The USA begins its final international window before the 2022 FIFA World Cup with plenty of questions still left to answer.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter told the media that he has made decisions on roughly 23 of the players who will make the World Cup roster, but there are still a few places on the final 26-man squad that are up for grabs. The competition for the center-back and striker positions will likely influence those final selections.
The Friday matchup against fellow World Cup participants Japan (ranked No. 24 in the world) represents a difficult matchup against an experienced and improved Asian side. Japan reached the Round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup, knocked out by Belgium in a 3-2 loss which saw Japan build a 2-0 lead before a late collapse in the final 20 minutes.
Japan’s supporters expect the team to build on its knockout round qualification in 2018 and even shoot to go one step further and reach the quarterfinals. But they also realize they will have a tall task just getting out of their World Cup group: Germany, Spain, and Costa Rica join Japan with only two teams advancing.
Following this match, the USA will swing over to Spain where they will meet Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Japan stay in Dusseldorf to take on Ecuador, also on Tuesday.
USA vs Japan TV channel, live stream
|Date||Friday, Sept. 21||Friday, Sept. 21|
|Time||8:26 a.m. ET||9:26 p.m. JST|
|TV channel||ESPN2, TUDN, Unimas||Fuji TV|
USA: Friday’s pre-World Cup friendly from Dusseldorf, Germany will be broadcast in both English (ESPN2) and Spanish (TUDN, UniMas) in the USA with both channels streamed on fuboTV.
Japan: In Japan, the friendly match can be found on Fuji TV, where most Japan national team games are broadcast, including the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
Köln: where the finishes are as smooth as the Kölsch 🍻 pic.twitter.com/iJc3WKo0D9
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) September 20, 2022
Japan vs. USA squad, lineups & team news
USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter has already announced the starters for a handful of key positions. Matt Turner will get the nod at goalkeeper, earning much-needed minutes given his club time is limited at Arsenal.
Turner will play behind the center-back pairing of Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman. Sam Vines is in for the injured Antonee Robinson at left-back, while Luca de la Torre is likely to start for the injured Yunus Musah in midfield.
Up front, there’s no Tim Weah on the roster due to injury, meaning Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna should see time on the wing opposite Christian Pulisic.
USMNT projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Turner (GK) — Dest, Zimmerman, Long, Vines — McKennie, Adams, De la Torre — Aaronson, Ferreira, Pulisic.
Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Sean Johnson (NYCFC), Matt Turner (Arsenal)
Defenders (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes), Joe Scally (Monchengladbach), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Midfielders (6): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Malik Tillman (Rangers)
Forwards (8): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Ricardo Pepi (FC Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Norwich City)
Japan head coach Hijime Moriyasu will hope to use the match to help him decide on his two starting winger positions. The competition to claim the right wing involves Takefusa Kubo, Junya Ito, and Ritsu Doan, while Takumi Minamino and Kaoru Mitoma are battling it out for the left side.
Schalke’s 34-year-old Maya Yoshida, likely in his final World Cup cycle, will be relied upon to marshal the backline especially with Borussia Monchengladbach defender Ko Itakura suffering a partial MCL tear that has thrown his World Cup participation in doubt.
Other center-back candidates include Huddersfield Town starter Yuta Nakayama, Shogo Taniguchi of J-League title contenders Kawasaki, and young Ayumu Seko of Grasshoppers who is yet to earn his first international cap. It’s Taniguchi, fellow center-back Hiroki Ito of Stuttgart, Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate, and his club teammate Daizen Maeda who are thought to have the most to prove in this camp.
Japan projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Gonda (GK) — Sakai, Yoshida, Tomiyasu, Nagatomo — Morita, Endo, Kamata — Kubo, Furuhashi, Mitoma
Goalkeepers (4): Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg), Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Daniel Schmidt (Sint-Truiden), Kosei Tani (Shonan Bellmare)
Defenders (9): Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale), Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale), Ayumu Seko (Grasshoppers), Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal), Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Red Diamonds), Yuta Nakayama (Huddersfield Town), Maya Yoshida (Schalke), Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart)
Midfielders (13): Wataru Endo (Stuttgart), Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes), Genki Haraguchi (Union Berlin), Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Hidemasa Morita (Sporting CP), Junya Ito (Reims), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg), Reo Hatate (Celtic), Yuki Soma (Nagoya Grampus)
Forwards (4): Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic), Daizen Maeda (Celtic), Ayase Ueda (Cercle Brugge), Shuto Machino (Shonan Bellmare).
— jfa_en (@jfa_en) September 21, 2022
USA vs Japan betting odds
Odds via Caesars in USA and Sports Interaction in Canada.
The betting options for this international friendly are understandably limited, given that it’s hard to know exactly how each team will approach the game. It’s likely that both sides won’t start their best players from the beginning as the head coaches look to give fringe players the chance to earn World Cup roster spots.
Japan are the slight favorite, as the team that dominated Asian World Cup qualifying, and a squad that is thought to be improved on the one that reached the Round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup and had Belgium on the ropes.
to score Y / N
|-115 / -115||-122 / -127|
|Over / Under
|+115 / -145||+115 / -154|