US men's soccer to play at Northern Ireland on March 28

February 9

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. men’s soccer team will play 45th-ranked Northern Ireland in an exhibition at Belfast’s Windsor Park on March 28 in the second of two matches planned for the FIFA fixture window.

The U.S. Soccer Federation also is planning to play a friendly in Europe on March 25.

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the match will be played in a stadium without fans, the USSF said Tuesday.

Because the games are during a FIFA window, most Europe-based U.S. players are likely to be available.

The 22nd-ranked U.S. has played just four times in the past year due to the pandemic: a 0-0 draw at Wales on Nov. 12 followed four days later with a 6-2 win over Panama at Wiener Neustadt, Austria, both with the full player pool; followed by a 6-0 victory over El Salvador and a 7-0 rout of Trinidad and Tobago, mostly with players from Major League Soccer.

The U.S. is preparing for a match from May 31-June 8 against Honduras in a semifinal of the CONCACAF Nations League followed by a championship or third-place game against Mexico or Costa Rica. The CONCACAF Gold Cup starts July 2 and includes first-round matches against Canada, Martinique and either Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala or Guyana.

The delayed start of World Cup qualifying from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 includes a match at El Salvador or Trinidad and Tobago, a home game that could be against Canada or Haiti, and a road game at Honduras.

October includes home qualifiers against Jamaica and Costa Rica around a road qualifier at Guatemala or Panama, and November has a home qualifier against Mexico and a road qualifier at Jamaica.

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