The final international window before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is upon us, and the United States Men’s National Team is gearing up for their final two friendlies before the tournament starts in November. First up, they’ll be taking on Japan on Friday morning from Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany.
This match is set to kick off at 8:25 a.m. ET with a broadcast available on ESPN2. There will also be a livestream on ESPN+ as Gregg Berhalter looks to fine tune his squad ahead of the World Cup. DraftKings Sportsbook has Japan slightly favored to win, priced at +155 on the moneyline. The USMNT sits at +180 while a draw comes in at +225.
USA vs. Japan
Date: Friday, September 23
Time: 8:25 a.m. ET
Both sides are headed to the World Cup final tournament in November, but they haven’t met in over 16 years. The last contest between the two sides was on February 10, 2006 in an international friendly ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The USMNT escaped with a 3-2 win thanks to goals from Taylor Twellman, Clint Dempsey, and Eddie Pope, but a lot has happened since their last meeting and these will be two very different teams.
Berhalter announced his last 26-man roster last week before he’ll have to choose the final roster for the World Cup, and it should serve as a rough preview for the team we’ll see in November in Qatar. It’s highlighted by the likes of Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Brenden Aaronson (Leeds), Josh Sargent (Norwich), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Sergino Dest (AC Milan), and Matt Turner (Arsenal). With a healthy mix of players from top flight clubs overseas and MLS clubs back in the states, Berhalter is hoping he can get this roster to gel and make a deep run in the World Cup tournament.
Japan was solid in their World Cup qualifying run, finishing in second behind USA’s next opponent Saudi Arabia, allowing just four goals through 10 matches. Japan won’t be an easy opponent for the United States, as they tend to play aggressive attacking soccer and can easily cause problems in the final third for the Americans.