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Berhalter, Adams explain dismal display vs Japan

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The North American Football Association (USMNT) caused more new questions than they could answer in the 2-0 loss to Japan on Friday, with coach Greg Berhalter and quarterback Tyler Adams leaving to explain their shortcomings after the game.

[ MORE: What we learned from Japan vs USA | Player ratings ]

Japan proved to be a tough test just 59 days before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and the USMNT had very few, if any, correct answers. Mainly, Jank was unable to advance the ball down the field in a meaningful way, resulting in only four shots (zero on goal).

Clearly Berhalter & Co. had a lot to explain…

Greg Berhalter: “I didn’t see much of a character tonight”

“It was a really competitive match. I think we ended up hurting ourselves a little bit in the game with silly gifts. And we want more character in the match. Give Japan a lot of credit: a good team, a competitive team, they pressed well, but we can do better.”

“For some reason, I didn’t see much of a character with this performance tonight.”

“We have work to do. We obviously need to improve, but overall a really good experience for this team.”

On the cause of the struggles, and if the pressure is really building hard on the USMNT – via ESPN…

“I don’t know if the proximity of the World Cup had anything to do with this, but the players didn’t look like newborns, and from the physical output we looked back a step back,” Berhalter said. “And then it’s hard, a team like Japan will punish you.

“The adjustment in the second half helped give us more control of the game, and gave us more passes between the lines. But in the first half, I think it was just the discomfort on the ball, ridiculous gifts.

“We built up the opponent after a good start, but then he started doubling down and giving some balls away and it wasn’t what we imagined.

Tyler Adams: “We weren’t at our level today…we played for them”

On failing to meet expectations and perform at an important moment…

“It’s definitely a tough job. I mean, you came here and you want to treat it like a World Cup group stage match, a World Cup preparation, and we’re not at our level today.

“We faced a talented team but in the end, we almost felt like playing with their hands. We had a little frustration creeping in. And you can just tell the team they were stopped, a little behind on tackles, a little late receiving the ball, finding solutions, being dangerous and creating chances like we do. Usually. It’s a learning experience at the end of the day, and something we have to put up with for the next game.”

In the USMNT game plan, and why it didn’t work – via ESPN

“I think some teams in CONCACAF – you know, Mexico and Honduras – put pressure on us, and we found solutions. We just needed to find solutions earlier. I think we had a match plan and I think it would have been effective if we had stuck to our game plan.

“But, at times I felt like maybe we were just starting to look for individual solutions instead of sticking together, sticking to our game plan, staying disciplined in our game plan. And I saw Japan – they did it well. They had one game plan and it was effective.”

“In the beginning, it was: if the wings are squeezing tight, we’ll find the solutions in the overlap; we’ll get Serginho. [Dest] Wissam [Vines] Ball and find the channel down the line. If they’re pressing wide, then Weston and I [McKennie] Luca [de la Torre] He must have found space on the ball.

“We didn’t find these solutions early on. I think we rushed things and forced things, and that caused a lot of shifts in dangerous areas.”

About USMNT facing a team of Japan’s quality ahead of the World Cup…

“You have to give credit to Japan, they are a very talented team. I have played against a group of these players in the Bundesliga before and they have quality all over the field, and they showed that tonight.

“So thanks to their game plan, it worked. But we didn’t feel like we had implemented our game plan before the match started. We can’t start hesitating and doing our own things and letting one person sneak into the team. We need to stay together as a team at the end of the day and we didn’t” .

Follow @AndyEdMLS

USMNT reaction: Berhalter, Adams explain dismal show against Japan that originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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