USMNT has no answer for Japan in friendly loss

DUSSELDORF, Germany — With the World Cup lower than two months away, the United States males’s nationwide workforce hoped to sharpen up its recreation towards Japan, but when something, it was the Samurai Blue who seemed extra prepared for the showpiece match, driving objectives both aspect of halftime from Daichi Kamada and Kaoru Mitoma to a 2-0 victory.

The scoreline flattered the US workforce’s woeful efficiency, because the Americans seemed utterly out of sync all through the match. It’s clear that even at this late stage, US supervisor Gregg Berhalter has some work to do.

JUMP TO: Player rankings | Best/worst performers Highlights and notable moments Postmatch quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures


Rapid Reaction

1. US has no answer for Japan’s press

Berhalter typically needs his aspect to play on the entrance foot, and that begins with urgent groups excessive up the sector. On today, although, Japan gave the Americans a style of their very own medication, and it labored to perfection. Case in level was Japan’s objective in the twenty fourth minute, when a turnover from Weston McKennie led to a transition alternative in which Hidemasa Morita discovered Kamada vast open to side-foot previous Matt Turner in the US objective.

The US additionally was sluggish to react to seemingly all the pieces, enjoying timidly at occasions, and no American was immune from turning the ball over. Could it have been nerves or a case of enjoying protected with the World Cup looming? That appears unlikely.

The effectiveness of Japan’s stress meant that the US hardly ever obtained into the type of spots in which it might threaten Shuichi Gonda in the Japan objective, and had simply 5 touches in Japan’s penalty space in the course of the first half — the USMNT’s fewest in a friendly since 2019. Sergino Dest delivered an inviting cross for Jesus Ferreira in the eighth minute, however the FC Dallas striker might solely balloon his header over the bar. Ferreira’s lack of bodily presence up prime, mixed with the absence of Christian Pulisic attributable to a knock, solely compounded the US workforce’s struggles with the ball. The US seemed a bit extra threatening with Joshua Sargent up prime in the second half, however not a lot.

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Given the issue that the US had in enjoying out of the again — and this was a midfield drawback as a lot because it was a back-line drawback — it stands to motive that the Americans’ group stage opponents will likely be taking copious notes in phrases of the best way to get on the US protection.

2. Has Turner claimed the US’s No. 1 shirt?

The US had Turner to thank for going into halftime with only a one-goal deficit. In specific his save from Kamada when he was clear by on objective in the thirteenth minute following a giveaway from Walker Zimmerman was spectacular. He additionally commanded his field properly and made the routine saves he was imagined to make.

The solely grievance was Turner’s distribution in some circumstances, in which his contact and accuracy with the ball was subpar. He’ll have to sharpen that up in the remaining weeks forward of the World Cup.

Was it sufficient to push his nostril in entrance in the battle for the beginning goalkeeper spot? One must assume so, however Berhalter has lengthy had a gentle spot for Zack Steffen. It in all probability will not be till November that we all know this answer for sure.

3. Fringe gamers make little impression

On a day in which alternative beckoned for gamers competing for the previous couple of roster spots, there wasn’t a lot motion. Both Reggie Cannon and Mark McKenzie acquitted themselves properly in substitute roles, however there wasn’t a lot else of word. In phrases of starters, Sam Vines didn’t enhance his inventory in any respect, and the identical was true for Aaron Long, as neither participant seemed as much as the tempo of the match.

In truth, if something this was a day in which the absences of some injured gamers had been telling. Pulisic in assault, Yunus Musah in midfield and Chris Richards at center-back all have to heal up as rapidly as potential.


Player rankings

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

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, Shuto Machino 5, Hiroki Ito 5, Kaoru Mitoma 7, Ritsu Doan 5, Genki Haraguchi N/R


Best and worst performers

BEST: Daichi Kamada, Japan. There had been a couple of gamers to choose from. Endo ran the present in midfield, and the center-back pairing of Sakai and Nakayama had been composed all through, however Kamada took his objective properly and was concerned in a couple of different slick buildups.

WORST: Weston McKennie, US The similar was true on the different finish of the spectrum, however McKennie’s giveaway that sparked the sequence that led to Kamada’s objective, and that he accomplished simply 69.2% of his passes, stood out from the remaining.


Highlights and notable moments

The numbers, and the graphs that go along with them, instructed the story of the US’s impotence towards Japan.

Japan put the icing on the cake with a well-taken objective from Mitoma, having dismissed Cannon and the remainder of the American protection.


After the match: What the gamers and managers mentioned

Berhalter: “We’ve obtained work to do. We clearly want to enhance.

“We have to play with character, we have to play relaxed, we have to play with depth, and once we do these items, we’re a extremely good workforce. But once we do not, we’re a median workforce.”

Adams: “I felt like we had been simply enjoying into Japan’s hand. We might have found out fairly simply that they had been urgent us excessive, and the answer, I believe in the start of the sport was in all probability to play a little bit bit extra direct, a little bit bit in behind to settle that stress, to drop off a little bit bit and create a little bit bit more room, a little bit bit extra calmness on the ball. But it was troublesome. We did not discover options early on and, yeah, as the sport went on, we began to search out a little bit bit extra options, however we simply did not create any clear-cut probabilities.

“I believe that a number of the groups in Concacaf, you understand, the Mexicos and the Honduras, they’ve pressed us, and we discovered options. We simply wanted to search out options earlier on. I believe that we had a match plan and I believe it could’ve been efficient if we caught to the, to the sport plan. But typically I simply felt that perhaps we simply began to look for particular person options as an alternative of sticking collectively, sticking to the match plan, staying disciplined in our recreation plan . And you noticed Japan, they did that properly. They had one recreation plan and it was efficient.”


Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Information)

– The US is now 1-3-2 this yr towards groups which have certified for November’s World Cup.

– Friday was the primary time since a 1-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Panama in October 2021 that the USMNT had been held to zero photographs on the right track.

– Turner’s six saves had been the second-most by a US keeper underneath Berhalter, who took over in January 2019. (Turner additionally has essentially the most saves in a recreation underneath Berhalter, eight, towards Morocco on June 1.)


Up subsequent

United States: The USMNT heads to Spain for a Tuesday friendly towards Saudi Arabia in Murcia. It would be the remaining fixture for the US earlier than its World Cup group stage opener Nov. 21 towards Wales.

Japan: Two extra friendly on the docket. First up is Ecuador on Tuesday, additionally in Dusseldorf. Then towards Canada on Nov. 17 in Dubai, only one week earlier than the Nov. 23 conflict towards Germany on the World Cup.

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