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USMNT falls flat in loss to Japan


The U.S. men’s national team played its first match in more than three months, and came away looking like a team that needs a lot more work if it is going to be ready for the World Cup in less than two months.

Daichi Kamada and Karou Mitoma propelled Japan to a 2-0 victory over the Americans in Dusseldorf, handing the USMNT its first defeat since March’s final round of World Cup Qualifying.

The Americans produced the first major chance of the match, and their only real chance of the match, in the eighth minute but Jesus Ferreira was unable to convert an excellent cross from Sergiño Dest, skying a free header to keep the score 0-0.

Kamada needed only 24 minutes to boost Japan in front, sliding a right-footed shot into the bottom corner on a goal initially ruled offside. Referee Felix Zwayer reviewed the play via VAR and determined that Walker Zimmerman played Kamada onside.

The USMNT offered little in the final third, failing to get any of its attacking pieces involved. Countless pressure from Japan led to several USMNT turnovers, setting the stage for a busier second half for USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner, who was the lone bright spot in the loss, making six saves and helping the Americans avoid a larger margin of defeat.

Turner continued to keep the USMNT’s deficit at one goal, denying Junya Ito’s right-footed effort in the 54th minute before repelling Kamada’s shot in the 65th.  Ritsu Doan’s long-range shot was heading into the top-left corner in the 75th minute, but Turner dove to his right to punch over the midfielder’s shot.

The arrivals of Josh Sargent, Jordan Morris, and Reggie Cannon did little to change the USMNT’s lackluster attack as Japan continued to hit the Americans on several counter attacking chances.

Kaoru Mitoma came off the bench in the second half and delivered Japan’s insurance goal, cutting past Cannon and into the box before curling a shot into the bottom-right corner.

The USMNT played without star Christian Pulisic, who was held out of action after picking up a knock in training during the week.

The USMNT will now aim to rebound in Tuesday’s final friendly before the World Cup, a showdown with Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain.


  1. Jay Demerit was a good CB and was a good Scrappy player, I miss not having that Brick wall this is our house, presence he had. He is better than Harry Maguire too.

  2. Watched the game live, then got so busy didn’t have time to think and process until this morning. Or maybe I just wanted to forget it lol.
    1. Our tactics were so very wrong against Japan. We obviously decided not to press them, then were gung ho about trying to build out of the back against their press with defenders who are not really great passers. Vines needed to push higher on the left to give us some kind of width and attack on that side but he retreated the entire first half. Berhalter’s lone positive was recognizing this and forcing Vines higher in the second half by basically going with back 3. And it made a difference for the the first 20 min of the second half, until Japan realized that even with better positioning Vines was still no threat. This game was screaming for a more direct approach but we just didnt have the personnel to accomplish that. Zimmerman tried a couple times but the balls weren’t great and the attempts of the forwards to hold up were really bad. This strict adherence to tiki-taka build out the back just looked nonsensical against a team like Japan. Coaches should have known and prepared for that…
    2. There was a lack of intensity and sharpness from our guys that surprised me. I know the guys care and want to win so gonna chalk it up to travel and lack of game time together, or something. But Japan was even more physical than we were, which leads to:
    3. Japan was really impressive. They have a combination of technical skill, experience, and chemistry that is super impressive for a national team. I think they will get out of their group and have a real shot at a deep run in Qatar.

    • Jb – they are in a group with Germany, Spain, and Costa Rica. Just getting out of there group would be a huge accomplishment but I don’t think that will happen. I doubt their press will be very effective against Germany or Spain but we will see soon enough.

    • Japan were non-friendly sort of physical. They kicked Aaronsen so often he looked like Cobi Jones playing Mexico. The extra stab of the cleats into the back of the leg was red card worthy.

      That doesn’t change the game though–we were awful.

    • Advancing out of a group with Spain and Germany will be extremely difficult. Spain will not let Japans pressure bother them, they are too good at distribution from back and doing so quickly that it will tire Japan. Germany as well will transition from offense to defense well enough to snuff any Japanese counter and I’m sure the Germans will be very pragmatic with their approach and being direct. With their ability in the air not sure how Japan won’t seed at least 1 to 2 goals. Neither of those teams will take Japan lightly. I think the US was naive in its approach to this game. At least I hope they were naïve and just trying to see how building out of the back worked because if that is their final plan it will fail miserably in Qatar.

      • Saudi Arabia has 5 games schedule in October and November before playing in the Cup. Granted those games are on home soil so they won’t have to travel and the majority of their players playing their own domestic league or in leagues in the Middle East very few in Europe. That being said I’m sure a lot of teams that I’ve looked at have at least one or two games scheduled after this Window. Sadly the US does not have a single game scheduled sure logistics play a part in it and having players in Europe plays a major part in it but I just can’t believe they couldn’t get one game scheduled somewhere in November before the start of the cup. Even if it was made up of available MLS and fringe Euro players I am sure it would benefit 7 or so rostered players. Just feel like we’re gonna be totally unprepared playing this fall cup. If the team can’t come out and thump Saudi Arabia I think all of her concerns will be validated.

      • Glover: No players will be available before Nov 14 besides MLS players not in the playoffs. The teams with friendlies scheduled that week don’t play their matches until later in the week than the US. I thought I’d heard somewhere there was a closed door scrimmage scheduled during that training week but maybe I’m wrong.

  3. surprising feature to me, if I am not signed in, my comments never get posted, I get a message that it is waiting for approval.

    So, my posts will actually show up as from Dennis Mueller rather than Dennis.

