Arsenal midfielder started an international friendly for the USA u23 side on Wednesday night, but couldn’t help his side to anything but a loss to Brazil.

At just 18, Zelalem is playing ahead of his years in the team that hopes to represent the USA at the Olympic Games in Brazil in the summer, but they won’t be heartened by Wednesday’s performance as the hosts dominated proceedings.

Wearing number 10 and playing in that playmaker role, Zelalem was joined by full internationals Julian Green and John Anthony Brooks as well as 17-year-old Tottenham Hotspur u21 captain Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Unfortunately for them, Brazil eased into a 1-0 lead just before half-time and doubled their lead just after the interval. It took a penalty and a Brazil red card for the USA to get on the scoresheet through Jerome Kiesewetter, but the game ended 2-1.

A disappointing night for the USA u23 side who face Brazil again in a few days time in their last game before a crucial Olympics play-off match with Colombia in March.

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