U.S. adds June 5 friendly against Japan

The Equalizer Staff April 20, 2016 56

The United States will play Japan in an international friendly at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Sunday, June 5. The match extends the series between the rivals to two games over four days. The teams will meet June 2 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. The June 5 match, at the home of the Cleveland Browns, will be televised live by ESPN2 starting at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

The United States and Japan have played in the last three major international finals with Japan winning the 2011 World Cup and the United States taking the 2012 Olympic gold medal and 2015 World Cup. However this series will be Olympic preparation only for the United States. Japan slipped up in Asian Olympic qualifying, finishing third and missing out to Australia and China.

The United States will play New Zealand, France, and Colombia in their Olympic group.

  • AlexH

    Judging by the seating chart on the federation site it is looking like 20-25K seats will be available. Given that the game at Dicks sold out in a heartbeat I am hoping that the feds retained the option to open up up more sections should tickets sales prove hot. It would be cool to see the entire Dawg Pound opened up to supporters!

    • Rdalford

      US soccer attendance in Cleveland has not been great in the past.
      – US men (USMNT) v Belgium match May 2013 in Cleveland had about 27K attendance and USMNT v Venezuela in May 2006 had 29.7K attendance.
      – USWNT vs Germany in Cleveland on May 22, 2010 had only 10321 in attendance and USWNT v China in Cleveland on June 16, 2007 only drew 8888 attendance.
      Hopefully the USWNT vs Japan match in June in Cleveland will surprise and produce decent attendance.

  • Gary Diver


    1. A two-day separation between the two Japanese games seems short to me, especially when day will have to be a travel day and there is a 2-hour time zone difference. Wouldn’t a three-day separation make more sense?

    2. Any announcement of a pre-match training camp? If so, how many days and when?

    3. Any indication of when Ellis will announce her roster?

    4. How are the game kits chosen? Did people prefer the white or the colored kits?

    5. How big of a deal are these games for Allie Long? Here is a nice interview of her Colombia experiences:

    I really like Long’s attitude and work ethic. Is there anyway of repackaging the OG roster so Allie Long, Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan, and Morgan Brian can all go?

    • AlexH

      I think the flight and the 2 day separation will be what will happen during the OG.

      My guess is that these games will be critical for Allie Long as she is on the bubble.

      • Joe

        Not a lot spots up for grab’s. She has show better than Mewis, though O’Reilly is certainly a cut that might happen. Hard tell but there are not a lot spots left .. Some speculation that Megan Rapinoe is going be given a spot which to me is a joke.

    • mockmook

      You ask an awful lot of questions:

      1. Are you a spy? 😉

      • Gary Diver

        It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers. – James Thurber, “The Scotty Who Knew Too Much”, The New Yorker (18 February 1939)

      • Craigaroo

        Playing at questions, Rosenkrantz and Guildernstern-style?!
        No utterances! 1-love
        “That’s not fair. We didn’t start yet.”
        Statement! 2-love.
        “Are you a spy?”
        Why do you say that?
        “Because you ask an awful lot of questions”
        Statement! 3-love. First game to me…

    • mockmook

      “Is there anyway of repackaging the OG roster so Allie Long, Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan, and Morgan Brian can all go to Rio?”

      Now, you’ve really gone too far, trying to sneak in a sixth.

      2. Have you no shame?

      • Gary Diver

        What can I say, I like Allie Long, Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan, and Morgan Brian.

        Here is an article listing Heath as a defender:

        And I do think Ellis has a roster surprise up her sleeve. She just needs to figure out how to pull it off.

        • Guest

          Heath isn’t a defender and the only way I see all going is if Lloyd picks up an injury but I guess anything is possible

          • guest

            lloyd is going even if she picks up an injury. she will just recover and get back inform in the middle of the olympic tournament.

          • Gary Diver

            I realize that Heath is not a defender. The point is that other people are very creative with the roster in order to fit certain personnel on it and I think Ellis will also be creative when she announces the official roster.

        • John

          Engen or Sonnett. Heath is not going play OB. If she does this coach is even dumber than I thought. From what I can tell she doesn’t like Krieger much anymore. Who know’s it’s Jill. She sticks with Horan and Brian midfield yet it doesn’t look good or work well. Rates Dunn and Press as bench players.

          • Gary Diver

            I don’t think the issue with Krieger is that Ellis doesn’t like her, I think she wants her OB to be part of the offensive push and KO is better in that component than Krieger. I believe Krieger will be on the OG roster and will play in some of the games but she has lost her starting role to KO who is 4 years younger.

            The losers will probably be HAO and Engen. I like Engen but there is no reason to bring both Engen and Sonnett to Rio and Sonnett has a number of advantages at this point. And to be honest, Ellis has played hasn’t played either HAO or Engen much in the past year.

        • mockmook
          • Guest

            This looks as good as any other line up we can throw out there.