    I am not going to repost the pearls of wisdom I sent earlier, just be confident that everything I said was correct and insightful

    • Dennis – I got it telepathically and it was brilliant!! I made a typo on my original name using 57 instead of 59 and when I use 59 nothing gets posted and stays in moderation so I am 57 again. I too lost time consuming masterpieces 🙁

  4. In many ways things played out almost exactly as many Fans expected. Observations (positive and negative) after re-watching the match.
    1) The CB pairing of Zimmerman & Long does not work w/ Gregg’s tactics. Zimmerman has looked his best when partnered with someone able to distribute out of the back. Long has been a shell of his former self since the injury. Before the injury he looked best when paired with Brooks. The 2 together don’t work.
    2) Vines was invisible the entire game. Often forgot he was even on the field. When reminded he was playing it was usually because he got burned.
    3) Morris cannot compete above CONCACAF level competition. Most of us knew this going into the game, but with the injuries I guess he was still the best of the remaining bad options.
    4) GGG’s inability/unwillingness to change tactics/formation to align with the players available continues to bite us in the a$$. With the CBs we had a 4-2-3-1 would have worked better against how Japan’s formation/tactics.
    5) One bright spot was that Turner did not appear to have regressed due to lack of PT. Kept the US in the game this morning. Just name him the starting GK already.
    6) CF is still a huge question mark. Ferreira was in-effective and Sargent was starved for service due to Vines & Morris being invisible.
    7) The team was flat across the board. showed zero urgency or drive in this game. If Gregg cannot get players up /engaged and ready to play in this type of game that clearly is an issue.
    8) If we play like this in the WC we will not make it our of the group stage.
    9) Regardless how the WC performances go it should be clear, even to the USSF brass, that GGG should not have his contract extended beyond this cycle.

  5. GB has as much personality as Elmer’s Glue. So if found it ironic that he says our team lacked the same. He couldn’t motivate a class of 3rd graders to take recess.

    GB is one of these buzz words guys that puts form over substance. It is a simple game—kick the ball in the back of the opponent’s net and don’t let them do the same to you. He can’t seem to grasp this.

    He should have never gotten the job and should have been fired long ago. But his brother runs the ussf after all. Nepotism???????

  6. I’ve only watched the first 30 mins so apparently I saw our best. Ferreira has to finish that earlier opportunity. We were very right sided I had forgotten Reyna was even on the field. It felt like we really hadn’t planned for Japan but we’re just going to work on what we wanted to work on and Japan had either schemed for us or just happened that we played into their tactics. We can say well everyone will have injuries at the WC but we were missing at least 4 starters and one other key player and Japan had essentially their full team. Virtually any team missing 5 of their first 12 is going out in the group stage, the other teams are too good. This team has some parallels to that 2002 team; barely qualified, MLS based defenders (you decide who’s in the Jeff Agoos roll), average in the post qualify pre Cup friendlies, plenty of European based players, youthful stars. It feels more like 2006 though. It just might be that we have a team made up of square pegs and round holes, their skills just might not fit together. Very disappointing.

  7. Because the game started so early on the West Coast, I forgot to tape it and slept too late (7:15 a.m. here) so I only saw the comments after the game. I feel fortunate not to have watched it. Before the last women’s world cup, some player on another top team said something dissing the US and one of the playhers was asked if that gave them motivation. She responded, This is the World Cup. If you’re not motivated by that, you don’t belong here. As for this game, there were only 2 games until the WC, so why wasn’t this team motivated? GB talked about the players needed to show their personality. If the team comes out flat at this point, that’s on the coach. Certainly, at least as to depth, this is the best US team ever, yet they finished 3rd in qualifying and couldn’t get motivated at this late date. They are seriously underperforming. I remember when critics said that Klinsmann lost the locker room. What has GB done? He certainly hasn’t gotten them playing at a high level, as he admitted. Unless they turn this around, I don’t see how we can get out of a group that is medium difficult, at most. It’s the goddamn World Cup, they should be playing by now as if their life depended on the outcome.

    • It’s NOT the World Cup.

      It’s a scrimmage before the World Cup.

      And for the majority of these players, the primary motivation is to not get hurt. They’ll never admit that but it’s true.

      Besides, it’s been three months since these guys have played together and it really showed. The USMNT , the whole time I have been following them, rarely do well in the first game back from a long layoff.
      Especially when they run into a team as quick, cohesive and organized as Japan was.

      The USMNT looked like they were hungover.
      I suspect they will be a lot more bright eyed and bushy tailed vs Saudi Arabia.

      If not y’all can expect the internet to break.

      • That the whole reason though. Even if they’re trying not to get injured, they should assert themselves. If they’re trying not to get injured, they should bite back, trade blows for Aaronson getting pummeled. They showed nothing.

        And even if you’re right, that’s still lame. You play how you practice. Show up to ball.

      • Some players seem to have played themselves out of the starting 11 or even off the roster. In those cases, not getting injured isn’t much of a compensation, it seems to me. If what you say is true, why didn’t Japan play that way? I’ll tell you why–the Japanese have too much self respect to not give it their best. I spent 2 years in Japan and they would never just phone it in.

      • Mr. Page,

        “Some players seem to have played themselves out of the starting 11 or even off the roster. In those cases, not getting injured isn’t much of a compensation, it seems to me.”

        Be real. Everyone, except Matt and he’s a keeper, sucked.

        What was wrong was a group thing. They were all smoking the same thing before the game. I doubt Gregg said to everyone that “you all are going except for you McKenzie, Vines,(fill in the blanks) , you guys are playing for a spot on the plane. The rest of you don’t get hurt”.

        But they all knew what the stakes were. They’re not stupid. Gio, Tyler, Weston, Brenden and a number of others all know that getting hurt is the only thing that keeps them from Qatar. They are professionals but I’m talking about an unconscious thing.

        Guys like Cannon and Long? I have assumed that the fact that they were here in the first place meant they were teacher pet favorites and undroppable but maybe I’m wrong and this performance means they are dead. If so, great. Gregg is learning.

        Translated into English that means Gregg did not have this group ready to win this particular scrimmage. They surely didn’t mean to get de-pantsed by Samurai Blue but they weren’t up for winning. They were there to play an exhibition game which is very much not the same thing.

