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USMNT to host Serbia, Colombia in January friendlies

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The U.S. men’s national team already knows its first two matches in 2023 with two former opponents facing the Americans in California.

Serbia and Colombia will face the USMNT on January 25th and 28th respectively for the Americans first two friendlies of the 2026 FIFA World Cup cycle. It will also be the first two matches for the Americans following their involvement in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

January will mark just the fourth all-time meeting between the USMNT and Serbia, with the Americans seeking their first head-to-head victory. It will be the first showdown between the two nations since playing out a goal-less draw in San Diego back in January 2017.

Serbia is currently ranked 21st in the FIFA World Rankings and will face Brazil, Cameroon and Switzerland in group stage action. The Orlovi will seek to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 1998.  

Colombia narrowly missed out on qualification to Qatar and is currently ranked No. 17 in the FIFA Rankings. Los Cafeteros last faced the Americans in an October 2018 friendly, topping them 4-2 in Tampa, Fla. 

The USMNT kicks off its group stage schedule in Qatar on Nov. 21 against Wales before also taking on England and Iran over an eight-day period.

Comments

  1. “The United States Men’s National Team have announced two January friendlies in Los Angeles to kick-start their 2026 World Cup cycle.”…..Have we given up on this cycle before its even begun lol? After two horrible showings against Japan (ZERO SHOTS ON GOAL) and Saudi Arabia (no “ball in the back of the net”) we have nothing scheduled to at least test our technical or tactical strategy against a worthy opponent, yet we are looking to schedule preparation games in January lol?? Am I missing something?
    International friendlies fixtures and results
    Date Match/Result
    Sun, Nov. 6 Saudi Arabia vs. Iceland
    Tue, Nov. 8 Mexico vs. Iraq
    Wed, Nov. 9 Cameroon vs. Jamaica
    Wed, Nov. 9 Costa Rica vs. Nigeria
    Thu, Nov. 10 Panama vs. Saudi Arabia
    Thu, Nov. 10 Iran vs. Nicaragua
    Fri, Nov. 11 South Korea vs. Iceland
    Fri, Nov. 11 Bahrain vs. Canada
    Sat, Nov. 12 Iraq vs. Ecuador
    Tue, Nov. 15 Iraq vs. Belgium
    Wed, Nov. 16 UAE vs. Argentina
    Wed, Nov. 16 Oman vs. Germany
    Wed, Nov. 16 Saudia Arabia vs. Croatia
    Wed, Nov. 16 Poland vs. Chile
    Wed, Nov. 16 Mexico vs. Sweden
    Thu, Nov. 17 Ghana vs. Switzerland
    Thu, Nov. 17 Japan vs. Canada
    Thu, Nov. 17 Iraq vs. Costa Rica
    Thu, Nov. 17 Jordan vs. Spain
    Thu, Nov. 17 Portugal vs. Nigeria
    Fri, Nov. 18 Cameroon vs. Panama
    Fri, Nov. 18 Belgium vs. Egypt
    Fri, Nov. 18 Bahrain vs. Serbia
    …….no USMNT and Gregg Berhalter thinks we are just going to walk into Qatar and reach the furthest we’ve every reached without any international games to fine tune our game? Looks like either way, we are going to surprise in this World Cup……in one of two ways:
    1. We are going to upset some big teams in this competition and totally shock some heavy hitters (because we hid out strategy making GB a genius).
    2. We are going to take a beating like no other (because the players were lost and had no clue on how to handle the game at that level).
    This is going to be interesting…come on NOVEMBER 21!!!! lol

    Reply
    • My sense is this year is going to be more 1998 than 2010 or 2014. There’s warning signs all over for this squad.

      I’ll still watch, mind, and I’m hoping the soccer gods are more benevolent than we probably deserve. But I am not optimistic. There’s just been way, way too many sub-par performances, particularly away, that got to be the norm under Berhalter.

