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Official: USMNT to play New Zealand in October friendly

Geoff Cameron USMNT Guatemala 24

Previous reports linked the U.S. Men’s National Team to an October friendly with Ghana, but after some difficulties, it appears a new opponent has been locked down for a match at RFK Stadium.

U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday that the USMNT will play a friendly against New Zealand on October 11 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Post, an agreement has been in place for the USMNT to host a match at RFK Stadium for some time now, the opponent was left up in the air as complications with Ghana’s scheduling prevented the USSF from setting up a match with their first-choice opponents.

National Teams are allowed to play friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers during the same international breaks, but only within a travel time of 5 hours and two time zones to reduce the burden on players and their clubs. Ghana attempted to file a waiver with FIFA, but the bid was rejected.

Instead, the USMNT will play New Zealand. The two teams have met only twice before with the United States winning each match. New Zealand is currently placed 93rd in FIFA’s international rankings. The All-Whites have yet to lose a match in 2016 and their last defeat dates back to March 31st, 2015, a 1-0 loss in South Korea. Prior to their match against the U.S., New Zealand will play Mexico in Nashville, Tennessee on October 8th before returning to World Cup Qualifying in November with two matches against New Caledonia.

The USMNT will play Cuba in Havana on October 7th as their lead in to the New Zealand match.

Jurgen Klinsmann will have to make his selections carefully, however, as MLS does not stop play during international breaks and has four matches scheduled during the window. This raises questions over the selection of players such as Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Jordan Morris, Chris Wondolowski and Jermaine Jones, each of whom would be scheduled for MLS play. Additionally, the USMNT will have World Cup Qualifiers in September and then again, if they advance, in November.

What do you think of the report? What do you expect from the USMNT against New Zealand?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Anyone ever wonder if there is a win percentage clause in JK’s contract? That’s what I think about when I see NZ or Cuba match ups.

    • I have no first hand knowledge on the topic and rarely care about the scheduling, but since you appear to be disappointed given the options out there: Please let us know who was available and which of those opponents you would have preferred.

      • Yea, I really don’t understand the baseless statements but I’d like to give him the benefit of doubt. My follow up, should he respond, (which he won’t) is how he’s acquire this inside information (which he hasn’t).

      • I guess I’m the only one who speculates about a win percentage clause in Klinsmann’s contract.

        What countries were available? You will have to do your own homework.

      • Watertown its already been done see below.

        Here is a list of friendly opponents the US has played since the World Cup before these two matches which I explain in my post below. Czech Republic(34), Ecuador(17), Honduras(84), Colombia(3), Ireland(31), Chile(5), Panama(69), Denmark(44), Switzerland(18), Mexico(14), Netherlands(26), Germany(4), Guatemala(82), Peru(33), Brazil(9), Costa Rica(21), Iceland(23), Canada(100), PR(114), Ecuador(17), Bolivia(110)

        That’s hardly a list that supports your conspiracy theory. Half of the matches vs teams ranked in the top 25 in the world, 15 out of 21 against the top 44.

      • I guess I’m the only one who speculates about a win percentage clause in Klinsmann’s contract.

        What countries were available? You will have to do your own homework.

        Wrong. If you’re going to make accusations the burden of proof is on you. Of course, you’ve just admitted said accusations are completely baseless so either you’re trolling, lazy or both.

    • Every South American, and European team has two qualifying matches during this window. As do any Asian team still alive for Russia 2018. All African teams still in the running have matches around October 3 which means they would all fall under the too far of flight rule that Ghana is under. That would leave CONCACAF or OFC opponents, the Cuba match is for political reasons everyone can agree on that (even though I believe we played a qualifier in Havana in 2009) and so we could either play another CONCACAF team again or play NZ who is already in country to play Mexico. Not everything needs to be a conspiracy theory.

      • Not taking into account these sides may already have other matches scheduled, here are the highest available teams.

        #75 Guinea-Bissau
        #79 Jordan
        #85-88 Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Kenya
        #90& 92 Botswana, Liberia,
        T. #93 New Zealand

        Yes, there are 5 Concacaf opponents rated above Guinea-B, but they are also the probable Hex opponents and all teams we’ve faced since June 2015. There are four others above NZ, Honduras, Guatemala, St. Kitts, and Antigua.

