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USMNT lost to Japan after an extremely disappointing performance from Gregg Berhalter just 59 days before they launched their World Championship campaign.

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Dachai Kamada took Japan 1-0 in the first half as the Samurai Blue were sharper throughout the match and the USMNT just couldn’t handle their high pressing, with Kaoru Mitoma hitting home beautifully to make it 2-0 and sealing a well deserved win.

USMNT Berhalter had zero shots on goal as they looked rambling and confused throughout a very disappointing run in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Since Christian Pulisic missed this game with an injury and many others missed this camp, perhaps the USMNT can point out that it had a huge impact on their game.

However, the USMNT is now only 90 minutes away from the World Cup and if they don’t improve significantly against Saudi Arabia next week, Berhalter’s young side will be under a lot of pressure.

What Japan taught us against USMNT

Huge amount of gifts causes huge concern: In the first 35 minutes, USMNT passed the ball 28 times in their defensive zone. 28. That number increased to 39 times in the first half when they just couldn’t make a pass and in defense and midfield they look so far away. A terrible distribution by Weston McKenney led to Japan’s first match and the USMNT never looked comfortable in possession. Yes, the field could be oscillating, but that didn’t affect Japan. Gregg Berhalter likes to play from behind, but Japan’s high pressure confuses the USMNT and they didn’t have a plan B. In this show, as Wales, England and Iran put heavy pressure on the US in November, they will have a lot of joy. Yes, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Anthony Robinson, Yunus Musakh, Christian Pulisic, and Tim Weah weren’t in the USMNT due to injuries, but this demo couldn’t have been more disjointed.

Central defender remains a big problem: Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman owe Matt Turner a beer or three since he’s been making big stops to help them out. Both USMNT centre-backs made huge mistakes in the first half and Turner made a save to prevent Japan from getting the most out of it. With all the talk about who will partner Zimmerman at the heart of Qatar’s defenses, we have more questions than answers after this screening. There is perhaps a sense that Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards may actually be the best pairing, and Long and even Mark McKenzie may have played themselves outside of the World Cup squad.

Japan clinical finisher is far from good: So now is probably not the time to panic about USMNT as Japan is a very good team. They have a very tough group at the World Cup as they will take on Spain, Germany and Costa Rica in Group E. At this show, they will make the Spanish and German riders compete for their money. If Japan had a clinical striker, they would cause huge problems to rivals in Qatar. In midfield, they are so nimble and accurate that they cause huge problems with their high pressing.

Matt Turner is the best goalkeeper: The main positive (perhaps the only positive) of this game is that Matt Turner is a clear starter for USMNT. He has only made one appearance for Arsenal so far this season but looks very sharp, has made three important saves and is ahead of Zach Steffen in the pecking order. Turner will get plenty of minutes in the Europa League and League Cup ahead of the World Cup, so he will be ready to play in November.

tactical focus

Japan pressed high in a 4-4-2 formation and allowed Long and Zimmerman to get the ball and were tasked with building a defense. USMNT didn’t get it right in the first half as they were passing the ball so many times and Japan was pressing, holding the ball well and should have scored some early goals. In the second half, Gregg Berhalter asked Sam Vines to move further forward when the USA had the ball and mostly played as a left winger. This meant that the USMNT were playing in a 3-4-2-1 formation and while that left them a bit exposed defensively, it at least helped them get a little more lead in the second half. However, there was still no fluidity in midfield and attack to withstand any pressure. Japan stopped the USMNT building from the rear, and the US didn’t really have a plan B.

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What’s next?

Traveling to Murcia, Spain on Tuesday 27 September when they face Saudi Arabia in a friendly match, their last match before the start of the World Cup in November.

How to watch Japan vs USMNT live, updates and start times

Date: Friday, September 23
Start Time: 8:25 AM ET.
Where: Dusseldorf Arena, Germany
How to watch: ESPN 2 UNIMAS, STUDY

Japan vs USMNT live analysis! — Joe Prince-Wright

ON AN ONGOING BASIS: Japan 2-0 USMNT. A very disappointing loss and Gregg Berhalter will have a lot to worry about after witnessing this.

GOALLLL! Mitoma curls up at home as a beauty. The game. Installed. Conformity. Japan was excellent.

Brenden Aaronson misses the target. It’s the closest that the USMNT came up in the second half.

20 minutes to Düsseldorf. Not much going on for USMNT.

SAVE! Matt Turner hit Kamada with a perfect low stop. Mackenzie made a mistake and Kamada crashed inside Cannon, but Turner deflected it. Japan is rushing to the second.

Japan has calmed down again and is holding up well. The U.S. bench is yelling for their players to take the field.

Slightly better from USMNT in the second half. Sam Vines is asked to increase the attack on the left flank. The US is undefended on the defensive, but at least it has a few more options to attack.

Sargent, Morris, Mackenzie and Cannon at HT for USMNT. Ferreira, Reina, Long and Dest came on as subs. USMNT has a big 45 minutes to go to see if they can get into this game.

BREAKA: It was very bad from USMNT. Japan deservedly leads the way and they should be even more ahead. No aggressive intentions from the US and so many bad handouts.

Japan is in full control of the situation. They play the ball well and the USMNT just can’t keep the ball.

GOALLLL! 1-0 to Japan. Daichi Kamada finishes after another bad midfield hand from USMNT, this time from McKenny. VAR used to allow a goal after it was initially ruled out for offside. Japan fully deserves this leadership. The United States was absolutely on top and could be at least a couple of heads behind.

Japan is so good with the ball in the last third. USMNT just can’t handle the speed of passing and moving. Stretched throughout.

SAVE! Great stop for Matt Turner to turn down Kamada after a terrible hand from Walker Zimmerman. Japan should be 1-0 up. The USMNT centre-back duo of Aaron Long and Zimmerman had already given away the ball very cheaply, giving Japan the best chance. Not good.

CHANCE! Big opportunity for USMNT when Sergino Dest breaks right and makes a great cross to Jesús Ferreira. Six yards away and unmarked, but he’s on his way. It’s a big chance wasted.

Quite a slow pace for the beginning of the game. The grass in this field looks quite long.

Aaron Long has a bad hand and Japan has a shot on goal. They should have made more of it.

KICK OFF: We are already in Düsseldorf! Luca de la Torre rushes down from the right, but his cross is blocked. The stadium is noisy and there are many drums, but there are few fans.

The news about Pulisic sounds more positive and he could face Saudi Arabia next week.

As for the real players who will play against Japan, there are no surprises here.

Sergino Dest starts at right back, Walker Zimmerman captains in central defence, and Luca de la Torre starts in central midfield alongside McKenny and Adams. Gio Reina and Brenden Aaronsohn will start as they will support Jesús Ferreira.

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Source: soccer.nbcsports.com