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      • Q – I think the result will be how the majority remember the WC. If the US gets out of the group, it will be a success and if not a failure. IMO, US played much better in 2006 than 2014, but in one they had bad luck and one good luck and 2014 is a success and 2006 a failure. Ultimately, the goal is to outscore your opponent and you don’t get extra points for looking good doing so or winning meaningless freindlies before the tournament. I am still keeping optimism but we will see. I think the roster will tell us if he is going to stick to qualifying tactics which I don’t think would end well ..
        Like not getting out of the group.

    • “Am I missing something?” Yes, apparently. There’s not even a mole hill here.

      USA has a very early first game and we are blessed to have a lot of players on quality teams who will not be released from their non-MLS teams until about a week before that match against Wales. USA might work in a closed-door scrimmage, but the schedule for this World Cup is very different, especially for teams with early matches. Some teams might have a lot of players with their domestic leagues out of season or willing to release players for the good of their nation, but that’s not our case. So, no surprise at all.

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    • Two factors most of those teams playing before Nov 15, have a majority of their rosters in Domestic leagues. For example Mexico has 19 players of 31 on their final camp roster with their season complete already. Teams playing after the 15th have their first round games later in the tournament than the 21st. Look at how many of our guys have developed muscle injuries in the last month, we need rest. Our guys will have 8 days between their final league game and first match including travel I’d rather have them fresh than play a friendly against some didn’t make the tourney team that’s going to hack down our attacking players every chance they get.

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  2. Players dropping like flies for all WC bound teams only a few weeks before the start. This is going to be a WC where we may see a new WC winner

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  3. I’m looking for an app or website that I can share amongs friends so we can make picks for World Cup — you know, like we do for NCAA March Madness on ESPN or CBS Sports.
    I’ve only been able to find printable brackets….I want something we can enter electronically, share and then track along the way.
    Any suggestions are most appreciated.

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    • I imagine there will be some form of closed door scrimmaging going on. Maybe with a local club team, like the one our MLS contingent just lost to.

      I actually *am* excited for the World Cup. Just getting my expectations out now in the form of unrestrained negativity. That’s what this forum is for, right?

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    • When? Guys play until November 13. First match is the 21st. These guys have been playing 2 games almost every week since August and 1/3 of them are nursing muscle strains.

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      • You forget that the January camp is a Non-FIFA window and will therefore be almost exclusively MLS players for the US and our opponents will bring essentially a youth team and fill in the blanks with MLS and/or aged out vets for a farewell.
        If Gregg is still the manager we’ll see most of the same players called up for the Pre-WC camp with a couple additions from NYCFC & the Union.
        If we have a new manager….I may actually be interested in these games. Otherwise not so much.

      • No worries Lost. But in reference to your comment would new manager really invite much different of an MLS lineup in January? Gregg has named dropped Vazquez at every opportunity since May so he should be there if he isn’t trialing in Europe. Any manager brought in outside MLS would only have a couple weeks to evaluate players so January will likely rely heavily on Berhalter’s staff’s work anyway.

      • “Any manager brought in outside MLS would only have a couple weeks to evaluate players so January will likely rely heavily on Berhalter’s staff’s work anyway.”

        If there is a new manager and staff it would be nice if they were experienced and competent enough to be able to do the kind of things that need to get done to make two friendlies happen.

        So what do you want the new regime to rely heavily on Gregg and his people for? Player evaluations? The tactics that work best with these guys? How to motivate these players?

        If there’s a new sheriff in town then the old one failed.
        The new manager is supposed to clear out the stench of the previous manager’s failure. Which means , the new one would be best advised to come up with their own ideas on those topics.

        For example, Rangnick was supposed to serve a two year consultancy after Ten Hag came in but Ten Hag quickly blew that up.

        It looks like maybe that was a good idea.

        A manager is not a democratic figure. They are a tyrant, an autocrat. As long as they succeed , the powers that be will tolerate that.

