Japan and the USMNT square off in a crucial friendly in Dusseldorf, Germany on Friday (kick-off, 8:25 a.m. ET) as both teams focus on their final preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
[ MORE: Five questions for the USMNT ]
With just two months to go until the tournament in Qatar, the USMNT have two final friendlies (this game against Japan and then Saudi Arabia next Tuesday) to get themselves in shape and that’s it for side of Gregg Berhalter.
Join us for our live Q&A on the NBC Sports YouTube channel after the Japan vs. USMNT game on Friday, September 23rd, as we’ll be live from approximately 10:30am ET to answer your questions!
The USMNT will have a chance to get out of their World Cup group as England, Wales and Iran will be found in Group B, while Japan have actually been drawn in Group E with Spain, Germany and Costa Rica. tough group.
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Below is everything you need to know as the Samurai Blue and the Stars and Stripes collide.
Latest USMNT news
Christian Pulisic to miss USMNT vs Japan due to injury World Cup 2022 kit rankings Five questions for USMNT friends in September
How to watch Japan vs USMNT live, updates and start time
Date: Friday, September 23
Start time: 8:25am ET
Venue: Dusseldorf Arena, Germany
How to watch: ESPN 2Unimas, TUDN
Japan vs USMNT live analysis! – By Joe Prince-Wright
In terms of the actual players facing Japan, there really won’t be any surprises here.
Sergino Dest starts at right back, Walker Zimmerman captains the flank in the center and Luca de la Torre starts in midfield alongside McKennie and Adams. Gio Reyna and Brenden Aaronson start as they will support Jesus Ferreira.
BREAK team news: This is not great news for the USMNT. Christian Pulisic was injured in training and will not play any part against Japan. US Soccer released a statement saying that Pulisic would be monitored and his availability for the match against Saudi Arabia next Tuesday will be determined soon. More details below, but this is a blow for Berhalter.
Hello and good morning! Fire up that pot of coffee and strap in for an important warm-up game for the USMNT in the World Cup. Gregg Berhalter’s men are only 180 minutes away from the World Cup in Qatar in November and this game against Japan is a huge opportunity for plenty of players.
The big stories swirling around the USMNT ahead of these friendlies seem to have revolved around this young team for much of the past two years: who will play up front and who will will be the second goalkeeper?
With the red-hot Jordan Pefok surprisingly left off the roster despite his incredible start to the season for Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin, the duo of Ricardo Pepi and Josh Sargent were given one final chance to prove themselves for Berhalter. Gio Reyna is back in the squad, which is a big boost, and gives Berhalter so many options in the attacking midfield areas. How will he push Brenden Aaronson, Christian Pulisic and Reyna into the same starting group? Can he?
At centre-back, matters have been complicated by injuries to Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards, who were set to battle it out to see who will start alongside Walker Zimmerman at the World Cup. The likes of Aaron Long, Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown will see this as a great opportunity to make the roster as Miles Robinson is unlikely to make the squad after suffering an Achilles injury. Yunus Musah being out injured is a blow as he was sure to start alongside Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie in midfield. In goal, Zack Steffen is out with an injury and is just coming back, so Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson will be up against the third point and that last goalie with Matt Turner now looking like the starter. while fighting against Japan.
Brendan Aaronson explains the excitement of the USMNT
Leeds United player Brenden Aaronson has made a fine start to his Premier League career in recent months and the 21-year-old is fired up with the World Cup just two months away.
“It’s crazy to think how close the World Cup is, it’s in the back of your head,” Aaronson told reporters. “With Leeds at the moment I haven’t had a chance to think about it but it’s really growing. Seeing the guys again and thinking ‘wow, these are the last two games before the World Cup’. It comes as you quickly. I think the preparation and what we’ve done over the last few years is ready to go and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Japan vs USMNT head-to-head record
This will be only the third all-time meeting between Japan and the USMNT, as the first meeting in 1993 in Tokyo ran out 3-1 winners with Hugo Perez scoring the USA’s only goal. The last time these teams met was in 2006 when the USMNT won 3-2 in San Francisco as Eddie Pope, Clint Dempsey and Taylor Twellman put them up 3-0 as the United States held on for victory.
Gambling on Japan
This is a very experienced side with captain Maya Yoshida (114 caps) leading the back line, as well as fullback Yuto Nagatoma (136 caps) and goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima (95 caps) in this squad for a decade on least, plus Arsenal Takehiro. Tomiyasu as an integral part of their defense. Daichi Kamada (Frankfurt), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg), Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic) and Takumi Minamino (Monaco) are attacking talents to watch out for. Japan and their manager Hajime Moriyasu know they have received a tough assessment at the World Cup but they are usually very good at defying expectations and have managed to qualify in the Asian Football Confederation for their seventh straight World Cup to achieve.
USMNT team news, injuries, lineup
With injuries in defense and midfield, opportunities have arisen all over the place for USMNT players to make one final statement before the World Cup roster is announced. Many expected Erik Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie to get plenty of minutes at center, but Aaron Long starts alongside Zimmerman. Although there is a bit of a battle at left back with Antonee Robinson missing from this squad with injury. Can Joe Scally and Sam Vines give Berhalter even more headaches in the backfield? After a great start to the season with Antwerp, Vines starts at left-back in this game against Japan.
Luca de la Torre starts in midfield alongside Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams, and this will be very interesting on top. Berhalter will try to balance his team but at the same time get his best attacking talents in the game. Berhalter mentioned that both Reyna and Aaronson will be looked at in a central midfield role but with Christian Pulisic out with injury, Reyna and Aaronson are starting out wide. Duo Josh Sargent and Ricardo Pepi have not worn the No. 9 from Jesus Ferreira to reach, so far, as the FC Dallas star is at the top of his game.
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