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U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT announces friendly vs. Belgium in Cleveland on May 29th

Brek Shea, Marouane Fellaini

By IVES GALARCEP

The U.S. Men’s National team will face a very busy summer, with World Cup qualifiers in June and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July. Now the team has set-up the first tough warm-up test leading up to that busy week.

U.S. Soccer made official the long-rumored friendly against Belgium on Thursday. The Americans will take on the Belgians on May 29th in Cleveland.

“Belgium is definitely a team on the rise,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “If you look at their roster, they have quality players from top to bottom who are on some of the biggest clubs in Europe. It’s a big opportunity for us and a great way to start the summer as we prepare for the World Cup qualifiers.”

The match will the first of a long stretch of matches that will also likely include a friendly vs. Germany in the same week, and then three World Cup qualifiers in June.

The friendly is a rematch of a 1-0 Belgium win over the U.S. in Brussels on Sept. 6th, 2011,  Jurgen Klinsmann’s third match as U.S. head coach.

67 comments
  • fifawitz1313

    Does anyone else think something doesn’t look right w/ Brek Shea in that picture?

    Like

  • Al17

    This is a GREAT match up for us. Definitely on the mark in Belgium being a young up and coming side. Sounds like a Memorial Day weekend road trip for me.

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    • elgringorico

      Depends how you define great matchup. Belgium has a really strong squad that will trounce us with our current form. But still good nonetheless

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      • Josh D

        They didn’t trounce us last time when people though they would. Belgium is an extremely strong side and barring injuries, should be a dark horse for 2014. They are finally bringing everything together.

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  • Lorenzo

    Happy for Cleveland. It will be good when (someday) Cleveland has a soccer team (again). Supportive sports town/state. Great counterpart for Columbus.

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    • Ed

      Well, we do have a soccer team in the NPSL. The team is AFC Cleveland, currently the Great Lakes Division champions.

      You’re welcome to join 6th City Syndicate – we are the supporters group for AFC Cleveland.

      Like

    • James

      Not winning is not a very strong requirement for a good friendly match. It’s a great test for a team and a good experience playing a superior side on the road.

      Like

  • a

    Cleaveland? really? why? with so many sss in this country you would think they’d put it somewhere else. I hope it will be a good draw would justfy us going to some place like cleaveland.

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      • a

        not bashing the city at all just wondering why with cleveland having zero soccer history… what happend to cleveland city?

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      • Bill

        Cleveland Force Akron just down the road. A HS program with two National Championships. A long history of hosting US Men’s and Women’s NT friendlies.

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      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho

        there are high school national championships?

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      • Lorenzo

        Cleveland Force, Cleveland Crunch, Canton Invadors, Otto Orff, Brad Freidel, Sarkodies, CVCA, Akron Zips, so on.

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      • Burning River

        AFC Cleveland is in the NPSL, a semi-pro league, and I think they won the midwestern championship last year.

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      • Riggity

        Only thing Cleveland is good for is FRIEDEL, and Bone Thugs in Harmony

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    • Burning River

      Cleveland Crunch, Cleveland force = History. The Cleveland City Stars were USL Div 2 National Champions in 2009 (where Martin Rennie and Adam Moffit got their starts). That team was a victim of the whole USL/NASL shake up, but if the powers that be hadnt forced them to move to a larger stadium when they promoted them to USL Div 1 (to take the Sounders place after they went to MLS), the team would still be alive and kicking today. Akron University is 45 min from Cleveland and is a national powerhouse in college soccer, many of their players have come from Cleveland. Considering this and all the professional players that Cleveland has produced, I think it’s a tad ignorant to say Cleveland has no soccer history.

      Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      My first thought was stadium availability but then it’s midweek for MLS, no competition for SSSs if they mind the extra game midseason, and it’s NFL offseason so you could pick from those too, though some might be booked.

      Another thought is it’s kissing up to Lerner, who owns the Browns and Villa, but is a team like that really one to be pal-ing around with?

      Though some have attempted to play up the HS and low-level pro history of Cleveland soccer, I think that actually tends to prove this is more of a stretch.

      After some thought, I decided that it probably was the crossroads of cheap and available among the natural grass venues in the colder half of the country. Pleasant noises will be made about giving Cleveland soccer a push via selection, but you could say that about any venue in the country, and it’ll be somewhere between hopeful and a white lie to say it. It makes little enough sense that it’s probably more like the reasons Nashville and Tampa get business, that the market is small enough and the stadium needy enough to keep costs in check. Cleveland will not charge killer rent and we will not have to draw 70,000 to get out of the red. FWIW, Belgium would probably not be a high profit game anyway. In contrast, the neighboring Germany game will likely be in a serious SSS or football venue.

