James Musa - Swope Park Rangers vs. Reno 1868 - July 30, 2017
Nick Smith

Preview: James Musa and New Zealand visit Japan for Friday friendly

New Zealand Men's National Team at Japan
International Friendly | Toyota Stadium | Toyota, Japan
Friday, Oct. 6 | 5:20 a.m. CT | @NZ_Football on Twitter

Sporting Kansas City midfielder James Musa and the New Zealand Men's National Team travel to face Japan in a friendly on Friday, serving as the All Whites' lone tune-up ahead of their two-legged World Cup playoff in November.

Friday's matchup at Toyota Stadium will kick off at 5:20 a.m. CT with live updates available on Twitter at @NZ_Football. Musa will be in contention for his fourth career cap and his third since returning to New Zealand's squad in August after a three-year absence.

The All-Whites cruised to an 8-3 aggregate victory over Solomon Islands last month to win the OFC Final and advance to a World Cup playoff against the fifth-place finisher from the South American qualifying region. That series will be decided over two legs, to be played Nov. 6 and 10, and New Zealand's opponent will be determined Tuesday when CONMEBOL qualifying concludes.

In preparation for next month's decisive series, New Zealand will meet a Japan side that has already punched its ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Blue Samurai currently sit at No. 40 in the FIFA rankings, second-highest among Asian countries, and boast a strong contingent of Europe-based players at the club level. Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa and Southampton defender Maya Yoshida highlight a roster that also includes four German Bundesliga forwards in Takuma Asano (Stuttgart), Genki Haraguchi (Hertha Berlin), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz) and Yuya Osako (Cologne).

On the opposite sideline, New Zealand head coach Anthony Hudson has assembled a group that blends veteran experience with a crop of up-and-comers. The 25-year-old Musa fits into the latter category as one of seven MLS-based players on the team. The other Kiwis who ply their trade in Major League Soccer include Vancouver Whitecaps trio Myer Bevan, Stefan Marinovic and Deklan Wynne, Minnesota United's Michael Boxall, San Jose's Kip Colvey and Portland's Bill Tuiloma.

A pair of English Premier League talents will carry heavy responsibilities over the next month. West Ham United defender Winston Reid (21 caps) captains the squad, while Burnley forward Chris Wood (53 caps, 23 goals) spearheads the attack. Both players represented New Zealand at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the nation's second World Cup appearance after debuting in 1982.

Musa made a pair of substitute appearances against Solomon Islands last month, his first international action since featuring in a friendly versus South Africa on May 30, 2014. His return to the national team continues a breakthrough year that saw him sign for Sporting KC from Swope Park Rangers on Aug. 11 and make his MLS debut the following day with a 90-minute performance at Seattle Sounders FC.

New Zealand Roster
(Club, Country – caps, goals)

Goalkeepers 
Stefan MARINOVIC (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada, 21, 0 )
Michael WOUD (Sunderland FC, England, 0, 0)

Defenders
Michael BOXALL (Minnesota United FC, USA, 28, 0)
Sam BROTHERTON (Sunderland FC, England, 9, 0)
Kip COLVEY (San Jose Earthquakes FC, USA, 12, 0)
Tom DOYLE (Wellington Phoenix FC, 7, 0)
Andrew DURANTE (Wellington Phoenix FC, 21, 0)
Dane INGHAM (Brisbane Roar FC, Australia, 4, 0)
Winston REID (West Ham United FC, England, 21, 1)
Themi TZIMOPOULOS (PAS Giannina FC, Greece, 13, 1)
Deklan WYNNE (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada, 13, 0)

Midfielders
Michael McGLINCHEY (Wellington Phoenix FC, 49, 5)
James MUSA (Sporting Kansas City FC, USA 3, 0)
Moses DYER (Eastern Suburbs AFC, 10, 0)
Marco ROJAS (SC Heerenveen FC, Netherlands, 37, 5)
Bill TUILOMA (Portland Timbers FC, USA, 21, 0)
Ryan THOMAS (PEC Zwolle FC, Netherlands, 15, 3)

Forwards
Monty PATTERSON (Ipswich Town FC, England, 15, 1)
Kosta BARBAROUSES (Melbourne Victory FC, Australia, 44, 4)
Myer BEVAN (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada, 2, 1)
Shane SMELTZ (Borneo FC, Indonesia, 57, 24)
Chris WOOD (Burnley FC, England, 53, 23)

Japan Roster (Club/Country)

Goalkeepers
KAWASHIMA Eiji (Football Club de Metz/France)
HIGASHIGUCHI Masaaki (Gamba Osaka/Japan)
NAKAMURA Kosuke (Kashiwa Reysol/Japan)

Defenders
NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Internazionale Milano/Italy)
MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Red Diamonds/Japan)
YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC/England)
SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille/France)
SAKAI Gotoku (Hamburger Sport-Verein/Germany)
KURUMAYA Shintaro (Kawasaki Frontale/Japan)
SHOJI Gen (Kashima Antlers/Japan)
UEDA Naomichi (Kashima Antlers/Japan)

Midfielders
KURATA Shu (Gamba Osaka/Japan)
KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund/Germany)
YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka/Japan)
KOBAYASHI Yuki (SC Heerenveen/Netherlands)
ENDO Wataru (Urawa Red Diamonds/Japan)
IDEGUCHI Yosuke (Gamba Osaka/Japan)

Forwards
INUI Takashi (SD Eibar/Spain)
OSAKO Yuya (1.FC Koeln/Germany)
HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin/Germany)
MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05/Germany)
SUGIMOTO Kenyu (Cerezo Osaka/Japan)
KUBO Yuya (KAA Gent/Belgium)
ASANO Takuma (VfB Stuttgart/Germany)

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