Left side is bright side in loss to Brazil 

May, 31, 2012

LANDOVER, Md. -- There were plenty of negatives to take away from the 4-1 U.S. loss to Brazil in Wednesday night's friendly, but the Yank players were more angry than downcast.

"It wasn't like they pumped us tonight," U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra said. "It didn't feel like a 4-1 game. A few mistakes, but they didn't hammer us the entire game."

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the players pointed to what they called questionable officiating, especially an early penalty given for Oguchi Onyewu's handball in the box, which gave Brazil a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Klinsmann said he was "pissed off" about that call, and Bocanegra added, "That early penalty is a tough one to take at home, 10 minutes in. I think we're the only country in the world that gets homered at home."

Though the U.S. ultimately killed itself with three defensive gaffes, leaving Brazilians unmarked on the Selecao's last three goals, the squad could take solace from an attack that maintained a surprising amount of possession and created a gorgeous goal. And they could celebrate the continued outstanding play of left back Fabian Johnson, who made the assist to Herculez Gomez for the picturesque score just before halftime.

Johnson, making his fourth start Wednesday, is the latest, and the most talented, claimant to the fullback spot, and his effort drew raves.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.