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USMNT battles Japan in penultimate World Cup tune-up

With the World Cup drawing ever closer, US Soccer scheduled two friendlies for the USMNT. The pair of fixtures test the mettle of the team and see how the stack up before they ship out to Qatar in November.

The pair of friendlies are a refreshing change of pace. Opponents Japan and Saudi Arabia are relatively unfamiliar foes for the Stars and Stripes. On top of that, the games are at neutral sites in Europe, mirroring a neutral game at the World Cup against World-Cup-bound opposition.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two neutral site games in Europe were far and few between. The U.S. played the Italians in a game contested between two sides that failed to reach Russia 2018. Then, four years before that, London hosted the United States against Colombia. Pre-COVID, the last time the USMNT won a neutral site friendly in Europe was a 1-0 win in March of 2006 over Poland in Germany. Clearly, the United States is not overly familiar with neutral-site games in Europe.

With these two games serving as the final tune-up before the World Cup, fans are hoping for positive results that create momentum heading to Qatar.

Current USMNT squad

The roster for these two games called in by Gregg Berhalter is a mix of European based players and MLS based players. In goal, Zack Steffen is out with an injury so the trio of Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson battle for a starting role.

The backline is again a mixed bag. Berhalter continues to omit John Brooks from the squad for reasons known only to himself. Even then, Berhalter assures that Brooks still has a place in the team. Without Brooks, the three most experienced US defenders are DeAndre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long. All three play for MLS clubs, while the only player with extensive experience on the September squad playing in Europe is Sergiño Dest, with 17 caps.

The midfield features Weston McKennie and Leeds engine Tyler Adams. Plus, relatively inexperienced names like Johnny Cardoso and Malik Tillman…

Source link : https://worldsoccertalk.com/2022/09/22/usmnt-battles-japan-in-penultimate-world-cup-tune-up/

Author : Lawrence Dockery

Publish date : 2022-09-22 22:00:26

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