DÜSSELDORF, Germany (Sept. 23, 2022) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to fellow World Cup finalists Japan 2-0 Friday afternoon in the first of its two final preparation matches ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Played under challenging field conditions at the Düsseldorf Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany, Daichi Kamada scored in the first half and Kaoru Mitoma put the game away with a late goal in a match in which USA goalkeeper Matt Turner make six saves.
The U.S. will now head to Spain for its final tune-up against another World Cup participant as they face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Murcia (2 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMás and TUDN).
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter had the opportunity to observe 17 players in all, with a few making their first national team appearances in months. Midfielder Gio Reyna and defender Sam Vines made their first starts in more than a year, and second half substitutes Josh Sargent, Jonny Cardoso and Mark McKenzie made their first appearances of 2022.
Japan proved to be a difficult and aggressive opponent from the start. Still, it was the USA that had the first clear chance when in the eighth minute defender Sergiño Dest beat his man to the end line on the right side before chipping a cross to the back post. Unmarked forward Jesus Ferreira jumped to win the header that went just over the crossbar.
The well-positioned and pressing Japan side caused the USA problems across the field, forcing numerous turnovers and preventing combinations. Turner put in an impressive performance in goal, keeping the USMNT in the match with quick-reaction saves. In the 13th minute, Japan’s Hidemasa Morita picked off an errant pass from the back and quickly fed Kamada, whose shot from close range was denied by Turner with his right arm for a corner kick.
The duo combined again 11 minutes later for the opening goal, with Morita setting up Kamada’s first-time finish with a curling shot around Turner’s diving attempt. The goal was initially annulled by the offside flag but was awarded after a VAR review.
The U.S. made four changes at the start the second half and looked more cohesive after regrouping at the break. Turner first denied Junya Ito’s hard shot with a diving save to his right, and then got his finger tips on another Kamada shot to push it wide. Later, Turner went high to tip Ritsu Doan’s first-time shot from the top of the box over the crossbar.
The USA’s biggest threat in the second half came off the foot of Brenden Aaronson, who got by two defenders and curled a shot from 18 wide of the goal in the 81st minute. Japan then put the game away in the 88th on a quality effort from Kaoru Mitoma.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
JPN - Daichi Kamada (Hidemasa Morita) 24th minute: Japan’s Hidemasa Morita took a ball at the arc and drew three USA defenders, leaving Kamada alone on the left. Morita squared the ball and Kamada hit a first-timed curling shot around Turner’s diving attempt to the right side of the net. The goal was initially called offside but was awarded after a VAR review. USA 0, JPN 1
JPN - Kaoru Mitoma (Yuta Nakayama) 88th minute: Kaoru Mitoma put the match away with a nice individual effort. Taking a ball on the left flank some 40 yards from goal, Mitoma advanced into the box, turning two defenders before curling a shot beyond Turner’s out-stretch dive to his left. USA 0, JPN 2
- Today’s Starting XI had an average age of 24 years, 143 days and average cap number of 20.
- Goalkeeper Matt Turner made six saves in today’s game.
- Forward Gio Reyna made his first international start in more than a year, last doing so in the 0-0 draw at El Salvador to open 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on Sept. 2, 2021. Reyna wore the number 21 shirt today, the same number his father Claudio wore a total of 42 times for the USMNT, including at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
- Defender Sam Vines earned his first USMNT appearance since the Concacaf Gold Cup Final against Mexico on Aug. 1, 2021, and his first start since the semifinal against Qatar on July 29, 2021.
- After missing both the March and June international windows, defender Sergiño Dest made his first appearance since the Jan. 30 World Cup Qualifying match at Canada.
- Walker Zimmerman captained the side for the sixth time.
- Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre and Weston McKennie started together in midfield for the first time.
- The forward line of Brenden Aaronson, Jesús Ferreira and Gio Reyna also started together for the first time today.
- Striker Josh Sargent replaced Jesús Ferreira at the start of the second half, marking his first USMNT appearance since Sept. 8, 2021 at Honduras. Mark McKenzie also came on for Aaron Long to begin the second half, earning his first cap since Oct. 7, 2021 at Panama.
- Midfielders Johnny Cardoso and Malik Tillman rounded out the USA’s substitutions, replacing Luca de la Torre and Weston McKennie in the 67th minute. Cardoso earned his fourth cap and first since Dec. 18, 2021 against Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Tillman made his third appearance, doing so in the country where he was born.
- Christian Pulisic was left off today’s roster because of a knock he took in training earlier this week. He will be evaluated day-to-day for his availability to play against Saudi Arabia on Sept. 27 in Murcia, Spain.
- The USMNT moves to 1-2-0 all-time against Japan.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. Japan
Date: September 23, 2022
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Düsseldorf Arena; Düsseldorf, Germany
Kickoff: 2:26 p.m. CEST
Weather: 64 degrees, cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
JPN 1 1 2
JPN – Daichi Kamada (Hidemasa Morita) 24th minute
JPN – Koaru Mitoma (Yuta Nakayama) 88
USA:1-Matt Turner; 2-Sergiño Dest (20-Reggie Cannon, 46), 3-Walker Zimmerman (capt.), 5-Aaron Long (16-Mark McKenzie, 46), 6-Sam Vines; 4-Tyler Adams, 8-Weston McKennie (17-Malik Tillman, 67), 14-Luca de la Torre (15-Johnny Cardoso, 67); 11-Brenden Aaronson, 9-Jesús Ferreira (24-Josh Sargent, 46), 21-Gio Reyna (13-Jordan Morris, 46)
Substitutes Not Used: 18-Ethan Horvath, 25-Sean Johnson, 7-Paul Arriola, 12-Erik Palmer-Brown, 19-Ricardo Pepi, 22-DeAndre Yedlin, 23-Kellyn Acosta, 26-Joe Scally
Head Coach: Gregg Berhalter
JPN: 12-Shuichi Gonda (23-Daniel Schmidt, 46); 16-Takehiro Yomiyasu, 22-Maya Yoshida (Capt.), 19-Hiroki Sakai (28-Hiroki Ito, 46), 20-Yuta Nakayama; 14-Junya Ito (21-Ritsu Doan, 68), 6-Wataru Endo, 13-Hidemasa Morita, 11-Takefusa Kubo (18-Kaoru Mitoma, 68); 25-Daizen Maeda (29-Shuto Machino, 46), 15-Daichi Kamada (8-Genki Haraguchi, 86)
Substitutes not used: 30-Kosei Tani, 2-Miki Yamane, 3-Shogo Taniguchi, 5-Yuto Nagamoto, 7-Gaku Shibasaki, 9-Kyogo Furuhashi, 10-Takumi Minamino, 17-Ao Tanaka, 27-Yuki Soma
Head coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Stats Summary: JPN / USA
Shots on Goal: 8/0
Corner Kicks: 8/2
USA – Luca de la Torre (caution) 60th minute
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Thorben Siewer (GER)
4th Official: Benjamin Cortus (GER)
VAR: Dr. Martin Thomsen (GER)
Assistant VAR: Markus Wollenweber (GER)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Matt Turner