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USMNT to face Northern Ireland in March friendly


The first chance to see the U.S. Men’s National Team’s European-based stars in action in 2021 will take place in March, and the first of two expected friendlies has been finalized.

The USMNT will take on Northern Ireland in Belfast on March 28. The match will be played without fans in the stadium.

The match should feature a full-strength U.S. squad, with standouts such as Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Zack Steffen expected to participate if available.

“This is a good opportunity to work with our full group before the Nations League Final Four in June,” Berhalter said. “We’ve been excited about the progress our players continue to make with their clubs, and now we have another chance to strengthen our group ahead of the start of World Cup qualifying later this year. Northern Ireland is a very competitive team and brings a different set of challenges in the way they play.”

U.S. Soccer is still in the process of trying to secure a second opponent during the March FIFA window.

The Americans will face Northern Ireland for the first time since 1948, a match Northern Ireland won 5-0 in Belfast.

The USMNT will bring together a full-strength squad for the first time since the recent November friendlies, a 0-0 draw against Wales and 6-2 win against Panama.

The March friendlies will serve as vital preparation for a busy 2021 that will include the Nations League knockout rounds in June, Concacaf Gold Cup in July and Concacaf World Cup qualifying, which begins in September.


  1. Not sure how the game could be played on March 28 a Sunday that open window extends from Wednesday through Tuesday not enough time to schedule a second game either before or after

    • Northern Ireland is also playing the 25th and 31st so would guess one of those. A lot of UEFA teams are playing the 31st so the window must go through Wednesday.

    • UEFA is playing 3 games that window. Concacaf will be doing so in the coming 2 years. It is different but how they are dealing with the lengthy fixture lists plus modest time to get it all in.

    • you’re not getting NI first team because they will have a WCQ either side of the game. it will be like Wales in November. i do expect even their B side to be more organized and motivated than the winter opponents.

    • They WC Qualifying three days before and three days after. We’ll see their A team backups unless one of their regulars has a card accumulation or gets a red card in the first match.

    • Given the limited number of chances to get our team together, this is going to be our top team, at least out of the Euro based players. Which is basically our top team overall.

      Steffen, Horvath
      Dest, Cannon, Yedlin/Reynolds, Miazga, Brooks, Richards,
      McKenzie/EPB/Ream/CCV, Robinson
      McKennie, Adams,
      Pulisic, Reyna, Green, Musah, Morris, Arriola
      Sargent, Hoppe, Soto/Giocchini (sp?)

      That’s 21, and a third keeper will be 22. So one spot left, maybe bring Jonny Cardoso over from Brazil, or Aaronson, Nova, Johannson, Otawosie or one of those young guys playing in Holland. Maybe have a look at the young kid at Arsenal, although I think he’s not seeing the field because his contract’s up and he won’t renew with the Gunners.

      I’d only call Arriola in if he was getting time with Swansea, but I think Berhalter likes him so I’d count on him being there. And I’m not sure we need a third right back, so Yedlin/Reynolds could be dropped. Dest and Richards can fill in at left back if needed. Also, EPB/Ream/CCV might not be needed.

  2. this will be another B/C or U23 game like Wales because this will be in the middle of a NI WCQ sandwich. is what it is. i’ve heard people grumbling about our schedule but 90% of it is regionally programmed this year ahead of time (NL, WCQ, GC, OQ). we have control over basically one window happening in the middle of (a) a pandemic and (b) European WCQ. if you want to see the Euros play you basically get UEFA leftovers plus Africa, in Europe. if you play here or on another continent it’s MLS. i also think the critical talk forgets what our recent results actually look like. based on that, N Ireland will show up well organized and make us work for it. hopefully a goal this time.

    • I believe all other federations are in qualifying this March, so it’s either a UEFA team who has a friendly around their 2 qualifiers or a Concacaf team that has already qualified for the Ocho. Of course you are correct with the pandemic getting a bunch of players to the US and back would also be problematic. As it is some euro players will likely be unavailable because of local travel restrictions, like Sargent in Nov.


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