The U.S. Men’s National Team will open 2016 at the StubHub Center. Not with one friendly, but with two.
U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday that the U.S. will hold its annual January camp next month in Carson, California, and conclude it with a pair of home friendlies against Iceland and Canada. The Americans will play Iceland on Jan. 31 before welcoming Canada on Feb. 5.
“Iceland is one of the up-and-coming soccer nations in Europe,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a team-issued statement. “They have been really impressive in qualifying for the European Championship for the first time, and they have earned huge compliments for their youth player development. Their players are now spread across the big leagues in Europe.
“As we know from our past meetings, Canada is a difficult opponent that is not easy to break down. It’s a good experience to play against them, particularly for some of our younger players. They started off on the right foot in World Cup qualifying, having won at home and picking up a point on the road in El Salvador, so this will be a good challenge.”
The U.S. is 2-2-2 all-time against Iceland, but this January friendly will be the nations’ first meeting in more than 20 years. The Americans have played Canada 32 times in their long history, and have not lost to the northern neighbor in 35 years.
Klinsmann will summon mostly MLS-based players to this camp, though he will mix both fringe senior team players and U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team regulars. The camp and friendlies will help the two groups prepare for World Cup qualifying and Olympic qualifying, respectively.
What do you think of the USMNT scheduling Iceland and Canada for friendlies at the StubHub Center? Would you have preferred to see different opponents or a different venue? Which players are you hoping get called in?
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