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Report: USMNT close to friendly match with Scotland

Landon Donovan


According to a report, the U.S. Men’s National Team could be playing their final FIFA international fixture of 2013 against European opposition.

The Scotland Herald is reporting that the Scottish Football Association and Scotland National Team head coach Gordon Strachan are “close to announcing a home friendly against (the USMNT) at Hampden (Park) in November.” If true, the game would be a rematch between the two sides after meeting in Jacksonville, Florida in May, 2012, a game that the USMNT won, 5-1.

Scotland, already eliminated from the 2014 World Cup, are currently ranked 50th in FIFA’s rankings, having won just one out of seven of their World Cup qualifiers. Despite their ranking, the team features a number of English Premier League based players, including Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland teammate Steven Fletcher, Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, and Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam.

FIFA has designated the dates between Friday, November 15 and Tuesday, November 19 as available days for international matches, meaning that the USMNT could potentially play two games during the international break. In the past, the November friendly date has been like the August friendly, a mid-week fixture with a number of players pulling out due to injury.

In the USMNT’s match against Scotland on May 26, 2012, Landon Donovan scored a hat-trick with Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones chipping in with goals as well in the 5-1 rout.

Hampden Park, where the game is reported to potentially be played, is the national stadium of Scotland, with a capacity of 52,063 in southern Glasgow.


What do you think of this report? Would you like to see the USMNT play Scotland? Do you see the USMNT scheduling more than one European-based friendly match in November?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Marca reporting the US wants to host Spain in November.

    “The sources indicate, however, that the match will only be carried out if Spain finish atop their group in UEFA World Cup qualifying following their group stage finale against Georgia on Oct. 15, and avoid appearing in a two-legged playoff in November to reach next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.”

    • You’ve got all the South Americans not in a playoff with the AFC (Colombia would be a safe choice) and vice versa (Japan, South Korea, Australia would be fun; Iran would be fascinating for a lot of reasons which is why its also probably a bad idea) and several UEFA teams that look sure to qualify (Switzerland look the best comparable team of the lot). Africa has its second leg of the final round, CONCACAF we’ll have played and New Zealand is playing the final CONCACAF team.

  2. While Scotland is already out of the WC-14, look at the quality of their qualifying group: Belgium, Serbia, Croatia, Wales, Macedonia. A far cry from the likes of Panama, Honduras, Jamaica, Cuba, Belize, et al. I’m not at all sure the US would make it out of a group like that.

    • I’m not so sure. Wales and Macedonia are both pretty poor and we should finish ahead of them. Serbia and Panama are ranked next to each other so let’s give the edge to Serbia but not my much. We should finish ahead of them as well, but it will be tight.

      That leaves us Belgium and Croatia. Over the last year our results have been broadly similar to theirs, leaving the shellacking from Belgium out. I’m not saying we would finish ahead of either team (or both) but it would be a dogfight among the three teams.

    • Scotland plans to return the favor. I have been in Scotland in November, it can be OK or real nasty. Brrrrrrrr A training camp in Montreal or Toronto may be in order.
      However as it;s likely to be in the middle of the MLS playoffs, your not going to see a lot of MLS players like Gonzales, Donovan, and now Dempsey et al., on the team

  3. could this be an effort to potentially gather maximum FIFA points on a date we wouldn’t otherwise be playing out of a friendly? doesn’t a win on the road against a team from the highest rated confederation get you more points than a moderately better team from a weaker confederation (Africa). could this potentially help move us into a better pot for seeding down the road?

    • Doubtful. The only way to move to a ‘better’ pot is to get one of eight seeds. We could win every game between now and Brazil, and win big, and we still wouldn’t have a shot at a seed. So our ranking is irrelevant, except as a point of pride.

      • Actually…not true. If the USA wins against both Costa Rica and Mexico, the USA will be sitting at 10th or 11th…and a mere 30 or 40 points out of the seeds for the World Cup.

        The FIFA site actually provides a ranking calculator…jump on and start plugging in numbers. The USA has shot up based on its current hot streak…and if it continues to win the way it has been, the USA actually has a VERY good chance of making that all-valuable top-8.

      • In addition, Greece (currently #11) will actually have a poorer ranking even if they win their next two games, so some teams can only move down between now and Sept. 12th.

        Every team going through WC qualifying will be forced to play minnow teams, and that means very few rank points for the limited opportunity to earn them.

      • But the seeding is not done on those rankings alone. FIFA will arbitrarily decide later if they want to factor in the 2010 World Cup finishes alone or both the 2010 and 2006 WC finishes with the rankings. Then they will throw in some other random crap to give England a 8th seed.

      • You are not going to be seeded in the WC if you have a FIFA top 8 ranking. The WC seeding take into account the previous WC results. The US was ok, getting to the tound of 16, but other teams behind the US have had more success.

        The last time the US was in a position to be seeded in the WC was when Italy won the WC. They gave Italy the US’s seed (8th), as they revamped the way they seeded teams and taking into account previous WC results. At the time the US was seeded 5th or 10th and there were two countries in the top ten and did not qualify for the WC . So the US was in a position under the previous WC ranking protocols to receive a seed. Then they changed the rules!! This was done just previous to the draw and a lot of countries cried foul, but we’ve seen these shenanigans before and we will see them again.

    • Could be… although whether the game is on the road or not makes no difference in the FIFA ranking system. If this is the reason why we’re only playing Scotland, I think it’s a pretty good idea.

      Beating Nigeria (current FIFA rank 32) would give us 433 ranking points. Beating Scotland (current FIFA rank 50) would give us 423 ranking points. So it’s close – you pay the 10 points difference for having the (knock on wood) safe bet of beating Scotland versus potentially blowing it versus Nigeria.

