Japan and the USMNT will clash in an important friendly on Friday in Düsseldorf, Germany (kick-off, 8:25 a.m. ET), as both teams focus on their final preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
[ MORE: Five questions for the USMNT ]
With only two months left until the tournament in Qatar, the USMNT has two final friendlies (this one against Japan and then Saudi Arabia next Tuesday) to get itself in shape and that’s for Gregg Berhalter’s side.
Join our live Q&A on the NBC Sports YouTube channel after the Japan vs USMNT game on Friday, September 23, as we’ll be live from approximately 10:30 a.m. ET to answer your questions!
The USMNT will love to see their chances of getting out of their World Cup group as they have England, Wales and Iran to make ends meet in Group B, while Japan has been drawn into Group E with Spain, Germany and Costa Rica in what looks like a really tough group.
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Below is everything you need to know when the Samurai Blue and Stars and Stripes collide.
Latest USMNT News
Christian Pulisic misses USMNT vs Japan due to injury
How to watch Japan vs USMNT live, updates and start time
Date: Friday September 23
Kick-off time: 8:25 a.m. ET
Where: Dusseldorf Arena, Germany
How to watch: ESPN 2Unimas, TUDN
Japan vs USMNT live analysis! – By Joe Prince Wright
In terms of the actual players who will face Japan, there aren’t really any surprises here.
Sergino Dest starts at right-back, Walker Zimmerman leads the squad as central defender and Luca de la Torre starts in central midfield alongside McKennie and Adams. Gio Reyna and Brenden Aaronson start because they will support Jesus Ferreira.
BREAK team news: This is not good news for the USMNT. Christian Pulisic was injured in training and will not play against Japan. US Soccer has released a statement saying that Pulisic will be monitored and that his availability for next Tuesday’s game against Saudi Arabia will be determined shortly. More details below, but this is a blow to Berhalter.
hello and good morning! Turn on that coffee pot and get ready for an important World Cup warm-up match for the USMNT. Just 180 minutes separates Gregg Berhalter’s boys from the World Cup in Qatar in November and this game against Japan is a huge opportunity for many players.
The big storylines swirling around the USMNT prior to these friendlies seem to have swirled around this young team for the past two years: who will play up front and who will be the second centre-back?
With the red-hot Jordan Pefok remaining astonishing despite his incredible start to the season for Bundesliga leader Union Berlin, the duo Ricardo Pepi and Josh Sargent have been given one last chance to prove themselves against Berhalter. Gio Reyna is back in the squad, which is a huge boost, and it gives Berhalter so many options in the attacking midfield. How will he squeeze Brenden Aaronson, Christian Pulisic and Reyna into the same grid? Can he?
For the centre-back, things were complicated by injuries to Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards, who are battling it out to see who starts next to Walker Zimmerman in the World Cup. The likes of Aaron Long, Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown will see this as a huge opportunity to make the roster as it seems unlikely that Miles Robinson will make it to the squad after his Achilles tendon injury. The fact that Yunus Musah is injured is a blow as he was sure to start in midfield alongside Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie. In goal, Zack Steffen is out after being injured and has only just returned, so Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson will battle it out for that third and final goalkeeper spot with Matt Turner now looking like the starter when he gets the nod to start against Japan.
Brenden Aaronson explains the excitement of USMNT
Leeds United playmaker Brenden Aaronson has had a good start to his Premier League career in recent months and the 21-year-old is excited about the World Cup which is only two months away.
“It’s crazy to think how close the World Cup is, it’s in the back of your mind,” Aaronson told reporters. “At Leeds I haven’t really had a chance to think about it at the moment, but it’s really growing. Seeing the boys again and thinking ‘wow, these are the last two games before the World Cup comes’. It will come as you bet. I think the preparation and what we’ve done over the years, we’re all ready to go and we’re all looking forward to it.”
Japan vs USMNT head-to-head record
This will be only the third ever meeting between Japan and the USMNT, as the hosts won 3-1 in their first meeting in 1993 in Tokyo, with Hugo Perez taking the US’s only goal. The last time these teams met was in 2006 when the USMNT won 3-2 in San Francisco, after goals from Eddie Pope, Clint Dempsey and Taylor Twellman gave them a 3-0 lead and the US held out for the win.
The low point in Japan
This is a very experienced squad with captain Maya Yoshida (114 caps) in charge of the back line, plus fullback Yuto Nagatoma (136 caps) and goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima (95 caps) who have also been the mainstays of this squad for at least ten years, plus Takehiro from Arsenal. Tomiyasu an important part of their defense. Daichi Kamada (Frankfurt), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg), Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic) and Takumi Minamino (Monaco) attack talents to look out for. Japan and their boss Hajime Moriyasu know they’ve received a tough assessment during the World Cup, but they tend to be very good at exceeding expectations and have quickly made it through Asian Football Confederation qualifiers to their seventh consecutive World Cup reach.
USMNT team news, injuries, lineup
With injuries in defense and midfield, there are opportunities everywhere for USMNT players to make a final statement before the World Cup roster is announced. Many expected Erik Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie to get enough minutes as centre-backs, but Aaron Long will start alongside Zimmerman. Although there is a bit of a battle at left back with Antonee Robinson missing this squad with an injury. Could Joe Scally and Sam Vines Give Berhalter More Full Back Headaches? After his great start to the season at Antwerp, Vines will start as left back in this match against Japan.
Luca de la Torre starts in midfield alongside Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams as things get really intriguing at the top of the field. Berhalter will try to balance his side, but at the same time bring all of his best attacking talents into play. Berhalter has said both Reyna and Aaronson will be looked at in a deeper central midfield role, but with Christian Pulisic injured, Reyna and Aaronson will start wide. Duo Josh Sargent and Ricardo Pepi haven’t grabbed the No. 9 jersey from Jesus Ferreira just yet, as the FC Dallas star gets the nod to the top.
Japan vs USMNT, live! Score, updates, how to watch, videos originally appeared on NBCSports.com