      Like

      • Ed

        Randy Lerner hasn’t owned the Browns for almost a year now. He sold the team to Jimmy Haslam.

        Like

  • MA1 Rodriguez

    Good. USNT neeeds more friendlies start using new players gain experience and understanding withe each other and the system. I just wish for no Dempsey, Bradley, and Howard for this friendly.

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    • The Imperative Voice

      Though some raised questions about the value of last year’s camp, friendlies, and opening qualis, I actually think this is on the same template. There will be two friendlies at least, then Jamaica away and Panama home. I think there may be a substantial callup of 25-30 players and that may include some fresh faces, but the prime directive will be preparing the A team, particularly offseason Europeans, for the official games.

      I think certain newbies will get a look, but they will be viewed for those games in terms of their role in the bigger picture. In terms of open tryouts, giving lots of PT to see who produces, building experience, that’s going to be the Gold Cup.

      Like

  • Old School

    Belgium’s is loaded with talent. I’ve never had a reason visit Cleveland but this may be worth it.

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    • beto

      should be a great game. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next to stadium is cool too.

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      • Old School

        Noted.

        Canton isn’t that far of a drive, either, right?

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  • beto

    great game to schedule there.. now with 5 games in May-June; Belgium, Germany, @Jamaica, Panama and Honduras, they better show up better than last year. Last year’s summer games vs. Scotland, Brazil, @Canada, Antigua, @Guatemala they looked rather burnt out..

    maybe its a good thing that Dempsey, Shea, Donovan, Howard, Dolo, Boca, etc are all resting/recovering right now.

    Like

  • David

    The Cleveland stadium is huge, holds about 73k if I remember right. I went there for the Venezuela friendly a number of years ago. The downtown area has some fun bars and restaurants to do pre-game preparations. Good atmosphere. As for this game, Belgium has some great talent and will be preparing for a vital WCQ against Serbia on June 7. That should ensure they have all the top players, barring injuries. Klinsmann doesn’t need to overwork our team ahead of the 3 qualifiers, so I’m hoping he spreads a little playing time around to the bench in the second half.

    Like

  • Graceland

    Heard all the negative comments about Cleveland until my job moved me here. I suppose Cleveland is not for everyone but I REALLY like the city. Its got some beautiful architecture (old and new). Great history, really unique walk-able neighborhoods (lot’s of old ethnic neighborhoods that have great charm), some fantastic restaurants. If you come hit the 100-year-old West Side Market. You won’t be disappointed!
    Maybe Cleveland was a good pick as it’s an easy drive from lots of large metros. First Energy stadium has a great downtown location on the Lake. Hopefully there will be a good crowd. A crowd big enough to inspire someone with some money and soccer passion to start a new NASL for USL-Pro team here. Cleveland might not be ready for an MLS investment but maybe in the future.

    Like

  • David M

    Oh, god, this is scary. Are we going to have a repeat of last year’s madness with five games in two weeks and a grueling training camp right after the long European season? I remember how well it all started last May with an easy win over Scotland, and how tired the team looked in the important qualifiers against Antigua and Guatemala. We’ll probably look good against Belgium and will be out of gas when it’s time to play the qualifiers.

    I’m not expecting Klinsmann to learn from his mistakes, but can’t someone in the USSF do something about this? (Of course, if we take no more than 1 point in the next two games, Klinsmann may not be around any more.)

    Like

    • biff

      I was thinking the exact same thing, David M (about the inconsequential friendlies against excellent teams before the truly important WCQ games). I think it might make since to have some some easier tune-ups before the rough games.

      As for JK being fired with one point, my feeling is that with 0 points he wwould be fired. With only 1 point (a tie against Costa Rica and loss against Mexico), I think it would depend on how the team plays, If both games are a repeat of the miserable Honduras performance, then SG might feel Klinsmann has to go before a possible loss in fourth game in Jamaica.

      Like

  • Al DiFranco

    We are thrilled to be having this match in Cleveland! I am an active member of American Outlaws’ Cleveland Chapter and we will be rocking FirstEnergy Stadium. Hope you all will join us!

    Like

  • catfish

    This better not have any negative effect on Columbus getting WCQ vs Mexico in Sept.!!!

    Like

  • Christophe

    I’m belgian and maybe Belgium has a stronger team than USA. But like all the fans in my country, we don’t care in winning this match. For us the most important are WCQ matches and especially the match who will follow vs Serbia on june 7th. I hope Marc Wimots will select a B team and will leave the belgian stars on the bank …

    Like

  • Alex

    Regarding the choice of Cleveland, maybe they are hoping for a large amount of ‘belgian’ supporters, since Michigan (very close to Cleveland) has the most Americans of belgian descent in the USA…

    Like

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