Gregg Berhalter certainly has his work cut out for him and the U.S. team.  (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis Editor

There were many things missing from the U.S. men’s national team in its 2-0 loss to Japan on Friday.

Watching his team from the sidelines suffering a 2-0 defeat at Düsseldorf Arena in Düsseldorf,  Germany, head coach Gregg Berhalter knew the team was without one important ingredient in its penultimate World Cup warm-up match:


Asked by ESPN’s Sam Borden what he wanted to see different in Tuesday’s encounter against Saudi Arabia, Berhalter replied, “I think it’s more personality than match. I didn’t for some reason, see a lot of personality with their performance tonight.”

On both sides of the ball.

The Americans had countless giveaways in the defensive third and never placed a shot on target. You can’t win matches unless you score goals.

“It was really competitive match,” Berhalter said. “I think we ended up hurting ourselves a little bit too much in the game with silly giveaways and we want a little more personality. Give Japan a lot of credit, good team, competitive team that pressed well. But we can do better.”

The USA better do better.

Especially in central defense, which, in a word, was atrocious against Japan.

Red Bulls captain Aaron Long endured a disastrous opening 45 minutes with several ill-timed turnovers. Long, who was replaced by Mark McKenzie in the second half, and partner Walker Zimmerman, did not work well together.

Berhalter wouldn’t go into depth about his center backs.

“We’ll look at the tape and we’ll analyze it more carefully,” he said. “I think there’s some good moments and moments that can be improved but what we’ll evaluate on tape.”