Are you excited for the World Cup? After watching the US Men’s National Team on Friday, you probably shouldn’t be! Sure, it was a friendly, but the USMNT played so poorly that it’s almost impossible to understand how they only lost 2-0 to Japan.
Before we get to the heart of how poorly the USMNT played, we need to start with these pre-match kits.
I’ve seen them described as “at least better than World Cup uniforms”, which is settling for mediocrity. That’s Stockholm Syndrome. These appear to have been designed by Nerf for an episode of Nickelodeon Guts in 1994, then hastily tossed a barely visible Volkswagen logo on the front at the end, which appears to have been hand-drawn with Sharpie, because a kit manager forgot these were sponsored. .
Somehow these teams were calm better than what the USMNT put on the field. Let’s immerse ourselves in sadness.
This was in THE FIRST HALF! How do you lose 54 possessions in one half, let alone your defensive half? Note that according to FIFA the USMNT is the 14th ranked team in the world while Japan is ranked 24th. They all had bad games but not all on one team at once unless this is some kind of Twilight Zone marathon.
Never mind, as bad as that stat looks when you read it, it still doesn’t compare to looking at a graph.
Maybe this is all a ruse. Perhaps the men are just preparing for Qatar by building a literal offensive desert in attack. This is 4-D chess or the saddest thing you’ll ever see. Sorry, actually the saddest thing you’ll see is this attempted defense.
Somehow, the USMNT managed to outplay Japan 57-43, but surprisingly failed to hit a single shot in over 90 minutes. Not one. Before you know it, maybe the US was sandbagging, maybe, but so was Japan. They were running the simplest, most rudimentary 4-4-2, and they didn’t change their tactics once during the match. They did the same pressure over and over again, and the USMNT didn’t have a single answer on how to deal with it.
If you’re looking for a silver lining (and you should be) it’s that the team was ravaged by injuries, most notable for Christian Pulisic who would definitely have helped improve attack and distribution, but still that’s not really an excuse for getting hit. with what is equivalent to a Japanese high school press.
The USMNT took shape, plain and simple. They’d better do some serious soul-searching so they don’t win in Qatar and go 0-3 and group, before letting the real teams play on.