USMND Panic Meter: How did USA lose 2-0 to Japan as 2022 FIFA World Cup approaches?


untitled design 96 USMND Panic Meter: How did USA lose 2-0 to Japan as 2022 FIFA World Cup approaches?

The United States Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan to kick off their September international window. Goals from Daiichi Kamada and Kaoru Mitoma made the difference for the Samurai Blue. They outplayed America in every phase of the game. Keeping the USMND at bay is an achievement for Japan, but now is a good time to look for cause for concern as the team still has one more friendly before their next match at the World Cup in Qatar.

Forward: It doesn’t matter who played

The team took four shots and none on target and blaming the number nine for the performance is odd, but outside of Erling Holland and Robert Lewandowski, anyone leading the line would not have made the difference. match Jordan Beffolk would have brought more physical presence than Jesus Ferreira, but even when Walker Zimmerman tried to get a lane during the match, it didn’t matter. With only 14 touches in the half, Ferreira did his best by taking a couple of shots, but the ball didn’t progress enough to make a difference.

When Japan shut Brendan Aaronson out of their press, the team didn’t have the team to help him. As one of the players to play consistently for all 90 minutes, Aaronson showed he deserves to be there, but without Christian Pulisic or Tim Weah, there is no one to run in behind and punish Japan’s aggressive defence. You can only pass so far when a defense pushes their center backs up the field because they know no one can push the pace behind them to punish their aggression.

For most of the Sergino Test, the US used a novel dribble to approach the match and get stuck there. Bringing in Jordan Morris is a great way to close out matches, but that’s another area that needs adjustment, because if he plays 45 minutes or more at the World Cup, the USMNT will have problems. Changing things up at half-time could have been an option, but this was another match where Berhalter stuck to his primary approach instead of playing around the opposition.


Who starts at center forward in Qatar remains a question mark, but despite his attacking struggles in this match, he is not up front.

Panic Meter: 4

Midfielders: Alarm bells ringing

After this performance, I don’t want to see the national team play again without Yunus Musa. Luca de la Torre played like a midfielder, he only registered 11 minutes for his club this season. His performance was emblematic of a flat day for the midfield trio as a whole. By then it was too late for him to make an impact, as Berhalter replaced de la Torre for Johnny Cardoso in the 67th minute. It’s fair to question whether Gio Reina or Aaronson should have started at ten, but with Christian Pulisic also missing the match, Berhalter may have been reluctant to use Paul Areola on the wing.

A switch to a 4-2-3-1 may have given Japan something to think about, but missing the team’s most pressing midfielder in Musa, no one was created on the dribble. Berhalter said the team has work to do after that performance, but with even regulars like Tyler Adams and Weston McKenney struggling with the ball, it’s time the team needs a plan.

Things were better in the second half because it was a bit too quick to try to play around Japan because the team couldn’t play, but that’s hard to do on neutral grounds like the one they played on Friday and the one the team faced. in Qatar than the United States does when playing domestically. In the toughest test at home since the draw with Mexico in March, the team will need to prove their seriousness to continue in matches that are not on their front legs. They didn’t.

Musa’s return will help a lot, but it won’t fix all the problems overnight, so changes between this match and the one against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday will be crucial. The return of Musa in November will help and Adams and McKenney have the proven quality the USMNT will need to rely on. However, they have to find solutions when things don’t work, and they certainly didn’t on Friday.

Panic Meter: 6

Guardians: Concerned

The centre-back pairing has been difficult to assess during this tournament. It’s true that both Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long missed turnovers and tackles during the contest, but it’s also true that their workloads were more than needed. Anthony Robinson’s absence quickly shows how important he is to the national team, as his comfort defense extends to his centre-back partner, and while he rarely registers assists, his crosses into the box at least keep the team honest.

Sam Vines looked out of his depth and was afraid to step up in the first half, then fell out of position in the second half. He lacked the recovery speed of Joe Scally when beaten by a striker, making things difficult for Long and Mark McKenzie, who played the final 45 minutes. If the midfield is pressed off the ball, the entire defense will have a tough time, and that’s Friday. But with Robinson likely to return, depth is the unit’s biggest concern and Sergino’s playing time for the Test at AC Milan.

One of the Test’s brightest attacking moments came when he slipped into the final third, but his attacking flair also led to Japan’s opening goal as he couldn’t get back to defend his man. The hope is that the midfield will cover him as he goes forward in the Test, but that was not the case in De La Torre’s match. The lack of communication between the two regulars in the team is not something we want to see at this stage of the game.

Substitute Reggie Cannon didn’t offer much as he was beaten in a 1v1 situation for Japan’s second goal when the team had four right backs. Berhalder knows what’s in DeAndre Yedlin, which could lead him to leave the cannon off the plane to Qatar to raise other levels.

The bottom line here is that Lang needs to be featured more as Zimmermann’s primary center back partner, and this team still lacks a capable Robinson backup on the left. Those are worrisome issues.

Panic Meter: 7

Keeper: As cool as possible

Even though Matt Turner’s delivery couldn’t get the team going, he was the only reason Japan didn’t win the game 5-0. Completing just two of 11 long balls isn’t great, but with the way the attack has worked, it’s understandable that Turner has had problems with the ball at his feet. USMNT Japan’s press influences who he can get the ball to. While defending his net, Turner was stellar. Sixer made the save and did what he was asked to do, and the two shots he took were tough to get off because of how quickly the defense collapsed. A number one worthy performance by the only member of the team that stands out today.

Panic Meter: 0



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