Daiichi Kamada scored after Weston McKinney’s donation in the 24th minute, Kaoru Mituma added a goal in the 88th minute, and Japan beat a lackluster and injury-stricken United States 2-0 on Friday in Dusseldorf, Germany, in the Americans’ next game – the last World Cup preparation.
The Americans failed to get a single shot on target, played a dismal first half and showed a bit more initiative after four changes in the first half. They have one win, five defeats and four draws in 10 road games since the win over Northern Ireland in March 2021 and just one goal in their last five away games.
American star Christian Pulisic did not wear his uniform due to an unspecified injury. The Americans were already 14th without Tim Weah, Younes Moussa, Chris Richards, Anthony Robinson and Zack Stephen, and Miles Robinson will miss the World Cup with an Achilles tear.
A series of defensive collapses plagued the United States in the first half and put pressure on goalkeeper Matt Turner, who has played only one game this season for Arsenal. Turner saved twice in the second half, on Junya Ito in the 55th minute and Kamada in the 65th minute.
Kamada scored after McKinney received a pass from Tyler Adams and skipped a back pass. Hiroki Sakai ran over the ball and passed it to Ito. He played the ball to the open Kamada, who beat Turner to the far post from about 12 yards to score his sixth international goal.
Ranked #24 Japan was initially called up for offside, but the goal was awarded after a video review determined that Kamada was played alongside Walker Zimmerman.
Mitoma scored his fifth international goal, turning around Reggie Cannon in the second half and bending the ball around Zimmermann to beat Turner to the far post with a right-footed shot from inside the penalty area.
Jesus Ferreira got the USA’s best chance in the seventh minute, setting a short-range header over the bar from Sergino Dest’s cross.
The United States has one last fair before the World Cup, against 53rd-ranked Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in Murcia, Spain. The USSF said it’s too early to say if Pulisic will be available.
Returning to the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the Americans opened in Qatar against No. 19 Wales on November 21, play fifth seed England four days later and close out the first round against 22nd seed Iran on November 29.
Japan is preparing for its seventh consecutive World Cup, opening against 11th seed Germany on November 23, meeting 34th seed Costa Rica four days later and concluding the group match against 6th seed Spain on December 1.
Players shouting to each other could be heard during a match played in front of a crowd of less than 10,000 people in the 54,600-capacity Merkur Spiel-Arena.
Gio Reina and Dest have started despite not playing 90-minute matches for their clubs this season. Reina, who was in fitness after a leg injury that ruined the 2021-22 season, hasn’t started with the US in a year. He wore the number 21 to his father, former United States captain Claudio Reina.
Japan has won possession in the US’s defensive third eight times in the first half, the most in a half against the Americans since 2010, according to Opta Sports.
Josh Sargent, Jordan Morris, Cannon and Mark McKenzie entered the second half in place of Ferreira, Reyna, Dest and Aaron Long.
Japan plays Ecuador 44 on Tuesday in Dusseldorf and Canada ranked 43 on November 17 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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