        “If what you say is true, why didn’t Japan play that way? I’ll tell you why–the Japanese have too much self respect to not give it their best. I spent 2 years in Japan and they would never just phone it in.”

        That’s just great for the Japanese but irrelevant. Japan aren’t the USMNT. That program is in a different place and it makes no sense to compare them. They know who they are and what they want to do while , as the cliche goes Gregg “doesn’t know who his best 11 are”.

  8. It may be late, but I had to marinate on that game a bit.

    The back two looked ponderous, telegraphing passes all game. The difference when McKenzie stepped in was palpable. (Long played his way out of the

    Vines was not terrible. Which is a huge step up in a game against this Japan team. (Vines may make it)

    Cannon played his way off the team with his performance. It was bad.

    Zimmerman needs a different style of play, where TA4 comes back, picks the ball up and dribbles forth. This, expecting him to pass it out won’t work… and if you want that, then lets call in Ream and Brooks. (Ream and Brooks were the best players in our defense today).

    Given how bad the CB were (and the camera), I couldn’t tell if our MF guys were lounging, or if it really is all on the CB. (LDLT 50/50 everyone else was a lock anyway)

    Ferreira (this goes for Pepi too) at the top level you get one chance and you must finish. This, in my mind is the big difference for strikers (Wondolowski, Altidore) those guys never made it because the jump from a forgiving MLS or Dutch league to top tier is that there is always 1/2 guys hanging on you and you are stretching, and it is tough… but you have to finish, clinically, with ice in veins. Its positioning, leverage, instinct. Demspey had it. McBride Had it. Pefok has it. Ferreira and pepi don’t. At least not yet. (Ferreira and Sargent still no verdict, but since this is the play yourself onto the bus games, I have to believe neither Ferreira nor Sargent got closer to a seat)

    • McKennie was awful sent so many errant passes to Aaronson who tracked them and then got pinned by two defenders since ball was not played to where he was moving. As well he offered token resistance on defense. Reyna actually was able to hold ball and had a few nice runs into Japanese defense drawing in guys and then distributing wide. Adams needed an outlet or partner to handle all the pressure from Japan. Having Acosta paired with him in second half was what i wanted to see. Berhalter subs made no sense. I get it he was just trying to get guys time and game but he was trying to win or tie they made no sense

      • The four at half time they said were scheduled pre-match, I’d assume they all were to make sure everyone they wanted see got time. I think the staff wanted to win but that wasn’t the first priority.

  9. For the more esoteric among you. Mercury is retrograde, and will go direct on October 2nd. All kinds of stuff that gets initiated or that happens now will not hold, is temporary, or is a reversal of previous fortunes but also will not last. Ironically GB’s hiring was announced during a Merc Retro phase (didn’t augur well from the get go), and yet his track record overall in CONCACAF has been good to excellent, as far as results go. I am still not sure he is the guy for the job, and as others have posted, he seems to often lack the tactical skills to adjust our play mid-game and shift to counter an opposing teams tactics.
    Nevertheless, pragmatically, a pre-world cup friendly, a couple of months before the start of the tournament is largely meaningless. If it serves as a wake up call for what we need to correct or adjust, then so be it. We have a number of very good pieces out with injuries, this team is not THE team, but has some of the pieces that will be locks to start at least 2-3 games in the WC. It was a training sparring match, not the prize fight. I think we will see a very different kind of energy from the whole team, and a much more aggressive, adaptive and fluid style once the final WC selection team convenes for their lead up training camp, and we kick of our group stage and hit the field against the Red Dragons. Right now it seems like the sky is falling. It isn’t. The team of today is not the team that will take the field come Thanksgiving in Qatar. Good things are coming. Good things.

    • You are basing that premise on if these players get healthy and stay healthy for the WC.

      I believe every WC team will be hit with injuries prior to the tournament. It will be a tournament where we may not see the best players available for teams.

      Yes the sky isn’t falling, but they need to start upping that intensity in these last two games. These aren’t meaningless. These two games may be it before the first game against Wales.

    • you’re forgetting 4 points out of the last 3 WCQ games, tie uruguay, tie ES at the last minute, the 2019 debacle, now this. it’s not like we suddenly started sucking.

      as i have previously pointed out, this team has never looked as “offensive” as the nations league finals that won the final 3-2, or as “defensive” as the gold cup 2021 team that would beat people 1-0. i don’t think GB knows what the goal is, and wingbacks to get forward and forwards to defend tells me he’s confused. he’s never quite picked a lane and the toll booth is coming up.

      japan? they know exactly what they’re trying to do. they have their limits but they kind of reminded me of us in 2002 or 2010 when we were hungry and more about winning than aesthetics. wreak havoc, get downfield in a hurry, put the ball in the net.

    • Sorry dude. If we didn’t consistently suck during qualifying I might agree, but this is more of the same. Your Merc Retro reason is as good or better than all of the Concacaf road game excuses. This team is painfully consistent in its ability to take quality players and make them underperform.

      There is zero reason to believe they will turn it around. They didn’t when their backs were against the wall in qualifying – they got in with help despite a final day loss, if I remember correctly.

      Focus on 2026 and be glad we’re getting a new coach and will have a reason to be optimistic again.

      • They got in by demolishing Panama. They knew they weren’t going to lose by 10 or whatever it was against CR. You could see it that second half CR was just hacking guys without punishment and our guys just said let’s get out of here with our ankles intact and pop the champagne.
        This team has shown fight when their backs were against the wall coming back twice on Mexico in NL final, 2nd half in Honduras, at home against CR down after 1 min, getting 7 of 9 pts to finish 2021 after Panama loss, in the swamp in ES to get point.
        It was a terrible performance, probably the worst since 2019, but let’s not act like they’ve done nothing the last two years.

