The United States Men’s National Team kicked off the first of their two pre-World Cup friendlies and they did so in an uninspiring fashion.
It was a poor day for the USMNT. Particularly the back line performed poorly and constantly turned the ball over. Berhalter’s reliance on playing out the back eventually cost the players wearing the horrible kits as Walker Zimmerman turned the ball over in his own third. The United States lost possession in their own half 54 times in the first half.
Japan got on the ball and Daichi Kamada found a wealth of space and blasted a one-timer past, Matt Turner. The goal was initially ruled offside but then VAR (correctly) overturned the call.
Turner made several saves throughout the match and looked solid in net. His distribution also looked decent though he did struggle at times. The goalkeeper was the man of the match for the USMNT and should have the starting job locked up.
The USMNT attack also struggled. The United States only had one real chance early on but Jesus Ferriera was unable to put the cross from Sergino Dest on frame. Overall, the attack struggled as the USMNT failed to get a shot on net in 90 minutes.
Gregg Berhalter made four changes at halftime with Reggie Cannon, Jordan Morris, Mark McKenzie, and Josh Sargent coming on for Ferriera, Dest, Gio Reyna, and Aaron Long. Berhalter made two more subs in the 67th minute as Malik Tillman and Johnny Cardoso came on for Weston McKennie and Luca De La Torre.
Turner was once again left out to dry in the 88th minute as Kaoru Mitoma curled a shot into the net. It was another poor effort from the defense and a great one from Mitoma.
Overall, it was a concerning performance for the USMNT. Berhalter seemed outcoached and only Turner was able to perform well. Japan’s press was too much for the United States to handle and Berhalter failed to adapt.
In their next friendly against Saudi Arabia, the United States will need a much better performance. If not, they will limp into the World Cup, making the expectation of making it out of the group stage appear to be in question.