      • Vacqui, I just meant in terms of Jan camp roster. If Berhalter leaves after WC, it will take a couple weeks minimum to get interested parties and interview, throw in Christmas holiday slowing things down. The new manager would likely only have 2 or 3 weeks on the job before having to name a roster. That’s not a lot of time to do a lot of deep evaluation of the US MLS contingent. They’ll need to start with guys the NT has worked with and go from there. Clearing some of the older guys or ineffective guys but not wholesale changes. Also add in Mihailovic and possibly a few others will have moved to Europe, shiny new toys may be limited. Look at Potter he basically went with Tuchel’s lineup for a month before rotating in players.

      • We can get one game in bet 13-20 come on you know that JR lol. I just want them being used to playing together. I don’t want to see another Reyna and Pefok mis comm like in Mex game.

      • “Look at Potter he basically went with Tuchel’s lineup for a month before rotating in players.”

        Yeah look at Potter.

        Takes over a team that is still shooting for:
        A top four EPL spot
        Still in the Champion’s league
        Still in the EFL Cup
        I don’t know about the FA Cup

        In other words he needed to win right away. That’s why he stuck with Tuchel’s lineup for a bit.

        In January the World Cup will be 4 years away.

        Do you expect any of our A listers to be there? I don’t.

        What super vital game will the USMNT have to be sharp for?

        After January, the next games are Grenada and El Salvador, March 24 and March 27. Nations League .

        Get real, the USMNT should be able to beat Grenada with you in charge ( no offense intended about your managing ability). If Hugo Perez is still in charge El Salvador is a tougher nut to crack, but I have faith in you.

        Frankly I don’t care if the USMNT ever wins another Nations League game. It’s a crap competition less rigorous than the Gold Cup and does not help the USMNT become a better team other than being better than an inter squad scrimmage and providing some revenue from the Mexico US game.

        If there’s a new long term boss, they could use those games to experiment and that could be fun.

        If it’s an interim, then they could do a Sarachan.

        If, as I expect, it will be Gregg, then we’ll see.
        Sunil has said he decided on firing Bob after the Uruguay loss but he decided to wait until after the 2011 Gold Cup maybe because he did not have JK signed on yet or because, they were so bad at that Gold Cup that it gave Sunil even more cover

      • Razor – January rosters are always going to be MLS heavy. Years ago when the player pool for the A-Team still relied on MLS to contribute 50% of the roster there was a reasonable justification for calling up veteran players. Guys like Donovan, Jozy, Cameron, Beasler, and Beasley come to mind as value adds for the January camp….because they were important contributors (starters) for the A-Team…and were multi cycle players.
        A new manager may actually select the best players and then select a formation/style rather than Gregg’s approach of choosing a formation and trying to select players who fit his jacked up strategies’ . With Gregg we’ll continue to see Long, Zimmerman, Roldan, Yedlin, Morris, etc…. since they are familiar with his system. What I’d prefer to see is a new manager decide what the best players available are regardless of their pedigree/history. Fresh faces who can (maybe) contribute in the future.
        After the failure of 2018 the interim coach nearly exclusively used young talent and had some decent results in identifying players for this cycle. When Gregg was hired he reverted back to Arena’s players (Bradley, Omar, etc…) and players he was comfortable with (Trapp, Zardes, Lovitz, Yueill, Lima, Roldan, Arriola, Morris, etc…). Yes, he moved away from the “Old Gard” after his first year in charge, but he also doggedly stuck with many of “His Guys” despite better options being available. He’s been slow to jettison poor performers and even slower to introduce new players.
        It’s why I’m extremely nervous that USSF will keep Gregg beyond the WC, and why if they do we’ll see the same slow reaction to player integration and blind faith in tactics that have been failing.

      • Lost: what I’m saying though is giving the time frame and only MLSers being available a new coach unless they are from MLS isn’t going have time evaluate to find the best players. Even if they did Berhalter is hardly leaving off a plethora of talented guys from the league. I’m not saying Gregg hasn’t made mistakes he has but it hasn’t been ignoring MLS players. He was the manager who brought in Mihailovic if you remember. I feel like the Colombia and Serbia both will be bringing young domestic based rosters and we may just end up seeing glorified U23 matches no matter who is in charge.
        —————-
        According to Transfermkt Gregg has used 91 players and called 110. Not all of those have been beautiful picks but he’s certainly shaken a lot of branches. He’s also bringing the youngest team to the WC and every match we play the average age is 2 or 3 years younger than the opponent this idea he’s relied on washed up old dudes is a false narrative.