      • JR: if you toss out the 2021 summer tourneys as outliers then the 2019-2022 trajectory is fairly consistent. struggled with personnel in 2019, 2nd in the gold cup after losing both pre-tournament friendlies, tiebreaker advancement from NL group with a canada loss, tiebreaker advancement in 3rd from WCQ, continued stuttering into this year. i see the 2021 tournaments as outliers because the personnel choices and tactics have not been repeated since.

        i think my dog could bark out a lineup and the US would have qualified no worse than 4th. i think this is the best roster pool of any team in the region. as such, the onus should be on you to excuse this nonsense as opposed to on me to “admit how successful he’s been.” i think give or take somehow losing the tiebreak to CR this is about bottom of the range of possible outcomes with the roster. the fact we qualified in spite of that is not a laurel crown to wear.

      • IV you played long enough who’s tougher to play an all-star team or a team that’s coordinated and well drilled together. Partially through Gregg’s intense rotation and primarily through an incredibly high amount of games lost due to injury we can’t get that talented roster time together. Pulisic, Dest, Aaronson, Richards, Weah, Musah, McKennie, and Reyna all lost matches during qualifying. One comes back and two more go out. We haven’t had even 75% of our first choice on the field maybe ever and when we go on the road most of our opponents have been playing together for 10 yrs. Take 4 of Japans top 12 players out and see if they’re as fluid and coordinated.

      • JR: false dichotomy. one of the main failings of all star teams is they are chosen by fans for varying, perhaps contradictory reasons, and typically not drilled to play together at all. but i would take a “dream team” that had a decent coaches and some practice — talent, with even any functional organization — over organized and mediocre. talent over system any day. system is a tiebreaker when it’s close. you’re pretending his selection issues aren’t compounded by a poor talent eye or aversion to risk or systemic obsession. as though he would pick right if he had 100% access. you’re also pretending like if he has everyone this functions right. it often looks like a mess. i do think he misses some people but the reason that matters is this is not well organized, is kind of ad hoc, and that makes it heavily personalized. if you have nothing going right you lean on your best individuals to force something. if he doesn’t have his best individuals that “let christian bail us out” or “play weah behind the defense and let him run” Plan B goes away. otherwise, i have seen plenty of functioning system teams play well missing “key” players because the organization survives the injured player. if you don’t have a functioning system and you lean on specific players who get hurt then there just is a hole.

  10. If there is one positive to take from the game, outside of Turner’s commendable goalkeeping, is that this was a friendly, and not the opening game. You’d have to believe this was a serious wake-up call for the coaches and players, who now realize how unprepared they are for the intensity and higher level of competition they will face in November. Japan brought their ‘A’ game and played brilliant tactically, so it really was a sobering experience for this inexperienced team.

    I believe this core group of players will learn and rebound from this demoralizing defeat, and refocus on improving. Now they have a much better understanding of what to expect come November.

    • here’s my deal on the “keeper issue.” one keeper, turner, hasn’t shown glitches in months, arsenal or not. the other two keepers, steffen and horvath, don’t look good for us. my perspective, don’t assume things, and don’t anticipate problems we don’t have. turner is fine. quit worrying about that. what i think was actually stupid was horvath gets right back on the team after ES. why am i hearing more turner-kvetch than concern about that?

      this is part of why i’m like get all the roster-marginals here for these games and fight it out now. turner re-proving his worth is addressing a non-issue. some fanboys fingered their worry beads about a problem that never happened. how about fix the ones that are happening? like we should have dropped steffen and horvath and been auditioning someone(s) new. as in the ones who actually went buggy in games that counted.

      • You’ve been whining about the injustices of Horvath for 4 years and he gets beaten near post by what the ES player admitted was a miss hit cross and now he’s out?

      • i am about performance. i fully own i wanted horvath to get a chance. i expected him to perform as he had vs mexico in the NL final. horvath got his chance and allowed a schoolboy howler to ES. since i want performance, go find someone else who does the job. i don’t think we are short of candidates.

        when robles did something like that vs haiti in gold cup, he disappeared for years. it’s called picking people for playing well and not because of ideas in your head. it’s called accountability.

  11. there are so many layers of systemic stupidity going on about this team. “it wasn’t a home game for us.” funny but that wasn’t exactly japan either. “berhalter only sees his team so much.” we have played 11 games, japan 12. “the best defense is our possession offense.” 58% possession, 0-2 scoreboard. “are you on about the wingbacks again.” most of their chances are people left open weak side on a quick counter when our wingbacks start flying forward then they win a press ball, and the goal is dest’s man and he’s barely even caught up enough to be on screen. “we are adapting to the future of soccer.” canada and japan looked like normal defend and counter teams. and having the same formation and tactics as el salvador is no longer cutting edge. cutting edge is gone onto something else. we are no longer thwarting the fashion playes of the day, eg, spain. we are getting exploited trying to be cute. we have become the suboptimal establishment team thinking it’s counter-culture. we punch down. when’s the last time we punched up? why is the other team always the “good” team — as in, “you can’t be critical, they’re a good team.” i thought that was where we were supposed to be headed. been doing this 5 years. still not there? you need another 4? want to completely drain some promising careers with this?

  12. English fan channels sound exactly like ours right now. Relegated to Tier B in Europe. 550 Minutes without a goal in open play, no win in 5 games for England. And their manager is the guy mentoring ours…

  13. Biggest gripe with Berhalter is that he is still tinkering. He has had 3 years and is still tinkering. Now is not the time to be tinkering.

    • an objective team never hires a coach who has never won anything — the flynn rule used to ensure that. but anyhow, the normal way to deal with this objectively is demand a particular level of results to stay manager. “qualify 1st.” “qualify no worse than 2nd.” the basic problem is we should throw out 2015-2017 as an outlier and demand the old quality. that requires the “teeth” of some degree of enforced expectation. we instead, to me, act like we have completely started over in 1990, like we should be happy just to qualify, and accept that this is a project to last on into the next cycle, perhaps on through 2026. any objective beefs or expectations, don’t you get it’s a project.

      this team has a history and the results don’t fit it. the roster is no longer such that you can pretend like this is 2017 and we shouldn’t ask more. this rarely ever looks pretty or at least effectively drilled to watch.

      i keep harping on this but my memory is c. 2010 the snobs being upset, despite bradley’s results, how this “looked.” words to the effect of, i would rather not qualify than play this way. that didn’t sell in the bradley/klinsi era of routine qualification and rounds of 16. to sell it to those fans you had to argue a more cute and cuddly soccer would somehow “win” and “improve us.” ok, having sold that bill of goods, since you knew you couldn’t sell pure aesthetics, where is it? where is the dominance? exactly. the athletic , defensive, and organizational stuff actually mattered…..

    • 2tone – the player pool changes significantly over 3 years. He is trying to find the best group of players for WC which is what all the other coaches are doing as well. Now, his tactics impacting player selections and poor tactics is a different story but I think you will be surprised by the final roster and the way they play in Qatar. I don’t expect it will look at all like yesterday or most of qualifying, but I reliaze I am probably several standard deviations outside the bell curve on thinking that for people who post on this site.

    • Maybe so but on Thursday there were posts from multiple people calling for at least 3 alternate formations that they like. And calls for 4 or 5 players that haven’t been camp in 3-5 year and some never to be brought in.

  14. GB has been a horrible coach with his personnel selections, tactics, game plans, etc. His starting lineups vs Panama and Jamaica almost cost the US from going to the World Cup. I hear soccer analysts from Spanish radio stations speaking about GB and they think he is a total buffoon. In this game, Japan adjusted to the US’s style of play after 15 to 20 minutes; and the US could not respond. This is because GB has no plan B. It doesn’t seem that the CBs are going to be playing too high, so why not bring in Ream and Brooks who can pass out of the back. They both could have played in the second half; However, we all know that Brooks is on GB’s sh*t list, so he’s out anyway. Zimmerman and Long did not do well at all. Since the CBs are not going to play so high up, bring in Ream to partner with Robinson. Long and Vines were not in sink at all. If not Ream and Brooks, anybody but Long. And pray that Zimmerman has the tournament of his life. Ferreira missed a bunch of chances vs Morocco, Uruguay and now mistimed a header, and Pepi can’t hit the side of a barn, 1 goal in one year.. Sargent needs to get a start against Saudi Arabia. It really should be Sargent, Pefok, and Ferreira and Pepi to battle it.

    • I’ve watched almost all of Fulham’s games this year, and Ream appears to be a very competent Premier league player, with the leadership qualities of Fulham captain. I don’t get it either.

    • After Longs showing I have no idea why Berhalter would not bringing Ream especially since he could go outside to wing if desperation warranted. As well the fact he plays alongside Antonee it would be insane not to bring him in, as well the guy plays at Fulham for quite some time he’s got to be fully aware of the English players since he’s played against most of them in his career. Brooks isn’t playing at Porto so he’s not coming. As well hope Richards is healthy as he has the speed that we need at CB.

  15. Imperative Voice you funny pimping Brooks and Ream lol😂. I would not mind seeing a three man back line with everyone healthy of Brooks or Ream, Richards, and Carter Vickers. Would not mind seeing Sands and Palmer Brown pairing. The 4-4-3 is no good. Played it in high school and disliked it too. I want to see 4-4-2 like against Spain Confed Cup 2009. I dont like how it opens us up to crossing in my opinion. We were missing a lot of people no Musah, Pulisic, Richards, CCV, M Robinson, A Robinson, Pefok, Gregg needs to call up best players vs system. We could have also had Alex Mendez and Alan Sonora.

    • Well, if they played a 4-4-3 today, they may have been more competitive. My glass may be half full but I don’t think he will play the 433 in Qatar but doesn’t want to show too much before Wales game. If I believe that it will help me sleep better until the WC. These games to me are like NFL preseason. I don’t think friendlies before WC have historically been a great measuring stick for how most teams perform in WC. I am going to believe that also to help with sleep. Zzzzz

    • Is there a chance that perhaps what worked or didn’t work for your high school might work in professional soccer. I mean Japan’s 4-3-3 seemed pretty effective. It could be that the level you played in high school or IVs club team doesn’t translate to World Cup level.

      • I bought that up because I have exp playing it. That formation leaves you getting burned on the wing with space to cross to much. Of course if both teams play 4-3-3. It would be a even match or one team will be more dominant in playing it. I want us do do 4-4-2 like Japan did. The 4-3-3 System GGG uses is hurting us. People like Alex Mendez should be on this roster not Arriola . I would rather see Brooks or Ream or Sands over Long. I know Sands got a red card last Rangers game but he is still young.

      • 4-4-2 got us outplayed by Trinidad’s hey we’re eliminated let’s try these guys team in 2017. The issue continues how do we get the ball from CBs to the Att. Bradley would get doubled and couldn’t find anyone open. Adams can’t get the ball and turn either. We saw today Wes is not great playing deep next to Tyler nor is he a distributor.
        Does that make us better?
        I’m fairly certain both Sonora and Mendez play a 4-3-3 so how is Berhalter using that formation preventing their inclusion. I’ve been a fan of Alex since he and Efra were late night must see tv for Los Dos, but what about 1g 1a in 33 Portuguese league matches says he’s the missing link? Sonora 3g 2a in 27 Argentine league matches this year. That’s let’s just throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks numbers. Neither of those guys are drop deep and unlock a defense guys. Although I admit I’ve only seen a handful of Sonora matches and haven’t seen Alex since a couple Jong Ajax matches.

      • JR – I recall you being an advocate of a 4-2-3-1. Are you now saying you like Gregg’s 4-3-3? I think they will be very bad if they play that in Qatar. I don’t think they will though.

