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Barely 15 minutes into the U.S. men's national team's match against Brazil on Wednesday, a dreadful feeling popped into coach Gregg Berhalter's head.

"Here we go again."

A misplaced ball from goalkeeper Matt Turner meant Raphinha was able to pounce on an opportunity close to goal in the 17th minute. He made his way towards goal before expertly slipping the ball towards Rodrygo, who scored from close range to give the visitors the lead at Orlando's Camping World Stadium. For the second time in four days, the USMNT were down before the 20-minute mark. That was perhaps the only thing Wednesday's game had in common with the U.S.' 5-1 loss to Colombia on Saturday, since they went on to draw 1-1 with Brazil in their final match before the Copa America.

In the span of four days, Berhalter went from saying his team had "a lack of respect for our opponent and the game of soccer" to complimenting their efforts and delivering moments of positivity ahead of this summer's tournament. The head coach said he challenged the players to focus on the things they could control after the loss to Colombia and praised them for sticking to that plan.

"We just asked two things of them," Berhalter said following the draw against Brazil. "We asked for teamwork and intensity. The way that we framed it is two things that are totally in their control, right? Doesn't matter about the opponent, doesn't matter about the field or the fans or anything. Those are two things that they can control and that's the type of effort that we saw [Thursday]. The boys certainly delivered on that and that was good … When I saw the guys in the locker room after the game, they were exhausted. They gave everything and that's all you can ask for."

The USMNT were the less dominant of the two teams with just 39% of the ball and taking 12 shots to Brazil's 24, posting 0.96 expected goals to the opponent's 1.63. They had their moments, though, both in attack as a flurry of shots towards the end posed the possibility of the U.S. taking the lead and in defense when they disrupted a wasteful Brazil attack's rhythm.

"We feel like we made a little step," Berhalter said. "To be able to play against an amazingly talented Brazil team and bend but not break and I think give them problems as well, push them … We knew we'd have to be compact. We knew we'd have to limit the space between the lines and we did that really well."

Few players were more emblematic of the turnaround from Colombia than goalkeeper Matt Turner, who had a career-best game for the national team against Brazil. He made 11 saves against a high-profile Brazil attacking unit, the most saves the USMNT's goalkeeper has made since Tim Howard's 15-save performance against Belgium in the round of 16 during the 2014 World Cup. It's been a year of ups and downs for Turner, who lost his starting spot at Nottingham Forest after making some obvious errors and was unimpressive against Colombia. Despite the early error against Brazil, the goalkeeper turned it around to earn man of the match.

"He stayed calm and that's the most important thing," Berhalter said about Turner's performance. "He stayed calm. I thought he managed the game well. That was an incident that could've set him back a little bit, his confidence, but he responded really well to that. Matt was a guy who wasn't so happy with his performance last game and you can see he came out and had a much better game."

The result against Brazil inspires confidence in Berhalter's USMNT, who hope to impress at the World Cup on home soil in two years' time and are attempting to stack their schedule with games against high-ranking opposition. The head coach took a measured approach with his post-match assessment, though, noting the areas of improvement the team still has.

"I say 'little step' because there's still really small things that we need to fix and that goal is a perfect example," he said about Rodrygo's 17th-minute strike. "We targeted the wrong spot, we're way too open, you don't kick balls into those areas. You leave yourself too exposed. I think we lost the ball too easily at times when we could keep it so with that stuff, we gotta get better and we gotta keep moving and fixing."

There's also one other thing that clouds Berhalter's record. He has just five wins in 19 matches against teams ranked in the top 20, four of those coming against Mexico and the other one coming in the USMNT's 1-0 win over Iran at the 2022 World Cup. The team is still missing a statement-making result five years after Berhalter was first hired to coach the team, even though the performance was encouraging.

The objective, sooner rather than later, will be to finally clear that hurdle. This summer's Copa America will offer a big opportunity to do so, first in a group stage match against 15th-ranked Uruguay and potentially in the quarterfinals, where the U.S. could face either Colombia or Brazil should they advance. Berhalter seems to recognize that, too, with the World Cup now less than two years away.

"We didn't get the win, right?" he quipped. "We want to be able to beat teams like this."