The U.S. Soccer Federation said Pulisic was out “because of a knock he took in training earlier this week.” The USSF said it was too soon to determine whether he will be available for Tuesday’s friendly against Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain.
Gio Reyna was in the starting lineup for the first time for the U.S. since the opening World Cup qualifier at El Salvador on Sept. 2. The 19-year-old injured a hamstring in that match, leading to repeated recurrences that wrecked his 2021-22 season. Reyna wore jersey No. 21, the number his father, former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, wore 42 times.
Matt Turner was in goal, Sergino Dest at right back, Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long at central defender and Sam Vines at right back. Tyler Adams was in central midfield, Weston McKennie and Luca de la Torre in central midfield, Reyna and Brenden Aaronson on the wings and Jesus Ferreira at forward.
Because of injuries and suspensions, Pulisic, Adams and McKennie have started together only four times: a 2019 friendly against Ecuador, World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Canada in January, and a June friendly against Uruguay.
Turner started eight of 14 qualifiers, with Steffen in goal for the rest.
Vines is making only his ninth international appearance, his first since Aug. 1, 2021. Dest is playing for the U.S. for the first time since the Jan. 30 qualifier at Canada.
Zimmerman captained the Americans for the sixth time.
Japan, preparing for its seventh straight World Cup, opens against Germany on Nov. 23, meets Costa Rica four days later and closes group play against Japan on Dec. 1.