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USMNT panic meter: With 2022 FIFA World Cup looming, how concerning is USA’s 2-0 loss to Japan?

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The US men’s national team lost 2-0 to Japan in an uninspiring manner, opening their September international window. Goals from Daichi Kamada and Kaoru Mitoma were the deciding factor for the Blue Samurai in a match that saw them beat the United States at every stage of the game. Keeping USMNT from taking a shot on goal is a big achievement for Japan, but now is the time to think about reasons for concern as the team has another friendly before their next match at the World Cup in Qatar.

Forwards: It doesn’t matter who played

It’s strange to play a match where a team landed four shots and none on target and not blame the 9 for the scoring, but anyone who led the line other than Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski probably wouldn’t make a difference. conformity. Jordan Pefok would have been more physically present than Jesus Ferreira, but even when Walker Zimmerman tried to go the first route during the match, it didn’t matter. With just 14 touches in the half, Ferreira did his best to make something out of nothing with two hits, but the ball didn’t move forward enough for it to matter.

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When Japan shut down Brenden Aaronson with their press, the team didn’t have a scorer to help him. As one of the players who kept playing the full 90 minutes, Aaronsohn showed he deserved to be there, but without Christian Pulisic or Tim Weah, there was no one to punish Japan’s aggressive defense by running behind. You can only go this far with short passes when the defense can push their centre-backs far ahead of the field because they know no one can speed up behind them to punish their aggressiveness.

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Most of the time, Sergino Dest was the furthest forward as the United States took a new approach to the corner and got stuck in the match. Bringing in Jordan Morris is a great closeout option, but it’s another place where adjustments are needed because if he has to play 45 minutes or more at the World Championship, USMNT will be in trouble. It could have been a turnaround in the middle of the match, but this is another match where Berhalter sticks to his basic approach instead of adapting to the game around the opposition.

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Who starts as a centre-forward in Qatar remains in question, but despite the offensive struggle in this match, this one was not among the strikers.

Panic counter: 4

Midfielders: wake-up calls

After this performance, I never want to watch the game of the national team without Yunus Musa again. Luca de la Torre has played as a midfielder who has played just 11 minutes for his club this season. His play was emblematic of a flat day for the midfield trio in general. Although Berhalter eventually sent off de la Torre in place of Johnny Cardoso in the 67th minute, by then it was too late for him to influence the result. It’s fair to wonder if Gio Reina or Aaronsson should have started in the top ten, but since Christian Pulisic also missed the match, Berhalter may not have wanted to use Paul Arriola on the wing.

A change to a 4-2-3-1 would have given Japan food for thought, but the absence of Musa, the team’s most pressure-resistant midfielder, showed that no one had created a dribble. Berhalter said the team has a lot of work to do after this performance, but when even the likes of Tyler Adams and Weston McKenny lose the ball, there comes a time when the team needs a plan B.

Things went better in the second half as passes got a bit faster to try and play in Japan as the team couldn’t play through them, but it’s harder to do so in neutral venues like where they played on Friday and where the team will face in Qatar than to do so when the US is playing at home. In their toughest off-home challenge since meeting Mexico in March, this team needed to prove they had enough intensity to keep up in matches where they weren’t at the forefront. They are not.

Musa’s return will help a lot, but it won’t solve everything overnight, so adjustments between this match and Tuesday’s meeting with Saudi Arabia will be critical. Musa’s return in November will help, and Adams and McKenny have proven quality that the USMNT should rely on. However, they need to be able to find solutions when things don’t work, and on Friday they definitely didn’t.

Panic counter: 6

Defenders: worried

It is difficult for me to evaluate a couple of central defenders in this match. It’s true that both Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long made mistakes during the match, passing the ball and missing, but it’s also true that their job was harder than it should have been. The absence of Anthony Robinson quickly shows how important he is to the national team, as his defensive convenience extends to his centre-back teammate, and his crosses into the box at least keep the team honest, although he rarely provides assists.

Sam Vines looked out of his element and was afraid to go forward in the first half, then was out of position in the second half. He doesn’t have Joe Scully’s recovery speed when he’s beaten by an attacker, making it harder for Long and Mark McKenzie, who have been playing the last 45 minutes. When a midfield loses the ball, it’s hard for the entire defense, which happened on Friday. But with Robinson likely to return, depth is the division’s biggest challenge, as is playing time for Sergino Desta at AC Milan.

Dest had one of his biggest offensive moments as he slipped into the final third, but his attacking nature also helped Japan score the first goal as he was unable to come back to defend his man. There is hope that the midfield will cover for Dest as he takes the lead, but that did not happen to de la Torre in the match. The lack of communication between two regulars in a squad is certainly not what we want to see at this stage of the game.

Substituting Reggie Cannon didn’t do much either, as he was beaten in a 1v1 situation for Japan’s second goal, which isn’t great when there are four right-backs on the team. Berhalter knows what he has in DeAndre Yedlin and that could result in Cannon not flying to Qatar to shore up other positions.

The bottom line is that Long needs to show himself more as Zimmermann’s main centre-back, and this team still doesn’t have a suitable backup Robinson on the left. These are worrying questions.

Panic counter: 7

Guardian: Cool as can be

While Matt Turner’s distribution couldn’t get the team moving forward, he was the only reason Japan didn’t win this game 5-0. Finishing only two out of 11 long passes isn’t great, but with the way the attack was played, also understandably, Turner had trouble with the ball at his feet. The Japanese press worked on the USMNT, influencing who he could pass the ball to. When it came to protecting his network, Turner excelled. After making six saves, he did what he was asked to do, and the two shots he was beaten on are hard to keep up with how quickly the defense collapsed. A respectable number one performance from the only team member who stands out today.

Panic counter: 0



Source: www.cbssports.com

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