A tournament-best performance for opposite Matt Anderson was not enough to dethrone the defending Olympic gold medalists.
Anderson finished with a match-high 20 kills on .500 attack percentage as the United States lost to Brazil 30-32, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20 in the preliminary round on Friday in Tokyo.
Despite this loss, the United States (2-2, 6 points Pool B) still remains in medal contention but will need to beat Argentina in its preliminary round finale on Sunday to be assured a spot in the quarterfinals.
The United States out-hit Brazil .422 to .411 and three players finish with double-digit kills. Along with Anderson, outside attacker Taylor Sander had 16 kills on a .387 attack percentage and outside attacker TJ DeFalco had 19 kills while hitting .308.
Along with his offensive performance, Anderson led all players with 11 digs.
Brazil had three players — outside attacker Yoandy Leal, outside attacker Ricardo Lucarelli Souza and opposite Wallace de Souza — each with a team-high 15 kills against the United States.
Souza also had a team-high four aces as Brazil (3-1, 8 points Pool B) ended the match with seven aces. This was the second time in its four preliminary round matches that the United States has allowed seven aces.
The United States committed 21 service errors — 13 more errors than Brazil.
Brazil entered this match two days after a three-game loss to first-place Russia that dropped the it behind the United States and into third place in Pool B. The win, though, moves Brazil back into second place and in prime position to clinch one of the pool’s four berths to the quarterfinals.
The United States had a chance in the fourth game to possibly force a decisive fifth and earn at least one point in the pool standings.
DeFalco had multiple kills and Sander had an ace as part of a 6-2 run to cut the Bralizian lead to 20-19. The United States on the next play had a chance to tie the game, but an attack error from DeFalco gave Brazil a two-point lead.
That attack error jumpstarted a 5-1 run for Brazil to close out the match.
Both Leal and de Souza had a team-high four kills as Brazil led by as many as five points in its third-game victory. In addition, Souza led all players with two aces to help give Brazil a one-game lead.
The United States in the second game twice erased four-point deficits, including trailing 22-18 before going on a 4-0 run that featured an ace from Sander and a kill from DeFalco.
Brazil responded with a 3-1 run to close out that game. In addition, Alan Souza delivered the game-winning kill on an out-of-system attack attempt from beyond the 3-meter line.
Anderson from the service line helped the United States open the match on a 5-1, but Brazil rallied to take the lead midway through the first game. The United States also had a three-point late in the game before Brazil rallied to take the lead and had a game-point that the United States fought off to force overtime.
In the 14-point overtime, the United States fought-off three more game-points. The United States converted on its own fourth game-point attempt after Brazil over-passed a Mitch Stahl serve and Anderson connected on an uncontested kill.
With this loss, the United States can finish no better than second place in Pool B. It also could finish outside of the top four and miss the quarterfinals if it loses to Argentina (1-2, 3 points Pool B) on Sunday.
The United States has advanced to the quarterfinals in every Olympics since 2004, including winning the gold medal in 2008 and the bronze medal in 2016.