      Getting seeded for the WC is a longshot, but if we win the rest of our qualifiers and can have some help with teams above us dropping points, who knows?

      • Somebody who has played around with the fifa ranking site help me out here though.

        Our 2013 avg value going into bosnia was 648.6.

        Beating bosnia in a friendly gave us 527.34.

        Doesn’t that hurt our 2013 value? What’s the arithmetic that leads to us jumping from a final score of 960 to 1003 as the rankings tool predicts?

      • It probably has more to do with the “forgetting” of results from 4 years ago, which includes losses, which reduce the average. The Bosnia game will still improve our average since we are bound to remove some games from our ranking calculation which were wins or draws, but scaled based on time. So the score of 500 replaces, at best, a score of 100 and at worst a 0. That’s one way to look at it.

      • I have actually done the math. Although our ranking has been going up, (due to our winning streak and Gold Cup wins, as well as the “forgetting of losses” from four years ago), our poor friendly performance in the past two years hurt our rankings and world cup seed chances badly. Getting into the Round of 16 in South Africa helped, but even if the USA won all the rest of their games in 2013 and was ranked #1 in the world, they would not get a seed because FIFA takes into account end of year rankings from 2012 and 2011 (which were bad, like 30+). Even if they got close, FIFA might change the rules to ensure a major power gets a seed. The only sure shot is if USA gets into the QFs in Brazil and then stays in the top 16 in the rankings for the next three years. If we do that, maybe we can be a seeded team for 2018 in Russia.

  4. This is not a bad friendly to line up, assuming Scotland isn’t sunburned and hung over this time like for the friendly in Miami. With European leagues in season the players won’t be whooping it up like their summer vacation in the US, so we could get a game.

    Now, let’s get those other wankers to the south qualified and then the USMNT can play them too in the November window. You all know who I am talking of. Continue what wasn’t settled in Rustenburg.

  5. You guys complaining about the quality of opposition in this game are missing out on a hugely important detail: those FIFA November dates are also the dates of the WC playoff rounds for UEFA, CAF, CONCACAF vs OFC, and AFC vs CONMEBOL. Most of the high-quality opposition we’d love to play will either be booked on those days, or aren’t out of the woods just yet.

    Scotland are already mathematically eliminated from qualifying for the UEFA 2nd round, so we know they’re free. (Oh, and we’re quite confident that we won’t slip from 1st down to 4th!)

  6. I like the idea of having these games in Europe but I would love to see them go against a Switzerland, Russia, or Croatia. I don’t think a game vs Scotland has much value other than us getting a better Strength of confederation number.

    I’d rather them even go to Japan or play S korea, ghana, ivory coast.

  7. Scotland is CONCACAF level opposition at this point… I’d hope the A-team is not trotted out for this, but merely the 2nd/3rd stringers mostly from Europe (there aren’t enough CBs there so Goodson slots in)


  8. How are Scotland so bad with the level of players they have….

    or are the players only getting their chances because they are from the UK

      • That’s true. There are only a few really impressive EPL teams, and another group of like six to eight pretty good teams. After that, it drops off fairly fast. The teams that get relegated each year would have a tough time winning MLS, at least I think so.

      • lol!!!!!!!!

        the teams that get relegated from the Prem have wage budgets of $50 million. They’d have a tough time winning the MLS?!??

        They would coast through MLS.

      • Those teams would have to cut salaries and drop players. Then they would have a tough time winning MLS Cup. LOL right back!

      • Not to mention most of the top Scottish players turn down invites to play for the national team (except when they played England). The Scottish team lately has featured a bunch of English Championship and even League One players.

  9. I would have preferred playing a big South America team in their home stadium (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, or Uruguay). Now that would have been a nice litmus test.

    • This winning streak is making US fans a little too cocky. Despite the omnipotent FIFA rankings, Scotland stacks up pretty well to the US. If they were to swap confederations, the rankings would not stay the same.

      I think it’s a great selection. Europe based players don’t have to travel far, and Scotland is a team that we probably should beat, but will push us in ways CONCACAF teams can’t. Much like at least one game during WQ group stages.

      • Scotland showed well against England, but honestly, I don’t care about the winning streak. I’d rather play Brazil or Spain and get destroyed.

      • I should’ve rephrased that, I want to play teams we will see in the knockout stages of the WC, more teams like B&H, Belgium, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and teams around that caliber. Scotland are not a bad side, but we should always try to play teams that are better than we are IMO.

  10. sure, could be a decent friendly as long as no one gets injured.. still hoping for a USAxGhana friendly sometime.. USSF is really good at returning the favor recently, could we see a USAxFrance game in the states or a US@Germany sometime soon?..

  11. Meh

    Can’t get excited about this one – we used to clobber them back in the days when we were crappy & inconsistent. What’s the point?

    • I’m not too excited about this one either. This fixture may have been pretty much agreed to in 2012 as a “future return match”.

      However, I have no idea what you are talking about unless “we” is not USA or “them” is not Scotland. Historically, it seems balanced. Each side with 1 big win & 1 narrow win — plus a couple of draws. The USA certainly looking the better side since 1996, but the only clobbering we have ever done was last year.

      USA 5:1 (2:1) Scotland
      26/05/2012 Jacksonville Friendly

      Scotland 1:1 (1:1) USA
      12/11/2005 Glasgow Friendly

      USA 0:0 Scotland
      30/05/1998 Washington Dc Friendly

      USA 2:1 (1:1) Scotland
      26/05/1996 New Britain Friendly

      USA 0:1 (0:0) Scotland
      17/05/1992 Denver Friendly

      Scotland 6:0 (4:0) USA
      30/04/1952 Glasgow Friendly


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