Germany Soccer USA Japan
Japan's Daichi Kamada, right, scores the opening goal against United States goalkeeper Matt Turner during the international friendly soccer match between USA and Japan as part of the Kirin Challenge Cup in Duesseldorf, Germany, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Japan beats lackluster U.S. 2-0 in World Cup warmup


With the World Cup approaching and final roster decisions looming, U.S. soccer players gave a dismal performance in a 2-0 exhibition loss to Japan on Friday in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Daichi Kamada scored following Weston McKennie's giveaway in the 24th minute and Kaoru Mitoma added a goal in the 88th.

In their next-to-last World Cup warmup, the Americans failed to put a single shot on goal, getting outshot 16-4 - including 8-0 in efforts on target.

"Obviously really disappointing," goalkeeper Matt Turner said. "I just kind of wish that we had a little more fight about us from the start. I think we hurt ourselves in a lot of ways."

The U.S. has one win, five losses and four draws in its last 10 road games and just one goal in its last five away matches. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said subpar performances were "almost across the board."

"We need to play with personality. We need to play relaxed. We need to play with intensity," Berhalter said. "When we do these things, we're a really good team, but when we don't, we're an average team."

Berhalter plans to announce his 26-man World Cup roster on Nov. 9 and has said 15-20% of the spots were undecided.

"There are certainly positions and players who are probably a little tense," defender Walker Zimmerman said. "They know that they have one or two games, one or two opportunities to show that they can make a difference in Qatar."

American star Christian Pulisic did not dress because of an unspecified injury that Berhalter called "a knock." The 14th-ranked Americans already were without Tim Weah, Yunus Musah, Chris Richards, Antonee Robinson and Zack Steffen due to injuries, and Miles Robinson will miss the World Cup because of a torn Achilles.

A series of defensive breakdowns put pressure on Turner, who has played just one match this season for Arsenal. He made a pair of diving saves in the second half, on Junya Ito in the 55th and Kamada in the 65th.

Kamada scored after McKennie received the ball from Tyler Adams and underhit a backpass. Hidemasa Morita played the ball to an open Kamada, who beat Turner to the far post from about 12 yards for his sixth international goal.

"It was pretty sloppy from all of us - myself, yeah, Weston in moments," Adams said.

No. 24 Japan initially was called for offside, but the goal was awarded after a video review determined Kamada was played onside by Zimmerman.

Mitoma scored his fifth international goal, turning around second-half sub Reggie Cannon and bending the ball around Zimmerman to beat Turner to the far post with a right-foot shot from just inside the penalty area.

"That second goal comes from a lot of frustration of things just not really working for us," Turner said. "We give the ball away and we kind of all just drop our heads and we don't react. And they were having joy on the ball and running freely at us."

Jesús Ferreira had the best U.S. chance in the seventh minute, putting an short-range open header over the crossbar from a Sergiño Dest cross.

The U.S. has one last exhibition, against 53rd-ranked Saudi Arabia on Tuesday at Murcia, Spain. Berhalter said it was too soon to determine whether Pulisic will be available.

Back in the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the Americans open in Qatar against No. 19 Wales on Nov. 21, play fifth-ranked England four days later and close the first round against No. 22 Iran on Nov. 29.

Players' shouts to each other were audible during a match played before a crowd of 5,149 in 54,600-capacity Merkur Spiel-Arena.

Gio Reyna and Dest started despite having not played 90-minute matches for their clubs this season. Reyna, fit following a leg injury that wrecked his 2021-22 season, had not started for the U.S. in a year. He wore the No. 21 of his father, former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna.

Josh Sargent, Jordan Morris, Cannon and Mark McKenzie entered to start the second half in place of Ferreira, Reyna, Dest and Aaron Long.

"We're a young team and we're going to have to go through some tough moments here and there," Turner said. "Hopefully we can right a lot of our wrongs and ride a nice wave going into Qatar."


Preparing for its seventh straight World Cup, Japan plays No. 44 Ecuador on Tuesday in Düsseldorf and 43rd-ranked Canada on Nov. 17 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Japan opens against No. 11 Germany on Nov. 23, meets 34th-ranked Costa Rica four days later and closes group play against No. 6 Spain on Dec. 1.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I didn't see the game but have seen Mitoma play for Brighton and he looks a real talent.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The US will never be good at footy. Just the way it is. Ditto Japan.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I knew that it was more than possible for Japan to win against the US; it’s not that surprising; the level of the quality of their national teams is very similar, between 50-50 and 50-60; things change when we compare these two to the Europeans; it’s a completely different world and they’re still light years from reaching them; waiting to see what Japan will do against Germany and Spain in November.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


between 50-50 and 40-60;

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US will never be good at footy. Just the way it is. Ditto Japan

They’ve both had good squads in the past. Both have reached the knockout stages of World Cups on a few occasions. The current squads aren’t vintage crops, but every country goes through this, even the elite like Brazil, Italy and Germany.