      • To JR–the loss to T&T had nothing to do with the formation. Did you even watch that game>? Maybe you are having convenient amnesia. It was over confidence and lack of effort, plus some stupid personnel decisions by ?Arena,

      • Gary, yes and no to it wasn’t the only the 4-4-2’s fault. Other than the first 30 mins vs Mexico in Columbus and Arena’s 8-1-1 (technically 5-4-1) in Azteca we used a 4-4-2 and throughout our wings got isolated on the sideline and Bradley would get doubled and he’d have to lay it back off to the CBs. Rinse and repeat until finally a CB would try to bypass midfield and sometimes our stars Pulisic, Dempsey, or Altidore would make a play. When Bradley would try to force it forward we’d turn it over and be heavily outnumbered in MF which happened on plays leading to both TnT goals. So I agree both the players and manager were overconfident that night and for some reason Arena bypassed his previous window philosophy of rotating between windows but the 4-4-2 was an ugly cloud that hung over that cycle from the loss at Guatemala to Couvo.

  16. Imperative Voice you funny pimping Brooks and Ream lol 😂. I would not mind seeing a three man back line with everyone healthy of Brooks or Ream, Richards, and Carter Vickers. The 4-4-3 is no good and no Long. I know Sands is in dog house but would not mind seeing a CB pairing of Sands and Erick Palmer Brown. I dont like how it opens us up to crossing. I played it in high school and hated it due to wings being exposed in my opinion. We were missing Pulisic, Musah, A Robinson, Pefok, CCV, and Richards

    • Johnny Razor Long does not play out the back but Berhalter still gambled and forced him to do it and he got burned and him having no chemistry with Vines didnt help either. Mendez I watch Vizela game he and 18 year old American Alvarado get a nice amount of playing time. Mendez has also scored for Vizela. You cant say you seen him not play then say he is not all that and is not a loss. He is a playmaker we needed that against Japan. Especially with no Pulisic, Weah, or Musah.

      • Striker your jumping all over the place. Mendez isn’t a CB so adding him doesn’t solve the Long problem. You have to look at Wes, Luca, and Johnny. Is he better than Johnny? I wouldn’t argue with that but I’d have taken Williamson ahead of Johnny. I wouldn’t take Mendez over the other 2 today maybe next March but not today.

  17. I would take 2010 USMNT over this team. I didn’t see players out there that were better than Dempsey, Donovan, Altidore, Onyewu, Beasley, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Bradley, Edu, Clark etc…. The myth continues that these players are better than previous USMNT players.

    • There is a massive mentality difference. Those guys were scrappy underdogs.
      These guys are miserable snowflakes who don’t believe in their coach.
      You are not going to see a Dempsey style 1-1 tie against England. Mentality got that tie for us. We didn’t have the talent – Dempsey would be the first to tell you that. But we had the will to fight and made it happen against England, Algeria, etc.

      • Jay Demerit was scrappy I really miss not having him anymore. He is even better than overrated players today like Harry Maguire from England.

    • Duh, 1,2,3, two of guys tied for 9th in goals. 2,3,4,7,8, 9 in caps. 1, 2, 4, and 8 in assists. The biggest difference is that 2010 had veteran leaders.

  18. We saw one team ready and set for a serious World Cup (Japan) and one team still struggling to find its way (US).
    Hopefully this is the last we see of Ferrera and Morris and Long. They just don’t have it at this level. Same goes for De La Torre. He’s just not that good.
    More concerning is our brand names mostly disappointed
    Mckennie seemed uninterested and was sloppy all game. Adams was clumsy, too. Reyna was inexistant.
    I do think Berhalter has some blame with selections and tactics but at some point the players need to have more of a fire. Like Japan did.
    Dest at least tried.
    We missed Musah a lot.
    I’m sure they’ll do better va Saudi Arabia, but Japan was a wake up call that better technical teams will expose us.

    • I love it when the MLS guys get picked on. The worst players in this game were the so called blue chips… McKennie, Dest, Aaronson, Adams. These guys couldn’t string a pass together at all. The midfield continuously failed and put huge strain on the two CB’s. Ferreira was on an island because yet again Aaronson, Mackennie, Adams, Reyna couldn’t do jack moving the ball into attacking positions.

      • Ferreira missed a wide open header that he could not even put on net, (partly because he’s shorter than other forwards, partly because he lacks skill at level above CONCACAF @ home) I would not highlight him if you’re trying to make a point….

  19. Iran is up 1-0 on Uruguay with about four minutes left, if you’re looking for something else to worry about.

    Really starting to doubt this team escapes Group. Disappointing that the team does not remotely seem to equal the sums of its parts yet.

    Canada’s also busy whumping Qatar 2-0 going into halftime. The Canucks might be CONCACAF’s hope at the moment. They at least have an identity and know who they are.

    • canada are in a pragmatic phase where it’s what gets us world cups and what gets us wins. we have off ramped into aesthetic malarkey and trying to get accepted into The Club. people don’t get when they talk smack about how our final 16 team plays it’s a tinge of jealousy, vs if you can’t even advance they won’t care how you look, they kind of won’t know you exist to criticize. “who?” worst thing JK did was unleash this club snob stuff. some point, hopefully not too many cycles, we will get sick of struggling despite talent, and pivot back to pragmatism and winning games.

      for all the talk about possession to me the giveaways we do trying to play from the back are counter-productive. worst thing you can do is ship goals trying to overrate how clever you are playing the ball forward. defeats the point. no one looking at this team would objectively be like, oh, let’s base the tactics on these defenders completing a bunch of passes into the interior midfield. good luck with that.

      • Look, I love Walker Zimmerman…I know the guy personally and he used to work with my son and other players back in the day when he was at Furman. Amazing dude, intense character, warrior savage. You need a dude roughed up or a header cleared or even a longball served over the top he’s absolutely your guy. But you are not going to Barca-style tiki-taka your way out of the back with the guy either, that is just not what he was genetically made to do.

        And while I thought you were wrong about Japan’s quality – I actually think they’re probably a Top-10 team in the world in reality and will likely prove it in Qatar, I did not like at all what I was seeing out of them on film and I did not think we matched up well – Gregg got his tactics all wrong too. You were absolutely right about that…move the ball fast, switch it, make those runs in behind because they are more quick than fast and they do struggle some 1-on-1 in the open field. But trying to ping it elegantly through the swarm was just dumb. We’ve got all these athletes but we’re trying to play footsie and win a style contest against a more organized and technically superior side?

        Bad, Gregg, bad. I understand there’s this style of play you’re trying to achieve, but you gotta work with the talent pool you have, not the one you wish you had. We are not Spain, we are not Japan, and with as many unique and oddly-shaped and variegenated players playing in so many leagues and styles all over the world we are unlikely to ever be.

    • With all due respect dude YOU acted (and still acting) like they are not a threat and not worth the recognition……and they just convincingly beat the USMNT……so instead of worrying if Japan will make it out of their group, and they just beat us….. how about you start worrying about the USMNT making it out of our group lol

  20. Utterly pathetic, after the 2nd Japanese goal, I switched it off. Yes, we are missing a few starters through injury, but for God’s sake I expected at least a competitive game. One sure take-away: that header that Ferreira put over the crossbar – guaranteed Pefok would have put in, or at the very least, forced the keeper into a save.

    • Guaranteed? Dude missed a total sitter the last time he suited up for the Nats. He’s been in great form lately in the Bundesliga, but as in great form for his Swiss club at that time.

      • You need to watch more games with Pefok. His expertise is putting the ball in the back of the net with his HEAD. At 6’3″, it’s his super power. Reyna’s ball to him in Mexico was to his feet. Not nearly as easy as you think for him to finish. I GUARANTEE you Pefok buries that chance today, just like he buried his header against Honduras in Nations League. Just like he buried that header over last weekend against Wolfsburg. Just like he buried that header when he debuted for Union Berlin and so many of the goals he has scored over the past year and a half. The problem is that our team just isn’t set up to put crosses into the box like Young Boys and Union are…and Gregg has no interest in abandoning his beloved “system” to suit his most talented players. It’s also why he shunts Gio to the wing when we all know he is most dangerous through the middle. The “system” is everything to him…

  21. Japan was salivating at how the USA was playing. They telegraphed their passes too easily and it looked so much like the Japan player was the intended target. If I had drank a shot for every time they were trying to pass it straight up the middle from the backline, I’d have been a passed out drunk wreck 30 minutes in!

  22. You guys are missing the best take-away. ESPN has lost coverage of the USMNT. No more being forced to listen to the epic cringe pairing of Taylor Twellman and John Champion. I can watch the world cup with the volume on.

    • Have you ever listened to EPL broadcasts? Their color commentators usually say such insightful things like, Gee, he should have done better with that ball, or, He should have scored on that one, etc. Their match commentators are okay, but mostly dry as toast. Champion and Twellman bring both more insight and more interest to the broadcast, IMO. Twellman will actually talk about both strategy and tactics and he is usually spot on. I’ve been watching EPL games for almost 20 years. I used to watch when Champion was broadcasting in England and he is a lot more interesting now that he is on ESPN covering the US and MLS.

    • ugh – I totally disagree with you guys. Twellman says “going forward” “in behind”, “asking questions of the back line”, and “that ball’s in the back of the net” about 5 times each in every broadcast. You can drink to it. He occasionally tries on “grammar”, throwing in a “by which” that doesn’t agree with the rest of the sentence, presumably to try to match his partner’s command of English. He rants about his personal beefs.

      I don’t care what they do in England. That take on it is the problem. These guys are another example of US soccer trying TOO HARD to be European, and torching its potential american fan base. Champion tries too hard to be a poet, and you want him to just say things straight without all the forced embellishment.

      We have a “sports voice” here in America that is quite good. There’s no reason to borrow another country’s for our national team games. It’s counter-productive.

  23. Wow…..It’s like some of us commented EXACTLY what Japan was going to do and they executed it PRECISELY…. to perfection.
    I don’t even know how to feel with this loss honestly……we just looked flat and unenthusiastic.

      • Maybe it’s Gregg’s rigid “system” that is making the players look constipated. If we niavely try to play this way against every team we encounter (like England), we will be roasted.

      • There is no “System.” The purported “System” and player election has changed so many times over the last 3 years (First the inverted W thing with Adams at RB, then pass out of the back, then a supposed 4-3-3 press with a high line, and today we pass out of the back again without pressing) that you can’t really say we have a “System.” What we have are a bunch of young, soft, injury prone depth pieces who, incidentally, have UEFA contenders like Chelsea and Milan cutting their checks. The “System” and “CL Pedigree” are a marketing ploy. Nothing more. Barring a miracle, Iran beats us 2-0 and we finish as one of the worst teams in the tournament.

      • we went out and hired this guy to supposedly elevate the team and yet i get to listen to people re-define expectations for one of the better talent pools ever as “he managed to get us qualified” and then talk condescendingly about how “good” our opposition (eg Canada, Japan) is. pre 2015 we could play with any team in the world and would have won or at least tied a game like this. japan is a nice organized little team that clocks in at about round of 16 tops in their recent history. people do know we have england scheduled, right, as in the team that put 3 past us in 2018.

    • only if the team is dumb enough to pass straight into the buzzsaw. the space on japan was switching sides quickly or over the top. we insisted on building from the back right up the middle. you do that to most good teams and you will have a long day. one of my concerns about GB and the 433 and his dutch tactics is they seem to think there is only one team on the field, that we don’t take any risk when we do (eg dest’s man is scoring that goal), and that teams will just let us trick and flick them to death.

      to me if you try and beat a team passing the ball square downfield — which i was discouraged from at about U16 — or flicking the ball on in the middle of high pressure, haha, good luck with that. i think half the problem is you score one 20 pass goal where you luck out through this kind of press and you think it works, it’s sheer arrogance and show off stuff. my favorite goals are, you know, 3 crisp passes consuming acres of space, in on goal, finished. the idea of going right where the defense wants it, yeah, you will make the fearmongers look like geniuses. i thought japan was well organized, but just ok.

      • Hhhmmmmmm…..I seem to remember someone making the comment:
        “to read some of the comments you would think they are one of the world’s elite and dominated asia.”

        I guess you now know what we knew….lol

      • all due respect, dude, but they are in a group with spain, germany, and CR, and we will see if they even make the knockouts. average qualified team. not elite. kind of reminded me of wales B or ireland. not even half what england will pose to us. we played right into their hands. that makes us stupid not them awesome.

      • With all due respect dude YOU acted (and still acting) like they are not a threat and not worth the recognition……and they just convincingly beat the USMNT……so instead of worrying if Japan will make it out of their group, and they just beat us….. how about you start worrying about the USMNT making it out of our group lol

      • you’re pretending like we were well selected, coached, organized, and just got beat by a better team. we looked like a mess, made personnel and tactical errors, and got beat by a fairly average team in terms of the upcoming tournament.

      • Either way we got beaten… try to trash Japan while some of us are highlighting the organized, technical and tactical abilities of the Samurai Blue ……you boldly are implying that they are not all that but then they just beat us… CONVINCINGLY, with a couple of months from the world cup no less!!!! That’s like you putting your foot in your mouth.

  24. Props to Japan for looking like a well oiled, experienced machine. That was real international level speed, not the hacking CONCACAF level. They pressed on time in every spot as a group. USA players were chasing it so much. Big wake up call and good knock in the head to the USA coach and players that they have obvious work to do. No cohesion and looking to prepare for a World Cup.

  25. I’m not in the locker room, but here’s my takeaway: The “nice guy, best buds” team culture has robbed the US of the one thing we tended to have: grit. Tactics suck. Selections suck. Even when tactics and selection are acceptable, our play against away teams or even decent teams at home is still punt and pray. This team has no edge. What they have is a coach who wants them to have a good time on PlayStation while their dad gets on Twitter to have the coach fired. P*ssies.

    • what i want to see are (1) quicker switches — quit passing the ball slowly through every single defender plus the equipment manager and fitness trainer — more diagonal balls, more positionless soccer, with runs out of slot — change the point of attack, don’t play right into presses, de-emphasize “defenders as 10s.” destabilize defenses where they can’t just press up and sit on slow build passes to the next obvious player. (2) give the wing space to the chalk back to the wings and take it from the wingbacks, so that the wing talent is facing goal and has room to run at people and create, instead of being pinched for wingback space. wingbacks come up only when the play requires it.
      (3) personally i’d prefer a formation that simply has more bodies back, no pressing, get back, counter into space. we have wide speed and skill. but we almost set out to pinch them and constrain them rather than set them up to win us games.

      i mean, what is the attacking concept, besides whack crosses into a 9 not even picked for target play? and what are we even trying to do defensively? i shouldn’t be asking these questions 4 years in. and they will probably give him through 2026 precisely because he’ll say the project still needs more time. when most coaches’ impacts are the first year.

      • Agreed on your points, and other tactical assessments on this thread. I’m just too frustrated with the mentality aspect to bother with analyzing much else.

        Maybe, just maybe, this team is not as talented as the “Champion’s League Pedigree” suggests. Let’s be real: they aren’t UEFA starters. Our best players are rotation guys, or are injury prone. We may just not be much better than the prior generation was, and yet…

        See above, about how we have no edge. No Deuce Face. No Mathis. No Jones. No Gooch. We DO have great soundbites during press conferences though.

        Ultimately, coach aside, this game suggests that the PLAYERS aren’t ready for the international level. They didn’t show up to play. Japan’s press and intensity wasn’t matched. Japan’s technique wasn’t matched. We put our tail between our legs, looked like deer in headlights, failed to grow into the match.

      • QO: i came through a youth system where you either got stuck in or you didn’t make the team or see the field. to me that is primarily selection, then secondarily making player or formation changes as weak links expose themselves.

        i also think a false dichotomy has been sold where we look for soft “dutch soccer” type players — LDLT a classic example — because this needs to be more technical, at the expense of organization and defense. this is a false dichotomy because in plenty of teams in germany, italy, france, spain, you defend like heck and then attack with speed and technique when you win the ball.

        the lecture i keep getting is the best defense is a good offense but that’s hot air when the other team has the ball, or worse, you handed it to them, which we constantly do. personally i want to see them play the ball more directly and further upfield, diagonals, switches, open space. if we’re gonna lose the ball, do it further upfield trying to score goals, as opposed to sitting just out of our own 18 trying to force things. sorry but i would have gotten yanked off the field for forcing passes into pressure like we do — but i think there is an arrogant show off dutch thing going on where we want to thread needles and draw the pressure on purpose. we aren’t that clever or good to pull it off. and tactics aren’t usually aspirational, that your players magically change to make them work………they work with mckennie as-is or they don’t……..

        i mean, i am sure japan has picked this defend and counter approach for a reason. not aspiration. because they see it as making them more than the sum of parts. how about that thought process? to me we have speed and some technique, and some defense. play to strengths. end the political games and wanting in The Club.

      • QO: to me the big mistake USSF made was they got rid of the Flynn Rule where you had to have league titles or other trophies to survive the hiring cut. a history of success says your ideas work and/or you are adaptable enough to find ways to win with whatever you have. we have gone very “theory” and “subjective,” “trust the coach.”

        worse, my concern is the old way counter soccer way we played was an actual response to opposing game plans, what we are doing is a fashion choice that often plays right into the hands of a “japan.” and while the theory of linear historical progress we have sold ourselves is ever more technical, i would see the likely near term response to this sort of pep soccer as some sort of defensive-emphasis. i don’t see how our 433 stuck on whacking crosses is much different from some late 1980s english cross and hope team, underneath all the chatter. only difference is they were more direct about how they got the ball downfield. they would have taken getting caught in possession or giving the ball up out of your own 18 as a professional failure.

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