      • Gary Diver

        In the fall of 2014, Julie Johnston was dropped from USWNT. She took the demotion as a challenge and then spent hundreds of hours training with Carli Lloyd and her personal trainer to turn things around. So when opportunity knocked, Johnston was ready physically and mentally. I see Allie Long in a similar position. She has worked very hard, is super fit, and is playing very good soccer. I hope she makes the OG roster.

        • Jersey Shore Rises

          Could not agree more and would love to see my girl from Long Island make the RIO16 team.

    • mockmook

      GK: Solo, Naeher


      CB: Sauerbrunn, Sonnett, Johnston

      FB: O’Hara, Klingenberg, Krieger


      CM: Brian, Long, S.Mewii

      OM: Pugh, Heath, Dunn


      Lloyd, A.Morgan, Press, Horan

      • Terry Lash

        This looks like a winner and seems realistic. Good work.

      • Gary Diver

        Well done and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellis doesn’t agree with you:)

      • Guest

        Who do you think the alternates would be? Hinkle, McCaf, Engen, Harris?

        • mockmook

          I’m not even sure if Mewis or Long is going on the first team. So, I have no idea who the alternates will be (but HAO is also possible if she doesn’t make the 18).

    • Craigaroo

      Speaking of questions, who’s Japan’s coach these days?

      • Nicole C.

        The position is still vacant, but I think they’re working on a permanent fix for the June friendlies.

        • JL

          I believe they want the current coach of the youth teams to take over, but that’s not happening until after the youth WC later this year.

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    • sudeep das

      probable combo (2 GKs + 16 Field players)

      GK – Solo, Naeher
      Def – Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Krieger, Klingenberg, O’Hara, Engen
      Mid – Heath, Horan, Brian, Long, Mewis, Lloyd
      For – Morgan, Dunn, Press, Pugh

      • Gary Diver

        Engen or Sonnett, that is the question.

        You like Engen and I like Sonnett. (Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” – George & Ira Gershwin) One of Ellis’ toughest roster decisions and though Engen has more experience, Sonnett has been on the field a lot more in the past several months.

        • sudeep das

          Absolutely – Engen or Sonnett that is the question. The rest are all locked in this roster.
          It is not that I like Engen (I love all of them for playing this great game) – more to do with her experience and handling pressure against big teams. Sonnett, while building a move, tends to pass on the decision making to Sauerbrunn as we saw in the She Believes cup. Also, she can commit serious fouls in the box like against Brazil in the friendlies.

      • AlexH

        This seems to be the consensus lineup, which makes me think that even though Jill said NWSL is important I have to think that she took aside her starting 11 and told them that her statements don’t apply to them. That is what any sane coach would have done. So I think you can identify the bubble players as the ones busting their butt and the sure things as the ones that are going through the motions.

        • Gary Diver

          Let’s be realistic. There is simply not enough time or Friendlies left to integrate any new players into the OG roster. The train has left and Allie Long is the last player who can get on board.

          Also, look at the current roster. Who should be cut? And what position does Ellis need to look at new players? I would argue that the answers to both questions is “none”.

          • AlexH

            Yeah but saying that don’t expect to see Hope, Carli or Alex flinging themselves into anything either. Allie, Emily, Whitney, Heather and Sam however probably will though.

          • Gary Diver

            Good point. Some USWNT players definitely have more motivation than others to kick it into high gear during the next 3 months.

          • And I think NWSL play may be used more to determine Olympics starters vs. Subs rather than who is making the roster.

          • Gary Diver

            Agree, with the exception of Allie Long as discussed elsewhere.

      • mockmook

        Only one OM?

        • sudeep das

          Well had Rapinoe been fit then she would have replaced Mewis. However considering the versatility of this roster and with O’Hara and Klingenberg being encouraged to push up constantly only one OM is probably good enough.

    • 1. Two days is qucik, but that is what they are given in between Olympic games, so I am guessing that is why. To get acclimated with quick turnaround.

      2. No announcement yet, but sounds like it will start at the end of May, so probably 3-5 days prior.

      3. Rosters are due 35ish days before the team heads to Rio. I suspect they will annouce before the July friendlies. So early to mid-July? Just a guess on my part.

      5. These games are big for Long, but I’d argue her NWSL games are even bigger at the moment. She may be the only one who NWSL play matters for Jill. If she doesn’t perform well, she could not get called back in. (hearing now that she is expected for June friendlies though)

      I think the only way 4 CM’s go (the four you mentioned above) is if they lave behind a defender. I don’t see it happening. I still see Long as the one on the outside looking in, since she is not allocated.

      • Gary Diver

        Good points. I agree that Long may be the only player whose NWSL play matters. I like Long for a number of reason. Her cannon shot off the crossbar early in the first Colombia game is the kind of confident outside shot that USWNT has been missing. And apparently in Portland-Orlando game she was denied a goal on a questionable offsides call.