The US and Japan are good overall. This is the world’s most popular sport. They are both good if we take into account how many teams are competing.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I beg to differ. They’ll never be good and reaching the knockout stage is hardly a major accomplishment. The World Cup will always be Europe’s or South America’s to win. All the other countries are basically wasting their time. History backs me up on this.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japan won, LOOOOOOL !!!..

-5 ( +0 / -5 )


I don’t think you fully realise how competitive this sport is. This isn’t a sport plated seriously by a handful of countries. This isn’t ice-hockey or baseball.

To reach the last 16, 8 or 4 of a World Cup is an achievement given how many countries play this game seriously.

This is a big pond with a lot of big fish.

I agree about the European and South American dominance. I still have hope that an African or Asian side can emerge to challenge. I still think Africa is the best hope.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

1 thing is to be able to challenge a stronger opponent, to make them sweat, to earn the right to hope for a miracle, another thing is to actually win it. There’s a reason why they call the European Cups a World Cup without Brazil and Argentina; because the best of the best is a group of ten teams. Ten! Europe’s big eight (Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, England, Netherlands and Belgium) plus Brazil and Argentina; the WC winner will always be one of these ten. There’s good, there’s really good and then there’s great. Japan and the US are just good (maybe they can be really good in a few years); still not enough to win a WC; we had Chile, Uruguay and Colombia but they “disappeared” in the last few years. As for this year’s WC, my money is on Brazil; but they’ll have to deal with France, Germany, Spain and Portugal: imo these are the five strongest national teams at the moment.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

the US team seems to have gone backwards in recent years.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

reaching the knockout stage is hardly a major accomplishment

Reaching the group stage of the World Cup finals is most certainly an accomplishment, achieved after an arduous qualifying process against a lot of other teams that also really want to be there. Japan and the USA may never win the title, but then not many countries have. They’re certainly both good enough to be taken seriously by any opponent they come up against.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Football unites. FIFA World Cup 2022 looks set to attract the attention of fans from across the football loving world. All the best to the participating nations, their footballers, fans, match-officials, sponsors, and the media.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Good, business-like performance from the men in Blue. Any Samurai-Blue outfit that can leave Celtic Bhoy Kyogo on the pine for the 90 mins must be fairly good! Fellow Bhoy Maeda was busy in his half and could be a surprise packet in the Cup.

Hoping everyone underestimates Japan in Qatar. They are more than capable of springing a few surprises! The USA team has enough talent if they get their stuff together to do well also.

To reach the last 16, 8 or 4 of a World Cup is an achievement given how many countries play this game seriously.

Well said @Jimizo. Hope to see ALL the Asian and African teams shine too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let me just say that I agree with those saying that it is always an achievement to reach the knockout stages of a WC. Respect to those that work hard to go as far as they can. But the cold reality is that the winner will always be one of those ten countries. Hopefully, things can change; I can see the US and Japan (if they keep working hard) with a promising future ahead of them, they’ll probably reach the semifinals or the final someday; there’s also Mexico and a couple of South American teams, South Korea in Asia and Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Ivory Coast in Africa. In Europe, outside of the big eight, we have Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland; as you can see, there’s always hope in football, that’s what makes it so exciting, but it’s gonna take a while. To those that wanna keep dreaming, I say: never give up, there’s always hope and… enjoy the game (!)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I beg to differ. They’ll never be good and reaching the knockout stage is hardly a major accomplishment.

I beg to differ, it’s changing and now m sure that will change with the next generations as well.

The World Cup will always be Europe’s or South America’s to win.

Often, but not always, there are other nations coming up. We used to have the best track and field, but there are other nations coming up and overtaking the US, that’s just how things change in life.

All the other countries are basically wasting their time. History backs me up on this.

Past, history wasn’t written yet for the future.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

People get so offended when you criticize footy. Very sensitive

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

People get so offended when you criticize footy

Who criticized footy? You didn’t and nobody else did.

You belittled the footy teams, past, present and future, of the US and Japan.

I thought that was quite disrespectful.

Quite a few good sides over the years.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Seems the only time the US steps up is when they play Mexico

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites