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USMNT to face Belgium in closed-door World Cup tune-up in Brazil

Clint Dempsey

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The U.S. Men’s National Team will have one final warm-up game before facing Ghana in the World Cup on June 16.

As first reported by a number of outlets on Thursday and confirmed on Friday on FIFA’s website, the USMNT will take on Belgium in a closed-door friendly match on June 12 on the training grounds of Sao Paulo FC, where the USMNT are based during the World Cup.

“It will be a kind of training session for each side,” a spokesperson for the Belgian football federation said.

A spokesperson for U.S. Soccer confirmed the news but said because of the closed-door nature of the friendly, the score will not be reported.

The USMNT and Belgium have faced each other twice in the last three years. Belgium hosted the U.S. in a 1-0 victory for the Red Devils on September 6, 2011, and the USMNT fell to Belgium, 4-2, in Cleveland, Ohio on May 29, 2013.


What do you think of this news? Do you think this is a good test for the USMNT so close to the Ghana match?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Haha, thanks FRANK. I could be way off base, but I suspect there is a fake FRANK floating around on here every now and then. It’s basically an assumption, and there may or may not be an impostor, but you are clearly the original.

  2. Isn’t the Belgium match after the 23 man roster has been announced?
    That means some of the players in the starting IX’s above won’t be there.

    • Murray,

      That would be a tragedy.

      “some of the players in the starting IX’s above won’t be there.”

      Why don’t you save those line ups and e mail them to JK so he can use them as a guide.
      Maybe they can fly in the guys who are cut just for the scrimmage as a concession to the powerful SBI lobby.

  3. makes sense. keep it closed door so it’s nothing more than a glorified, high-level training session. if we happen to place 2nd in the group, chances are we will play Belgium in the Round of 16.

  4. This may sound rather dumb but is this too many warm ups? Remember we had all those friendlies prior to qualifying and kinda seemed like the players were burned out by the time the real games started. Is like boxing where you can over train?

    • They play 4 games in 20 days, from 27 May until the first game on 16 June. That’s a game every 5 days, which doesn’t seem too strenuous for pros. Also, a lot of our guys (MLS) should be at their peak, not just finishing up a 9-month season. I think that helped us in Japan/Korea in 2002. Portugal just looked gassed in that game. Still brings a smile to my face thinking of that night…

      • if you include the group games, they’ll be playing 7 games in 31 days, which is closer to a game every 4 days, for a month. that can be taxing, and that’s if we don’t advance to the next round.

        the obvious counterpoint is that since most of these are friendlies, they won’t all feature the same players, and shouldn’t be quite as intense.

      • Agreed. I doubt any starting players get more than 45′ in that final scrimmage against Belgium, and I’m sure there will be plenty of lineup changes and subs in the three friendlies.

    • I thought the same thing, but I imagine they will be less physical than other games and there will obviously be much more substituting. I doubt it’s a regular 11 going 75+ each game with a handful of subs coming in.

  5. Who would you start in the scrimmage against Belgium?


    • At least 4 of those players will not be in Brazil

      If your putting together a back up team then maybe:

  6. Isn’! that game too close the Ghana game? I would think the risk of injury is pretty high. What if Bradley gets injured? It’s happened before. Can Klinsmann alter the roster at that late date? I question the wisdom.

    • That was my first thought as well, but JK must be balancing it against the risk of going into the must-win Ghana game ice cold (not having played in 10 days) and crumbling. We gave up a goal in the first 15 minutes in three of the four games we played in WC 2010, twice in the first 5 minutes. Be a shame if our WC were over by the halftime of the first game.

      Anything can happen, but I doubt there will be too many two-footed tackles, and if our central defenders get torched a couple of times it will be a good wake-up call.

      I think he can pull someone else in from the 30 if there’s an injury, but if Bradley gets hurt we’re screwed no matter what.

    • Birgit,

      “I question the wisdom.” That’s obvious but strange. I didn’t think you associated the word wisdom with anything JK did.

      Mikey sprained his ankle in the warm up to the Costa Rica game and could not play.

      How do you propose to prevent that?

      Any of the starters could fall down the stairs walking into the stadium before the Ghana game. Timmy could throw out his back making saves during the warm ups. Besler could hit his head on the goalposts during warm ups. The Zeppelin that they will flying to Brazil could run into harsh weather.

      It is a tough world we live in fraught with danger and adventure. Learn to deal with it or just stay in your living room and wait and worry about the cyclone that might rip your house apart or the tsunami that might flood it or the sinkhole that might open up under it..

      • Injuries that are caused by the individual players themselves are exactly the risk I am talking about. But outside of that there may be a motivation by the other team to injure a player so that the US team is not as strong. Motivations in soccer are sometimes hard to come by. There is betting. Not all opponents are pure as the driven snow.

      • Birgit,

        Your insights are very much lacking in acuity. That is what happens when your basic premise is “How can I use this to make JK look bad?” You are squeezing the facts to fit your theory rather than the other way around. Be patient, JK will give you plenty of material later on for more credible if still utterly loopy and biased criticism.

        Belgium, with much greater expectations than the US, has more to lose to potential injuries than does the US.

        Did it ever occur to you that maybe the US has been hired to take out some specific Belgian players, even though I’m betting guys like Hazard see few if any minutes. After all the USMNT players make a LOT less dinero than these well heeled chicken guzzlers.

      • Well, not having to worry about MLS players being tempted because they receive paychecks in a timely manner is a potential silver lining. USA!

      • I hope the US National team wins all the games. I hope they win the World Cup. I do not look for anything that manes JK look bad. But I have been around a lot longer than most commenters, and I am just wondering aloud.

      • ” I am just wondering aloud.”

        Like that is a good excuse for inane thinking?

        I sometimes wonder if Aliens have rigged the World Cup and use it as an excuse to distract and manipulate a world that is under control from another galaxy.

        Sepp Blatter is obviously an alien supervisor.

        That is what I wonder. I doesn’t mean I would subject the rest of the world to such a stupid thought.

    • You can’t proceed with the fear of injury. Injuries can happen at anytime. You must stick to your preparation plan and cross your fingers.

  7. Today’s philosophy questions: if a scrimmage happens but there are no SBI readers there to see it, does it still create a firestorm of comment?

  8. it’s great that we’re playing belgium, but if we can’t see it, then how will klinsmann know who to start in the cup?

  9. Did anyone see the 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime the other night? They did a special on JK/USMNT working towards Brazil. In one scene it showed JK talking to the coaching staff as he was standing in front of a dry erase board and this game was written on it. Also listed all the other teams in the group and their plans.

  10. Great competition for the USA to prepare for the World Cup, but just hope it doesn’t give them tired legs before their group stage games which will already be played very close together. They are already having camp and 3 send-off games along with Belgium.

  11. Remember, Herb Brooks scheduled a warm up game against the USSR 3 days before the Olympics started in 1980 and we got blown out 10-3…
    How’d that work out comrades???

  12. That photo reminds me of how much I love those centennial jerseys. And how much better they are than the new “Russian flag” model.

    • +1 glad i stocked up while they were available.

      Should have gone with 1 red one 1 navy blue and 1 white one (like demps is wearing). Idk anybody buying that junk they came out with this time.

      • The nice thing about the new jerseys is that for the first time we can by a USA jersey that is orange.

  13. We could play Brazil and lose 5 – 0 and I’d be okay with it.
    This game means absolutely nothing.
    Can’t complain about having more time on the field with each other before the real dance begins.

      • Ok, let me practice now.

        “Oh no! We lost 3-0 to Belgium in this scrimmage! We are doomed in our group, and if by some miracle we get out of the group, we are going to have to play the SAME Belgium team in our R16 game who just destroyed us today! The sky is falling!”

        That sound about right?

      • And Altidore missed a sitter and Donovan is so old he will probably need a walker on the field.

      • This. No rant is complete without a reference to Altidore—but next time, please remember to use one of those oh-so-clever twists on his name: Antiscore, Out-the-door, etc.

      • Or:

        “Chandler played fine agaisnt Belgium down in cool and breezy Sao Paulo, but he will melt in Manaus—I’m sure you haven’t been reminded of this recently, but remember how much he suffered in Honduras!”

      • or ” Chandler may not be able to handle the long flight from Sao Paulo to Manaus anyway, just leave him for the Germany game”

      • What? It is nothing like that MidWestRef, Every one of the 5 goals Brazil scored was because of Chandler. Really, do you think Brazil would have scored a single goal if Beasley or Parkhurst were playing instead of the bum Chandler?

        But that proved it, Chandler, even though he made the 23, will not see a minute playing time in Brazil.

      • funny you mentioned adu, i ran into him last night in DC behind the Washington Nationals stadium at a food truck party! Seemed to be in good spirits and he looked in shape as well!

    • Klinsi is a German spy. Always has been. His master plan to be in the same group as Germany and to play potential opponents for Germany is coming to fruition. Why else would he have so many Germans on the USMNT?

  14. Australia in 2010 was a full friendly, not a scrimmage.

    This match won’t be because it’s the day the tourney starts, and I don’t think FIFA is sanctioning a friendly during the opening of the tournament proper.

      • If I remember correctly each nat’l team did a televised friendly in SA to drum up support, provide locals the chance to see a game, etc.

        Not needed in Brazil. This is a scrimmage, all 23 players will play, and who cares about the result. Good to keep the legs fresh and play against some top tier competition.

    • “Closed door” is really just a definition, meaning it’s not an official friendly. USSF requires non-US teams to pay them a fee for friendlies played in the US, except for “closed door” matches. The USSF definition of “closed door” includes no spectators & no TV. Brazil’s rules could be different or USSF may be able to tape delay the match without an issue.

    • I had the same initial reaction. Klinsi must be counting on finishing top of Group G to face 2nd Place H (Russia)!
      In all seriousness, I think Belgium is not as deep as Germany, but they are certainly a high tempo attacking side that will be a good test of where the US are at that moment. Fine tuning and reps at a high level will be needed expecially in the defensive part of the game.

    • Nah. Closed doors or not, I’m pretty sure there will be more atmosphere at this than there was in Cleveland.


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