER, MD - MAY 30: Neymar #11 of Brazil and of Steve Cherundolo #6 of USA go after the ball during an International friendly game at FedExField on May 30, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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I got myself in just a little hot water out of the Twitter faucet last night. Nothing major; let’s call it just ankle deep. Still, I should probably clarify – because I have a blog and can do that.

What I said:

I know this is sacrilege, but here goes … the goalkeeping opposite Tim Howard’s end has been better tonight. There, I said it #USMNT

A few people took that to mean that Howard was somehow at fault at FedEx in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss. Not at all. He wasn’t deficient with any of the foursome of Brazilian blasts. If we’re picking nits here, I would like to have seen Howard come up with something special on one of the last two goals. He guessed on Marcelo’s 52nd minute screamer from close range and then couldn’t turn away Alexandre Pato’s 87th minute, uncontested blast.

Neither represented a “bad” moment. The U.S. defense and unreliable midfield pressure against high-quality attackers was at the core of flimsiness, of giving up four at home, not any shaky backstopping.

All I meant was that debuting goalkeeper Rafael, at the other end, had a wonderful night. He pulled a “Tim Howard” against Tim Howard’s side.

Rafael’s double save in the 77th minute (foiling efforts from Herculez Gomez and Terrence Boyd) was something special. Ditto for the Brazilian goalkeeper’s 85th minute save on a Michael Bradley header.

But don’t take my word for it … see for yourself. Here are the match highlights.