        Most of those African sides don’t play friendlies especially any outside the continent.

      • Appreciate you finding the information as I didn’t have bandwidth. Looks like the data doesn’t match my thoughts.

        Not all questions are conspiracy theories.

  2. @Lost, i agree that this allows us to see some of those fringe players you just named but i don’t think we’ll start to see the likes of Lleget and Villafana until Camp Cupcake in January. Jurgen rarely introduces new players outside of that annual camp and its hard to see this time being any different no matter how many calls there are for these guys to be brought in. By the way, I hope i’m wrong because i do think the both of them could help the Nats out right now but you never know, Jurgen can be pretty unpredictable!

    • Villafana doesn’t qualify for Camp Cup Cake. The Mexican League starts their pre-season in January so Villafana cannot be called up unless his club team allows it, which they only due if they don’t plan to use the player or are shopping them. We could see Gooch as an option as well since the top European league don’t tend to take winter breaks.
      Since both opponents are fairly weak these games are a prime opportunity to look at players with little to no international experience. Similar to what the coaches did with the Match in May against Puerto Rico where Arriloa received his first Cap, Lichaj was brought in for the 1st time in 2 yrs, Hyndman & Miazga got their 2nd caps, and Green was brought back in after a year + away from the national team.
      This is a perfect time to look at players since it is a FIFA Date and is between the 2 stages of the CONCACAF qualification process.

    • Lletget has scored two goals in his last 26 MLS matches including the playoff game last year. There is no way he should be called in before January if even then. Once MLS teams got some film on him he has done little to nothing. I didn’t even count games he played less than 10 minutes.

  3. quite the international slate lined up for us in October… Cuba AND New Zealand?!? Someone pinch me… Pretty pointless. No one with more than 20 caps should be called for these friendlies.

    • With the change of opponent it actually creates an opportunity for more young and/or fringe players to be selected and evaluated. There is no longer any reason to bring aging players like Jones, Dempsey, Howard, Cameron, Bedoya, Zusi, etc… creating a perfect opportunity to field a good portion of what would have been the Olympic Team giving them a bit more international experience. We’ll now have 2 matches to look at….
      Horvath, Yedlin, Brooks, Miazga, Villafana, Kitchen, Hyndman, Nagbe, Pulisic, Green, Arriola Bench: Boyd/Johannsson, Zardes, Zelalem, Lleget, Williams/Morales, CCV, Hamid

      • Howard has been playing well. Goalkeepers don’t age the same as field players. Many keepers are still outstanding over 40 like Zoff, Zenga, Buffone, etc. Guzan is also in a dodgy situation with ‘boro because he is either their 2nd or 3rd string keeper at the moment. At minimum Timmeh has to be above Guzan in the pecking order.

    • Limited options in terms of opposition. Most confederations are running World Cup Qualifiers during the October break and are subject to the same 5 hour, 2 time zone rules that prevented Ghana. Personally expect most MLS guys in action that break to stay with their teams.

  4. According to the Washington Post, the USMNT will play a friendly against New Zealand on October 11 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

    Why? Why? Why? The fans in D.C. are great (and deserve a new stadium asap) but that rat infested landfill shouldn’t be home to any national team games. It’s embarrassing, looks bad on TV and…is embarrassing.

    • @Old, truer words couldn’t be spoken, i’m from DC(SE to be exact) but live in Silver Spring now and Its time for RFK to come tumbling down. I go to a lot of United games and probably every friendly the US plays there and its incomprehensible that stadium still stands. I will say this though, there is not a better image than seeing the lower-middle bowl portion of the stadium rocking up and down when the fans get to jumping and singing all of the DC United and US chants!

      • I will say this though, there is not a better image than seeing the lower-middle bowl portion of the stadium rocking up and down when the fans get to jumping and singing all of the DC United and US chants!

        Complete agree. The downside is when they pan up and the entire upper bowl is empty or they switch camera views and the other side of the stadium is barren. It just looks bad on TV from that standpoint.

      • Never been there for a proper football match, only concerts. It’s primitive, BUT the stands are really close to the pitch and it is loud (i’ve heard). It could have been a bigger Columbus for us, but my guess is that it probably fell out of favor since the WCQs there in 97 and 2001 were quasi home games for our opponents.

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