Americans shut out by Japan in World Cup warmup

AP photo by Martin Meissner / U.S. defender Sergino Dest, left, and Japan's Daichi Kamada fight for the ball during an exhibition match Friday in Düsseldorf, Germany.

With the World Cup approaching and final roster decisions looming for the U.S. men's national soccer team, the Americans gave a dismal performance Friday in a 2-0 exhibition loss to Japan in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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

In their penultimate World Cup warmup, the Americans were outshot 16-4, including 8-0 on target.

"Obviously really disappointing," U.S. 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 team has one win, five losses and four draws in its past 10 road games, and it has just one goal in its past five road games. 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," he 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 to 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 Yunus Musah, Chris Richards, Antonee Robinson, Zack Steffen and Tim Weah due to injuries, and Miles Robinson will miss the World Cup because of a torn Achilles' tendon.

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 a short-range open header over the crossbar from a Sergiño Dest cross.

The U.S. will play its final exhibition Tuesday against 53rd-ranked Saudi Arabia in 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 Merkur Spiel-Arena, which has a capacity of 54,600.

Gio Reyna and Dest started despite having not played 90-minute matches for their clubs this season. Reyna, healthy after 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.

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