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USMNT to face Brazil, England, Mexico as part of six-match friendly slate to close 2018


It’s now official: the U.S. Men’s National Team will face at least four heavyweights in a series of post-World Cup friendlies.

U.S. Soccer confirmed that the USMNT will face Brazil, England, Italy and Mexico as part of a six-match “Kickoff Series” featuring two opponents yet to be named. The U.S. will begin that series against Brazil on Sept. 7 in East Rutherford, N.J. before facing Mexico four days later in Nashville. In November, the U.S. will visit Wembley Stadium to face England on Nov. 15 before taking on Italy on Nov. 20 at a yet-to-be-determined location.

Sandwiched between those matches will be a pair of October friendlies with details to be confirmed at a later date. Multiple reports have identified Argentina and Colombia as the potential opponents for the October friendlies.

“We are at the beginning phase of building our identity,” U.S. Men’s National Team General Manager Earnie Stewart said. “These games are obviously huge challenges, and for young players it’s an opportunity to see the benchmark of some of the top teams in the world. We can use these experiences to learn about ourselves and take the next steps towards developing into the team we want to become.”

The U.S. most recently concluded a three-match friendly set featuring a win over Bolivia, a loss to Ireland and tie with France.


  1. What people (fans) need to take into consideration is that whomever the new coach is they will want to test/evaluate the entire player pool. We’re not going to be seeing a squad of ALL young, inexperienced players….What we will see is a mixture of Veterans & Youth. Expect to see the return of Bradley, Jozy, Cameron, Yedlin, Brooks, Fabian, etc. to be provide the benchmark/backbone for the young guns (McKennie, Robinson, Miazga, Adams, etc….).
    Expect to see the veterans start each game, than a rotation of youth being subbed in.
    Expect to see a conservative formation/style to start as the new coach determines what the level of the players are…..than by Game 4-6 they’ll hopefully have a feel for the players and be able to find a more balanced approach.

    The new coach is going to want to see who’s ready to contribute right now, who the prospects are, and who are more of project players.

  2. When you play teams that have players demonstrably less talented than yours, you learn very little about your own players in general. OTOH, sometimes if a players is given some time and space, he shows you how good he isn’t, since in those kinds of games your players should be able to take chances and get forward successfully.

    I think when you play teams with better players than yours, you learn which players have the courage to step up and which players hide or try to make every play a one-touch pass to avoid being challenged.

    In neither of those cases, however do you learn which players can support each other and combine effectively, for that I think you need games against more equally talented players. That is also true if you want to implement a “system of play”. Too weak competition and your plan will seem to work; too strong and your system will seem to fail (even if it is the best fit to the players).

    So given my biases I would say that we will likely face some these teams that bring their A teams and we will see which players compete and which disappear, some teams that will bring their B or younger squads with talent more equal to the US and in those games we might get to see what the new coach really means when he talks about style of play or tactics and if he can implement it. If/when we face weaker teams, we might see which players can face more physical challenges successfully and some US player will score multiple goals causing some to call him the new Freddy Adu, Eddie Johnson or Juan Agudelo.,

  3. There are rumors of Matías Almeyda being in consideration since Osorio will most likely veer towards the Columbia job post World Cup. Almeyda would be a great pick as you can see what he has done at Chivas with very little resources and support from the top.

  4. I would feel a lot better about this schedule if we already had a permanent coach. I sure hope Stewart has at least 3 top candidates he is prepared to offer the job to. I hope we get a top coach and not this has to be an American meme I have seen some pushing. And we need to get someone sooner rather than later.

  5. Is a non coaching executive saying “we are building our identity” — before hiring any coach — the soccer equivalent of corporate mission statements? Maybe it’s I went through a few iterations of this after the Dynamo fired Kinnear. Took a year and a half after they voiced that goal to consistently play in any given way. Two years and three coaches to find a competitive system. Kind of marketing talk.

  6. ““We are at the beginning phase of building our identity,” U.S. Men’s National Team General Manager Earnie Stewart said.” i like what ernie said. it’s a good sign.

