Still looking for their starting striker, the United States will attempt to resolve doubts in Friday’s match against Japan in Düsseldorf (Germany), their friendly ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.
The North American team, which will kick off its World Cup preparations against Saudi Arabia in Murcia (Spain) on 27 September, has moved into Group B of the World Cup along with England, Wales and Iran.
Manager Greg Berhalter still has a few pieces to define in the starting eleven he will present at his World Cup debut against Wales on 21 November.
In addition to Walker Zimmermann’s partner in the central defence, Berhalter’s big unknown remains Captain Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) in the attack.
Several players alternated these two positions during the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, in which the United States finished third behind Canada and Mexico, neither of which established themselves as starters.
At the moment, however, Berhalter has more options than ever as he has recovered several injured attackers while others are showing great form.
Young Xiao Reyna, a talented Borussia Dortmund winger, is now available after being ruled out of the qualifiers due to injury.
Reyna, 19, could compete for a spot in the band with Brendan Aaronsson, who is shining in his first season at Leeds United, and Tim Weah (Lillee), who has been out of the team due to physical problems .
At attack point, young Colombian-American Jess Ferreira scored 18 goals in 31 MLS games, continuing to qualify as a starter.
Berhalter, however, would give one last chance in these friendly matches to Mexican-Americans Ricardo Pepi (Groningen) and Josh Sargent (Norwich City), who had been absent from the list for a year.
– even rivalry –
Japan, for its part, is also preparing for its participation in the duel against the United States in Qatar-2022 and against Ecuador on September 27 in Düsseldorf.
The Asian team called for 30 players, 22 of whom play in European football, including figures such as young Takefusa Kubo of the Royal Society of Spain.
“Japan is a team that puts in a lot of pressure with very dynamic and very technical players. It will be a very good challenge,” admitted Berhalter.
Japan are placed in Group E along with Germany, Spain and Costa Rica for their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance.
Both rivals shared victories in their individual balances with the Japanese winning 3–1 in 1993 and the American 3–2 in 2006.
The match will begin at 2:46 pm local time (12:46 GMT) at the Düsseldorf Arena, which will have a capacity of 54,000 spectators:
United States: Matt Turner – Reggie Cannon, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Sergio Dest – Kellyanne Acosta, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie – Brendan Aarons, Christian Pulisic and Jesus Ferreira. DT: Greg Berhalter.
Japan: Eiji Kawashima – Shogo Taniguchi, Miki Yamane, Yuta Nakayama, Maya Yoshida – Gaku Shibasaki, Genki Haraguchi, Takefusa Kubo, Ryo Hate – Koru Mitoma and Ayase Ueda. DT: Hajime Moriasu.