It’s by no means a superb signal when the most important professional from the United States males’s nationwide workforce’s Friday debacle filled with cons — a 2-0 loss to Japan that doubles because the Yanks’ penultimate FIFA World Cup tune-up — was goalkeeper Matt Turner. The Arsenal summer time signee was known as into motion regularly and made six saves, stopping the sport on German soil from turning right into a lopsided defeat.
Almost solely outdoors of the play from Turner, which wasn’t excellent however matches according to the pattern of stellar play from American goalkeepers because the flip of the century in World Cup years, it was Japan’s males towards the USA’s boys. The Americans didn’t muster a shot on objective for the primary time in a 12 months. The finest likelihood got here early, a seventh-minute header from Jesus Ferreira that ballooned over the crossbar regardless of an exemplary cross from Sergino Dest and no Japanese defender getting a hand on him. The USA by no means had a clear-cut likelihood at objective. That’s an exhausting 83-plus minutes.
The issues popping out of the loss to Japan don’t concern Christian Pulisic, who didn’t play out of precaution attributable to an harm he suffered earlier this week. A majority of the remainder of the starters and reserves might be in Qatar. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter’s isolationist coverage works on the membership stage. And it’s beginning to develop into tangible plot holes heading into the event the place his future on the helm might be decided. I solely say these gaps are evident now as a result of the U.S. has the security internet of being far faraway from the World Cup, the place there was time to repair all the things. That’s gone, and it’s the identical inconsistent tune from the Americans.
It’s apparent to name out the sport towards the Blue Samurai as insufficient for advancing to the knockout stage of the World Cup, one thing the USMNT has completed in its final two appearances on the showcase. To me, it’s a much bigger indictment to see how boring the Yanks’ fashion of play was. No enthusiasm, no need to take dangers and check the Japanese protection, and no creativity. Berhalter no less than did one thing to try to quell his workforce’s monotonous nature with 4 subs to begin the second half. And after a couple of minutes of stress close to Japan’s objective, it went away and by no means got here again.
Japan defeats the USMNT in World Cup warmup | Soccer Highlights | ESPN FC
The lineup modifications made for this recreation, most notably the inclusion of Sam Vines, didn’t pan out. It was apparent how integral the at present damage Antonee Robinson is. The center-back pairing of Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman appeared shaky. Zimmerman has completed properly with others, so Long ought to get the shaft from the beginning 11 in Qatar. Let’s not neglect Ferreira up prime, who has scored 5 targets for the USMNT in 2022. Four of these got here towards lowly Grenada although, so primarily one objective towards professional competitors. The quest for a professional No. 9 for Qatar has failed. And plugging in the identical gamers who haven’t produced sufficient within the American’s assault is moronic. Let’s not neglect within the final 5 USMNT video games outdoors American borders, the workforce has scored one objective, a Jordan Morris stoppage-time equalizer towards El Salvador in June, and hasn’t received. Quite the confidence-killer.
The beginning positions for Nov. 21’s recreation towards Wales look like a two-man battle for one of many wing spots reverse Pulisic between Gio Reyna — son of Claudio — and Brenden Aaronson. My thought for a Tim Weah false-nine wasn’t heard by Sir Gregg. The midfield of Yunus Musah, who’s additionally damage, alongside Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams is locked, as are the surface again spots crammed by Dest and Robinson. Zimmerman sporting the captain’s armband towards Japan gave the sign he’s penciled in, leaving the opposite center-back spot vacant for now, and Long’s audition was a bust. There’s nonetheless time to contemplate John Brooks or Tim Ream, as a result of Mark McKenzie ain’t gonna reduce it both. Maybe strive Chris Richards, who didn’t play towards Japan. One odd thought could be Reggie Cannon too, who matches higher as an outdoor again, however persistently slides over to complement the 2 central defenders. He should be on the aircraft to Qatar after being one of many few non-Turner vivid spots from Friday’s match.
Friday’s fiasco does convey intrigue to Tuesday’s costume rehearsal, and the final USMNT recreation till it traces up towards Gareth Bale proper earlier than Thanksgiving. The Americans will face Saudi Arabia, which can even be in Qatar. Berhalter has nothing to lose by tinkering with the lineups. No one will care about this recreation if the USMNT succeeds on the World Cup. Should the Yanks stink up the place like this morning’s mondo duke, it will likely be simple to look again at these two video games and marvel what Greggy-poo might’ve completed to keep away from the poopshow. But hey, no less than Matt Turner performed properly.