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USMNT-Japan confirmed for Dusseldorf on Sept. 23

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The U.S. men’s national team’s quest to face as much World Cup-caliber competition before the World Cup as possible has led to the securing of yet another opponent capable of testing Gregg Berhalter’s squad.

The Americans will face Japan on September 23 in Dusseldorf, Germany, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday.

The USMNT will face Japan four days prior to taking on Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain on September 27th.

The September friendlies will be the final opportunity for the USMNT to bring together their full-strength squad before the World Cup in November, giving Berhalter his final chance to see his team play together, and potentially integrate any new faces that may emerge as candidates for consideration.

The Americans last played in June, beating World Cup-bound Morocco, 3-0, and tying fellow World Cup participant Uruguay, 0-0 before posting a 5-0 Concacaf Nations League win against Grenada and 1-1 draw at El Salvador.

The USMNT open World Cup group play on November 21 against Wales before taking on England on Friday, November. 25 and finish the first round vs. IR Iran on Nov. 29. All three of the USA’s group stage games will kick off at 2 p.m. ET.

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  1. Japan’s got some real quality. Tomiyasu plays with Arsenal – usually off the bench, but he gets lots of minutes – and there’s tons of others who feature heavily in Germany and a few others scattered across England, France, and Scotland. A good many of their bench guys still play in the J-League but like the US, those guys tend to be either younger or older.

    Saudi I’m a lot less sold on. Every single player on their roster plays in their domestic league, and the vast majority of their starters play for either Al-Hilal or Al-Nassr, both out of Riyadh. In classic kingdom fashion, all roads in Saudi Arabia lead to the capital, and most other teams tend to be organ donors for those two, one of which wins the Saudi league almost every year. So they have familiarity and know one another very well…but they also play on stacked big-money teams that mostly whump on whatever the Saudi equivalent of the Washington Generals is every week. They got thumped 2-0 by Japan in February, lost to Venezuela and Colombia in June, and tied China 1-1 in March…their only two victories in 2022, in fact, have been 1-0 wins over Oman and Australia. They were also terrible in the Asian Cup in December, crashing out of Group Stage by losing to Morocco and Jordan and managing only a tie against lowly Palestine.

    Unsurprisingly, Japan’s ranked #24 in the world, Saudi just #53.

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