    • Content free tautology, unless they know the guy and how we will play, what is the identity, does the coach suit it, does the GM pick it, does the coach pick it, can we actually play it against the buzzsaw schedule, etc etc etc You want me to take identity seriously, announce what it is. But then they haven’t hired the coach. Kind of a mess. Should really just schedule the games and then talk identity when we have a coach hired to do something about it.

  7. I’ve already been a broken record re the level of competition, that I don’t think it’s wise for player evaluation or system implementation. Put differently, that if you didn’t like the way we played France, you may see more of the same. For good or ill. But I won’t belabor that point.

    My new beef would be I think it’s a waste of time to play Brazil on a rolled out sod field at NY. The ball doesn’t play naturally and I think the games are somewhat farcical.

    • As a USSF-licensed coach who’s put together more teams than I can remember, I can tell you it is always, ALWAYS better to put your kids in as far over their heads as you can manage when you’re building a group. It separates the wheat from the chaff and the sheep from the goats real quick, and you get realistic benchmarks about where exactly your squad is. As far as your team goes, the more familiarity they get with their opponents, the less fear of them they have, and the more dialed-up to the level they get.

      Also, keep in mind, all these teams are going to be blooding a bunch of young players themselves…it’s going to be the time right AFTER the World Cup and I’d say we’ll see “B-” squads with a handful of regulars at best…our own youth will invite that approach. Whereas France was playing their “A+” squad that was fine-tuning themselves for the Cup…and we were in France’s big national stadium to boot. Not going to be nearly the same for these friendlies.

      • i hope you’re right, quozzel about the other teams fielding b squads. yeesh!

      • The coach until he plays the game cannot assume England A vs England B or C, and so forth for each match. I think that sounds nice in retrospect but we really don’t know anything til we both show up. All he sees on the schedule is England, and he has to start calling people in, game planning, etc., likely before he sees their call sheet. Even once he sees their callups, he will be faced with the question of “implement system” versus “play for result,” which the better the opponent, the more likely you are to get cynical and perhaps depart from your notion of where you want this to head. Or if you decide to play your system, it’s at risk to evaluation, results, confidence. But the key thing to me is we won’t know if we have your more rosy scenario until close to game day, and even assuming, wouldn’t know how to calibrate what we have gotten into until the whistle and we’ve played a half hour. I think that sounds better in theory than it is in reality.

      • I think this makes the JK fallacy of preparing for the world cup and not qualifying, which at a basic level was disproven this cycle. I also think that while players can be marginally pushed while playing in system, and grow, at a certain point what you get is negative, over-simplified soccer as the system. You hold on and see what happens. France.

        To be fair, maybe you could implement a France Game style defend and counter system, perhaps, and then subject it to routine duress for 6 games. But for those suggesting a more offensive system, this is a buzzsaw schedule.

      • If we really want to separate the wheat from the chafe, we should play some away friendlies in Central America. That is where previous generations of players have failed the most consistently.

      • Quozzel, I can’t speak for Mexico or Brazil, but I’d venture to guess that since these friendlies are in the same window as UEFA Nations League dates, both England and Italy should have close to full squads…whether they choose to start their best 11 remains to be seen. Heck, we might get the Buffon send-off game if they have an actual formal one for him.

    • I think I saw you describe this once as a ‘murderers row’ of friendlies and couldn’t agree more. I’m not sure this is the best way to develop a new very young team and brand new coach. I’d rather this than 6 minnows, but feel there could be better balance achieved here. By all means play A few games of the best competition you can find. I’d like to see us mix at least 2 opponents that are closer to our level though. How much of a system can we implement if we are pinned back in every game. Can we develop an attacking identity in this game or will we be forced to defend for our lives? There will surely be a lesson in humility in here which Can be good, but some confidence wouldn’t hurt either. I feel we are throwing very young players and their new coach into the fire and hoping they come out the other side stronger. We’ll see I guess


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