USMNT has no answer for Japan in friendly loss

Düsseldorf, Germany – With the World Cup kick-off less than two months away, the US men’s national team was hoping to hone its game against Japan, but if anything, it was the samurai blue who seemed most prepared for the great tournament, riding a target in Both sides of the first half of Daiichi Kamada and Koro Mitoma to a 2-0 win.

The results showcased Team USA’s unfortunate performance, as the Americans seemed completely out of sync throughout the match. It’s clear that even at this late stage, US head coach Greg Berhalter has some work to do.

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fast response

1. The United States does not have an answer for the Japanese press

Berhalter often wants his team to play up front, and this begins by pressing teams high on the field. On this day, though, Japan gave Americans a taste of their medicine, and it worked to perfection. An example is Japan’s goal in the 24th minute, when a spin from Weston McKinney led to a transitional opportunity in which Hidemasa Morita found Kamada wide open to Matt Turner in the United States goal.

The US was also slow to react to everything it seemed, playing shy at times, and no American was immune to turning the ball around. Could it be a state of tension or a state of safe play as the World Cup approaches? That seems unlikely.

The effectiveness of Japan’s pressure meant that the United States rarely got into the kind of spots where Shuichi Gonda could threaten Japan’s goal, and had only five touches in Japan’s penalty area during the first half – the fewest USMNT touchdowns in a friendly since then . 2019. Sergino Dest provided an attractive cross pass for Jesus Ferreira in the eighth minute, but the FC Dallas striker could only header over the crossbar. Ferreira’s lack of physical presence at the top, as well as Christian Pulisic’s absence due to the blow, exacerbated the American team’s struggle with the ball. The US looked more threatening with Joshua Sargent taking the lead in the second half, but not by much.

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Given the difficulty the United States had in playing from behind – and this was a midfield problem as much as a backline problem – it stands to reason that the Americans’ opponents in the group stage would take many notes in terms of terminology. About how to get the American defense.

2. Did Turner get the US No. 1 jersey?

The United States had to thank Turner for entering the first half by just one goal difference. In particular, his save from Kamada when he was clearly in goal in the 13th minute after Walker Zimmermann’s giveaway was superb. He also controlled his chest well and did the routine saves he was supposed to.

The only complaint was Turner’s distribution in some cases, where his contact and accuracy with the ball were subpar. He will need to sharpen that in the remaining weeks before the World Cup.

Was it enough to push his nose forward in the fight over the goalkeeper’s starting point? One would have to think so, but Berhalter has long had a soft spot for Zack Stephen. We likely won’t know that answer for sure until November.

3. Marginal players have little effect

On the day the opportunity arose for players vying for the last few spots on the roster, there wasn’t much movement. Reggie Cannon and Mark McKenzie exonerated themselves well in alternative roles, but there wasn’t much else to note. In terms of starters, Sam Vines didn’t improve his inventory at all, and the same was true of Aaron Long, as neither player looked forward to the pace of the match.

In fact, if anything, this was a day when the absence of some injured players tells us. Pulisic in attack, Yunus Musa in midfield and Chris Richards in central defense all need to recover as quickly as possible.


Player ratings

United State: Matt Turner 8, Sam Vines 4, Aaron Long 4, Walker Zimmerman 5, Sergino Dest 5, Luca de la Torre 4, Tyler Adams 4, Weston McKinney 3, Giovanni Reina 5, Jesus Ferreira 4, Brenden Aaronson

Subs: Jordan Morris 5, Mark McKenzie 6, Josh Sargent 5, Reggie Cannon 6, Malik Tillman 5, Johnny Cardoso 5

Japan: Shuichi Gonda 5, Takehiro Tomiyasu 6, Hiroki Sakai 7, Yuta Nakayama 7, Maya Yoshida 6, Wataru Endo 8, Takefusa Kubo 7, Midemasa Morita 6, Junya Ito 6, Daichi Kamada 7, Daizen Maeda 6

Subs: Daniel Schmidt 5, Shoto Machino 5, Hiroki Ito 5, Kaoru Mituma 7, Ritsu Doan 5, Genki Haraguchi N/R


Best and worst performer

Best: Daiichi Kamada, Japan. There were quite a few players to choose from. Endo ran the show in midfield, and the center back duo of Sakai and Nakayama composed throughout, but Kamada took aim well and was involved in some other great reinforcements.

Worst: Weston McKinney, United States The same was true at the other end of the spectrum, but McKinney’s donation that ignited the sequence that led to Kamada’s goal, and that he completed only 69.2% of his passes, stood out from the rest.


Highlights and Highlights

The figures and accompanying graphs tell the story of US impotence toward Japan.

Japan put the final touch on the cake with a nice shot from Mitoma, having beaten Cannon and the rest of the American defense.


After the match: What the players and managers said

Berhalter: “We have work to do. We obviously need to improve.”

Berhalter: “We need to play with character, we need to play cool, we need to play hard, and when we do these things we’re a really good team. But when we don’t, we’re an average team.”


Key Statistics (Provided by ESPN Statistics and Information)

The US is now 1W-3L-2D this year against teams that qualified for the World Cup in November.

Friday was the first time since the 1-0 World Cup qualifier defeat to Panama in October 2021 that a USMNT team had lost any shots on target.

Turner’s six saves are second to Berhalter’s USA goalkeeper, who took over in January 2019. (Turner also scored the most saves in a Berhalter game, eight, against Morocco on June 1.)


next one

United State: The USMNT is heading to Spain for a friendly match on Tuesday against Saudi Arabia in Murcia. The final for the United States will be before the opening match of the World Cup group stage on November 21 against Wales.

Japan: Two more friendlies are on the agenda. The first is in Ecuador on Tuesday, as well as in Dusseldorf. Then against Canada on November 17 in Dubai, just a week before the November 23 match against Germany in the World Cup.


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