    • Striker these guys have been together for 2 years, I’d rather have them on fresh legs, than squeeze in a friendly giving up one day for the game and basically another wasted day for recovery. Pefok could train with Reyna everyday for the rest of his life and act the same way, their different levels (honestly there’s 5 or 6 other attacking players that would struggle in his place).

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      • That is a lie Johnny. They have not played together for two years straight. They take months apart before meeting again.

      • Ok didn’t realize you were being so literal and yes with our injuries we haven’t had full rosters. However, these guys have been playing together a lot. Tyler, Wes, and Christian have been playing together since they were 15. Most of the group played 14 qualifiers in the last 12 months. One more match isn’t going to change that. If Gregg was planning on bringing Vazquez, Pomykal, Mihailovic, Mendez, Gomez, and Ledezma it would make some sense but none of those guys are coming.

  4. Awesome. Hopefully it’ll be our first look at Roberto Martinez as the head coach of the USMNT.

    I know, I know, Martinez can’t win the big one. I’d personally be delighted to stumble at that level. ‘Cause his teams score and they play some purty soccer that doesn’t make you wanna put a brown paper bag over your head when you’re watching…you know, as Berhalter teams so often do.

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    • he’s a good coach, no doubt he’d do fine, but stumbling at ‘that level’ with arguably the most talented team, in Belgium. I don’t thing the USMNT is in that conversation…it’s our most talented team ever, but worldwide? Folks talk about golden generations…it is Belgium’s but no titles. Heck I remember Enzo Scifo

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    • just wanted to share a coupe of quotes from George Leekens, the Belgian, and Aad de Mos, the Dutchman, from a Guardian article dated June 11, 2022

      “Without a trophy, we climbed to first place in the Fifa rankings,” the former national team coach George Leekens told So Foot magazine last year. “But this first rank means nothing. When you don’t dare to do things, nothing is with you. This mentality and this will to win does not exist in Martínez’s group.” The former Anderlecht coach Aad de Mos has written off Belgium’s chances in Qatar. “I saw Argentina and Brazil play this week, the Belgians can no longer do that,” he said. “It is over. They have no chance.”

      we’ll see

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      • Not that I expect that type of move in the least from US Soccer, but I’d still consider Martinez close to a best case scenario. Managing a group of jaded, entitled, past their prime veterans with massive expectations is a completely different animal than doing it in our region, our young team, our soccer culture. Frankly– I think Roberto is better suited to grooming young players in a more start underdog scenario than he is. I wouldn’t rule out him being open to accepting- would likely be a refreshing change for him. LoL one can wish… but it ain’t going to happen.

    • Much more likely for Martinez to be in Leeds or Leicester this January than Chicago.
      —————————————
      Rico all those guys for Belgium were between 23-25 when Roberto took over almost the exact same as the US core will be beginning next cycle. He’s part of the group that “groomed them into jaded, entitled, past their prime vets.”

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    • You need to consider Martinez’s entire record. Before he took over at Belgium, his main achievement was to get EPL teams which he was coaching, get hot at the end of their season and avoid relegation. I never understood why or how he got the Belgium job. He hasn’t done poorly there, but I don’t consider his record as distinguished considering the talent he has had to work with.

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    • “‘Cause his teams score and they play some purty soccer that doesn’t make you wanna put a brown paper bag over your head ”

      No doubt.

      But is that Martinez or the kind of players he just happens to be managing?

      Put just DeBruyne on the USMNT and I can promise you they will look a lot more purty right away.

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      • Vacqui-

        I’m just a USSF youth coach, but I have coached about a gazillion teams over the years all the way up to ODP…and just in my experience, there were always coaches whose teams were tough to play, were always better than the sum of their parts, and played with cohesion, unity, and belief, and had a clear idea of who they were and what they were doing…and then there’s coaches who, regardless of the players they had available, somehow always made their teams look like frustrated clown shows, and you knew you were going to whump them good and proper mostly because the coach himself was just an a$$clown…and usually didn’t know it.