    • HOFCToDi

      2016 Summer Olympic Games
      USWNT Roster
      Goalkeepers – Solo, Harris or Naeher
      Centerbacks – Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Engen or Sonnett
      Central Midfielders – Lloyd, Brian, Horan, Long or Mewis
      Flank Midfielders – Heath, Pugh, xxxx, xxxx
      Strikers – Morgan, Dunn

      Harris or Naeher
      Engen or Sonnett
      Long or Mewis

      • Gary Diver

        Generally agree, but . . . If I had to bet $1,000 on whether Press was going to Rio or not I would not bet against it. (I don’t like throwing money away.) If Morgan gets injured in July it would make more sense to put Press on top than Dunn who has played only one game for USWNT as forward. The OG is not the time to try an experiment.

        I do agree that the team could use another quality flank midfielder. Too bad it is too late to integrate a new face on the roster.

        And I still think it is possible that Ellis will take Horan, Mewis, Long, and Brian. She would have to somehow jiggle things but she is good at jiggling.

  • x

    I didn’t realize during Shiba, but it seems France had and blew a shot at Pot 1 Olympic seeding? They entered 2016 with 2078 FIFA points to Germany’s 2104, then the only first-quarter games they played were a friendly with Norway and Shiba. They entered April, and thus Olympic draw season, with 2068 points to Germany’s 2117 (Germany played only Shiba in the first quarter). So they moved from -26 to -49…that’s 23 points relative to Germany, which was almost their deficit. I think if they’d won Shiba they would’ve made the seeded teams.

    • Craigaroo

      You’re right. Even reversing the result against Germany alone almost gets them there. I roughly calculate France lost 12 points (and Germany gained 12) by losing 1-0. If France had won, they would’ve gained 12 and Germany would’ve lost 12, which means, on the basis of this game alone, Germany’s 26 point edge would’ve been cut to 2!
      // Tying England 1-1 instead of the scoreless tie doesn’t quite get them there but would shave it down to 1 point! But winning against England on top of a win against Germany certainly would’ve put them ahead. Instead of losing about 3 points for the tie, they would’ve gained about 9.

  • Tom F

    good choice for an friendly. Japan’s been on a downfall lately(failing to have qualified for the Olympics). They will try their best to try and gain their lost prestige back by trying to beat the US.

    • rkmid71

      This sounds similar to the time in 2014 when the U17 YNT failed to qualify for the WC then hosted Japan in an invitational tournament prior to the WC which Japan U17s went on to win. The PR machine making a big deal out of beating the eventual U17 world champions in a pre-WC invitational. In contrast, I seriously doubt Japan is looking to regain any lost prestige in these pre-Olympic friendlies and I doubt they will make a big deal out of it if they win one or more of the matches. I doubt that’s really the purpose for JE anyway — she’s likely using the matches to test some players on the bubble and to help her decide on the final OG roster. Winning is secondary.

      • Gary Diver

        Winning is never secondary to USWNT. It’s a two-edge sword, but that is one reason it is America’s team.

        • rkmid71

          Except for the Dec 16 game against China? Does that apply to the YNTs? And I thought America’s team was the Dallas Cowboys.

          • Gary Diver

            “America’s Women Team” might be a better moniker and you are right about the December 16 “Fiasco Game”.

            As far as YNT: emphasizing winning over developing is a problem.

  • Gary Diver

    Japanese factoids:

    1. Average age of the current 20 player roster is 27.25 years.

    2. During the past two years, there has been a large number of call-up to the Japanese national team.

    3. Yūki Ōgimi was the only Japanese player to score against USWNT in the World Cup final. It was a strike of beauty.

    4. Coach Norio Sasaki’s farewell

    5. Norio Sasaki blunt talk: “My players are superior to the English players.”

    6. Norio Sasaki Scandal: He deliberately played for a tie in OG12. This was the same Olympics were individual athletes were disqualified for deliberating trying to lose matches to gain a better future match-up. It is amazing FIFA gave Sasaki a pass on deliberating trying not to win a match – a good example of bad sportsmanship.

    “Strategically playing for a draw by taking up a more defensive approach (known as ‘parking the bus’) is a fairly common tactic, but one usually employed by weaker teams that can’t compete with their opponents’ more dangerous attack. It is also one with which all managers do not agree.” Ouch!!

  • Free

    Megan Rapinoe is going to the Olympics. It’s her last big tournament. I feel bad for ever is cut for her. Take this bank.

    • Gary Diver

      Before starting a food fight, what is your evidence? If Rapinoe is not match ready in July (2 1/2 months from now), she should not torpedo another player who is match ready and has been playing. And to be honest, Heath and Pugh are the starting wingers with Dunn as back-up.

    • AlexH

      I don’t think the roster is big enough for Jill to take somebody that isn’t fit. It would be one thing if the team was sucking and/or our draw was easy but this is not the case.

    • Daosium

      Allie Long staying home so Rapinoe can sit on a bench and collect another gold medal would be pretty cruel. But funny.

      • mockmook

        I would not be laughing.