The U.S. Men’s National Team will begin 2020 training on the other side of the world, but will play its first match of the new year in a familiar locale against a familiar opponent.
The USMNT will take on Costa Rica on February 1 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The friendly will take place after the USMNT finishes its January camp in Doha, Qatar, where the team will hold camp from January 5-25 at the Aspire Academy before returning to Los Angeles ahead of the Costa Rica friendly.
“The chance to play against a likely World Cup qualifying opponent is fantastic,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “As we continue to develop, it’s important to challenge our group against a variety of different opponents. At the end of a January Camp, we want the players to have a chance to put all the work to the test.”
Playing the opening match of the year at the stadium formerly known as StubHub Center and Home Depot Center is nothing new for the USMNT, but holding training camp in Qatar is a break from tradition.
“Our priority is to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, so it’s certainly a big benefit to get a head start on experiencing the facilities, environment and culture of the tournament hosts,” Berhalter said.
The USMNT has a very busy year ahead in 2020, with Concacaf Nations League resuming in June before World Cup qualifying kicks off in the fall. The Americans will also gather their full-strength team for the first time in March, when they play friendlies in Europe, the first of which will be against the Netherlands on March 26.