September 23, (THEWILL) – In Dusseldorf, Germany, on Friday, Japan improved their World Cup preparations with a well-earned 2-0 friendly victory over the United States, while Gregg Berhalter’s men put on a lacklustre effort.
The USA battled from the start and fell behind to Daichi Kamada’s side-footed finish as Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic was sidelined due to a minor injury sustained in practice.
After the break, Berhalter’s squad owes a debt of gratitude to Matt Turner of Arsenal for keeping the game close, but he was powerless to stop Kaoru Mitoma from scoring in the dying minutes to give Japan the victory.
Having suffered a crushing 2-0 loss, the USMNT leaves Germany with more questions than answers. Over the course of the game’s entire 90 minutes, Japan proved to be the game’s superior team. The Samurai Blue strikers pressed the US back line into oblivion as Weston McKennie and the U.S. midfield were overrun.
With the World Cup coming up in just eight weeks, Berhalter will now be left to pick up the pieces after this disappointing and concerning performance. The Stars & Stripes were soundly defeated by a rival who found life all too easy in the offensive third, despite the United States’ valiant attempts to impose its style of play on the field.