The United States Men’s National Team are going where they’ve never gone before. Today, U.S. Soccer announced that the team will play Northern Ireland in a friendly at National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast on Sunday, March 28th. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00pm ET and will be broadcast on Fox, UniMas, and TUDN.
It’s the first time in USMNT that they have faced Northern Ireland since August 1948. The Northern Irish, ranked 45th in the current FIFA World Rankings, will sandwich this game between two World Cup qualifiers they have in March, on the road against Italy on March 25th and at home against Bulgaria on March 31st. It will be the second time the USMNT has faced one of the 4 nations of the United Kingdom in 4 months, as they faced Wales back in November. The match will be played under the UEFA Return to Play Protocol and will be played without fans in attendance. The USMNT is also working on a second match during the window.
It’s expected that USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter will call in a full squad with domestic and European based players. MLS teams will be in the middle of their preseason, and with the current quarantine and travel restrictions several countries have because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unclear if MLS-based players would have to quarantine on either side of the window to play in this match. Still, Berhalter is looking forward to the opportunity to work with a full group of players.
“This is a good opportunity to work with our full group before the Nations League Final Four in June,” Berhalter said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. “We’ve been excited about the progress our players continue to make with their clubs, and now we have another chance to strengthen our group ahead of the start of World Cup qualifying later this year. Northern Ireland is a very competitive team and brings a different set of challenges in the way they play. We look forward to a great experience.”
Our March schedule is taking shape!— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) February 9, 2021
The #USMNT will face @NorthernIreland on March 28 at Windsor Park in Belfast.
U.S. Soccer is continuing the effort to secure a second match in Europe during next month's international window.
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