Follow along as the U.S. men’s national team continues its preparation for the World Cup by facing one of Asia’s top sides.
The U.S. men’s national team’s preparation for the 2022 World Cup continues in Germany, where Gregg Berhalter’s side is facing fellow Qatar-bound team Japan at Düsseldorf Arena on Friday.
The match is one of two left for the U.S. before the games start to really count in November. It’s not a full-strength U.S., though, with a number of key players—Tim Weah, Yunus Musah, Antonee Robinson, Chris Richards and Zack Steffen among them—not available for this camp. One of the top stars in camp, Christian Pulisic, was a scratch for the game, having picked up a knock in training earlier in the week. He is considered day-to-day by U.S. Soccer and could feature on Tuesday against Saudi Arabia in Spain.
As a result, opportunity has opened up elsewhere, and Berhalter had confirmed prior to the match that goalkeeper Matt Turner and left back Sam Vines would be among those getting the starts.
The other intrigue is up top for the U.S., where Jesús Ferreira, Josh Sargent and Ricardo Pepi are the forward picks for camp despite Jordan Pefok’s scorching form with Union Berlin. Ferreira got the first crack among the trio, getting the start at striker.
Japan, meanwhile, is looking to fine-tune for a difficult World Cup group, which features Germany, Spain and Costa Rica. The Samurai Blue finished second in their Asian qualifying group, a point behind Saudi Arabia to reach a seventh straight World Cup and are ranked 24th in the world, 10 spots behind the Americans.
The two teams have little history against one another, splitting their two meetings, with their last one coming in 2006 (a 3–2 U.S. win in a friendly).
Turner was tested early and forced into a first-minute save after a turnover in midfield, with Junya Ito swooping in, driving forward and launching a low, long-range effort on target.
The U.S.’s first opportunity came at the seven-minute mark, and it’s one that Ferreira really should have converted. Sergiño Dest delivered a pinpoint cross from the right, and the unmarked FC Dallas forward sailed his point-blank header over the bar.
On the other side, another giveaway forced Turner into action again, with Daichi Kamada getting a clear look from in close, only for the U.S. goalkeeper to hold his ground and parry it to safety.
There was nothing Turner could do to deny Kamada in the 25th minute, however. Another giveaway resulted in another chance, and while the Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder’s goal was initially ruled offside, a VAR review caught him level with the U.S. back line, resulting in the goal being given.
Stay tuned here for live updates and highlights of goals and key plays from throughout the match (refresh for most recent updates).
Here are the lineups for the game:
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