A full-strength United States men’s national team will convene for the first time in 2020 next month when it travels to Wales to take on Gareth Bale’s Dragons Nov. 12 in Swansea, U.S. Soccer announced on Friday.
The federation said it is still working to secure a second game during November’s international window. If successful, that match would be hosted by the U.S. at Craven Cottage in London, multiple sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports. One source indicated that Panama was being lined up after negotiations with Australia and New Zealand fell through. The U.S. and Panama had been hoping to play a pair of friendlies in Colorado last month, sources said.
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter will have his full complement of players — including program headliners Christian Pulisic of Chelsea, Weston McKennie of Juventus and recent Barcelona singing Sergiño Dest — for the first time since beating Cuba in the CONCACAF Nations League last November. A mostly MLS-based U.S. squad beat Costa Rica in February in the Americans’ lone match of this year so far.
It’s unlikely that many, if any, MLS players will be on Berhalter’s roster next month. Those involved in the playoffs won’t be considered; the league expanded its postseason from 14 to 18 teams this year because of the havoc the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked on its schedule. Transatlantic travel and COVID-19 testing requirements upon arrival would limit training time ahead of the Wales match for any North American-based players named to the squad. The MLS regular season ends on Nov. 8.
The U.S. and Wales were originally supposed to meet in March. That game and another planned exhibition against the Netherlands in Amsterdam were canceled shortly after the the health crisis began. The makeup match has been in the works since the summer.
“First and foremost, we are looking forward to getting the group together after such a challenging year,” Berhalter said. “Wales is a quality opponent with high-level players, so it’s a good opportunity to test ourselves.”
Ranked 20th by FIFA, Wales is led by former Real Madrid star Bale and McKennie’s Juve teammate Aaron Ramsey and coached by Manchester United great Ryan Giggs. The match and the training camps that precede it will be played under strict health protocols because of the pandemic, U.S. Soccer said.
The U.S. team will mostly be restricted to its Cardiff-area hotel leading up to the contest, and fans will not be in attendance at Liberty Stadium.
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