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What we learned: USWNT ends 2013 unbeaten

The United States women’s national team defeated Brazil 4-1 on Sunday to end 2013 with a 13-0-3 record, just the second time the team has played 10-plus games in a calendar year and not lost.

Sydney Leroux scored twice in the first half, Abby Wambach added a penalty kick and Erika Tymrak scored her first international goal in just her second U.S. appearance — two minutes after entering the game — as the Americans beat a young Brazilian team.

Rosana scored in the 25th minute to make it 2-1 after quick goals from Leroux and Wambach, but Brazil couldn’t beat goalkeeper Hope Solo again. Solo stood on her head, denying second half substitute Raquel on three consecutive occasions in the 55th, 59th and 62nd minutes.

[RECAP: Leroux brace lifts U.S. women past Brazil, 4-1]

The match ended on an strange note, with midfielder Carli Lloyd seeing a red card for a second caution after apparently making contact with Brazil defender Rilany’s face.

The U.S. is now unbeaten in 39 straight games and hasn’t lost at home in their last 77 matches. Their next match is Jan. 31, 2014, against Canada in Frisco, Texas. The U.S. will play Canada north of the border at some point later in 2014.

Here’s what we learned:

USA-Brazil never fails to entertain. This game looks convincing on the stat sheet, but Brazil made it interesting and would have made it a tight match had Solo not made some spectacular saves. The rivalry is always heated, even in a friendly. It took only four minutes and four seconds for a yellow card to come out, shown to Brazilian defender Andreia Rosa for dragging down Abby Wambach off the ball on a penalty kick. Despite all of these epic games, the U.S. is now 25-2-3 all-time against Brazil, though one of Brazil’s two wins was that 2007 World Cup semifinal embarrassment.

Sydney Leroux scored twice in a 4-1 win over Brazil on Sunday. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Cox looked strong out left, Robinson held serve. Stephanie Cox added extra intrigue to the TBD outside back slots with a solid performance in her first game with the U.S. since April 3, 2012, after giving birth this spring. Cox’s cross created Leroux’s first goal and she was defensively sound at left back. On the right side, Robinson got forward well but failed to deliver a dangerous final cross. She was at times caught high on the right flank, which is not a place to get stuck against a speedy Brazil team.

Brooks thrown right into the fire. Congratulations, Amber Brooks, you’ve earned your first U.S. senior team cap! You’re reward: Brazil — a chippy, physical Brazil team. She got a cut on her face in the opening minutes and took plenty of hits in the middle of the field. A couple of her tackles gave up unnecessary free kicks close to Solo’s goal. The welcome certainly didn’t come without some struggles, but I wouldn’t read much into first caps.

Tymrak proving her international merit. OK, maybe I would read a little more into second caps. Erika Tymrak entered the match in the 75th minute and scored in the 77th on a nice display of balance (she did do ballet, figure skating and gymnastics, after all) and a powerful shot for the fourth and final goal for the Americans. She also threaded a great through ball into Alex Morgan in the 82nd minute, although Morgan showed some signs of hesitation on that recently sprained left ankle and didn’t finish after rounding Brazilian goalkeeper Thais.

Leroux continues to make Sermanni’s life difficult. This is a good thing, of course…unless you are Tom Sermanni. Sydney Leroux scored two more goals on Sunday — giving her three in the last two games, plus that four-goal game vs. Mexico on Sept. 3 — to make the continue to make Sermanni ponder his choices at forward. With Leroux, Morgan, Wambach and Christen Press (19-year-0ld Lindsey Horan got a few minutes on Sunday, too), Sermanni can’t go wrong.

Box Score

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Brazil
Nov. 10, 2013
International Friendly
Florida Citrus Bowl; Orlando, Fla.
3:30 p.m. ET
80 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:   1    2    F
USA                       3    1    4
BRA                       1    0    1

USA – Sydney Leroux (Heather O’Reilly)        15th minute
USA – Abby Wambach (penalty)                     17
BRA – Rosana (Rilany)                                    25
USA – Sydney Leroux                                      36
USA – Erika Tymrak (Lindsey Horan)             76

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 26-Leigh Ann Robinson, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (16-Rachel Buehler, 75), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Stephanie Cox (23-Erika Tymrak, 75); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 22-Amber Brooks (7-Yael Averbuch, 81), 10-Carli Lloyd, 8-Kristie Mewis; 2-Sydney Leroux (13-Alex Morgan, 68), 20-Abby Wambach (25-Lindsey Horan, 68)
Substitutions Not Used:  12-Lauren Holiday, 18-Nicole Barnhart

Head coach: Tom Sermanni

BRA: 12-Thais; 2-Rilany, 4-Andreia Rosa, 5-Thaisa, 3-Calandrini; 8-Laylla (15-Bia, 46), 10-Rosana (capt.) (18-Thaisinha, 68), 9-Gabi Zanotti (19-Raquel, 46), 6-Andressa, 7-Debinha, 11-Cristiane (17-Nene, 76)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Luciana, 13-Tayla, 14-Maria, 16-Tamires, 20-Rafinha
Head coach: Marcio de Oliveira

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 15 / 10
Shots on Goal: 10 / 4
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 6
Offside: 4 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
BRA – Andreia (caution)                      5th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution)                 79
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution)                 90+2
USA – Carli Lloyd (sent off)                90+2

Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Veronica Perez (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marlene Duffy (USA)
Fourth Official: Christina Unkel (USA)

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