USMNT friendly loss to Japan is a World Cup wake-up call

USMNT friendly loss to Japan is a World Cup wake-up call

A Friday friendly that started unusually early in the US proved to be a sobering — and perhaps helpful — wake-up call for American men.

Gregg Berhalter wants his young team to play aggressively and directly, pressing the opposition for mistakes and then capitalizing on them with quick runs and passes behind the defense. He wants the field to be sloped and, in that sense, he has repeatedly said that he plans to deploy a high line of defense in Qatar. He hopes to be on the front foot.

Sometimes, however, the opponent has other plans. Confronted by a smart and energetic Japanese team that refused to allow the US to establish a foothold or play to its strengths, the Americans collapsed and were easily beaten, 2-0, at Düsseldorf’s Merkur Spiel-Arena. , Germany. The US committed a series of turnovers and failed to get a single shot on goal in what was its worst performance under Berhalter since a World Cup qualifying loss in Panama last October. That game featured a heavily rotated squad playing in oppressive humidity. On Friday in Germany, Americans were simply poor.

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