Professional arena soccer made its long overdue debut before 5,927 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho Friday night. The Boise fans did their part by selling out the arena and bringing a hefty dose of energy to the game. The US National Arena Soccer Team, however, couldn’t break down the Brazilian defense or goalkeeper Sanaldo, and dropped a 5-1 decision.
The first half was anything but tentative, but rather a physical battle for territory. Even in a scoreless first half the Boise fans reacted to every foul, shot, and deft touch.
In the second quarter Brazil got on the board first thanks to Victor France and Maicon de Abreu’s tallies, which revealed a healthy smattering of Brazil supporters in the stands.
The US started the third quarter with several near misses that riled the crowd even more and ratcheted up the intensity. Sanaldo clipped Gordy Gurson at 10:02 of the third quarter and Gurson made sure everyone saw it, hitting the turf in a heap. The blue card resulted in a shootout opportunity which Sanaldo saved cleanly. On the power play Stephen Basso finally shifted the momentum with a booming one-timer on a rebound of a Gurson shot to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Piotr Sliwa replaced Boris Pardo at the end of the third quarter, with Brazil still clinging to a 2-1 lead. Brazil killed a power play, and France shot out of the penalty box and whiffed on a great scoring chance, but after Gurson turned the ball over on a US counter attack, France got a second chance and beat Sliwa to the far post to extend Brazil’s lead to 3-1.
At 5:01 Ricardo Carvalho got to the back post to tap in a great de Abreu pass and suddenly the US was faced with a 4-1 mountain to climb.
From there the US struggled to create many good chances and Hewerton Moreira iced the game with a 150-foot empty net goal.
Sanaldo played the whole game for Brazil, allowing only one goal. The US fell to 2-3 on their summer tour, which continues Saturday when they host Brazil in a rematch as the action shifts to the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.