        One of the worst kinds of coaches to play for, that was probably the absolute worst for his players, was the coach who had himself a “system” he was married to – and who relentlessly pounded square pegs into round holes whether or not they fit that “system” or not. I never did, myself. I played…everything, from 3-5-2 (which I liked a lot because it gets everybody into the attack at various points), 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2…the only thing I generally avoided in fact was the 4-3-3 just because you needed overwhelming talent to run it well.

        When Gregg’s been successful in the past – as with the Gold Cup – he was pragmatic, and adapted his goals and style to what his team actually had available. Here’s hoping he’ll do so yet again in the World Cup…but that would also be tantamount to Gregg admitting that the “system” he’s preached and tried to implement for the entire last cycle wasn’t right for his player pool. Can he do that at this juncture, or is he boxed by his own sales pitch to both the Federation brass and his players?

        So I do blame Gregg for all the “clunk” we’ve seen over the years…just as it’s easy for me to look out and see all those purty, purty slick passing patterns and free-flowing, attacking soccer Martinez has his teams doing – I mean, he even had Wigan doing that in the Prem, and in the normal course of events Wigan is a lower Championship/League One-type side – and sort of wince in envy and go “this man knows his business.” Bad coaches just can’t make their teams dance like that.

        Yeah, it’s a whole lot easier when you have quality like what Belgium has, and people do criticize him for not “winning the big one”…but seriously, in any normal world, should Belgium really be in the conversation with Brazil and France anyway, or do they just look that good in no small part because of Martinez?

      • Quozzel: That team has been full of stars, who are lock starters on big teams. DeBruyne, Lukaku, and Hazard have been Best XI in the world for portions of his tenure. He hasn’t made them better. Maybe he hasn’t made them worse, but yes with quality they’ve had they should have won something.

      • quozzel,

        I don’t doubt that Roberto is a good manager.

        Belgium, in terms of talent and quality in their roster, has been a serious contender for the Euros and the World Cup for at least 10 years now if not longer. Belgium aren’t maybe as scary as they were but they are still scary enough to be taken seriously.

        So when Martinez comes up then the question is, is it him or the roster?

        Is it Pep or his fantastic rosters? Ancelloti or all those great players he manages? Brady or Belichek? Jordan or Phil Jackson?

        It’s a very old, and tiresome argument and every one has a quick gotcha answer for it.

        My answer is it’s irrelevant because there is no separation between manager and players. This edition of Belgium is Martinez and his roster mixed together.

        Replace Martinez and Belgium is a different team entirely.
        Maybe some players play better w/o Roberto around. Maybe some play worse.

        How do you know if that happens because Roberto is gone or is that just a matter of timing and would have happened anyway?

        I’m sure if someone had enough desire and access they could carry out a study on it but I don’t see that happening.

        If Chicago see Roberto as a possibility I hope they do the kind in depth research on him that maybe they did not do with the present manager. At least Roberto has a track record for them to research.

        At this point, if they are going to replace him, I’d like to see them replace Gregg with an interim and then bring in the permanent person with about 2 +years to go. Four years is too long. Gregg spent his first two years learning the job because he was an international game rookie manager ( and of course the pandemic did not help) . If they don’t do that the very least they should make sure they compete in Copa America 2024,
        That would give the team an authentic test and give the USSF enough time to fire the manager if Copa America is a disaster. None of this BS false optimism with the Nations League and Gold Cup JV tournament crap.

        You want to be a contenders? Then play against contenders in real tournaments instead of giving USMNT fans false hope with pretend trophies. For those who are so proud of Gregg’s Gold Cup win just remember that Arena went to Couva in 2017 as the 2017 Gold Cup champion.

    • Roberto Martinez as USMNT Head Coach would be great!

      Back in the day, circa 2011, I wanted Guus Hiddink, but after the 2010 World Cup, US Soccer decided to extend Bob Bradley, which in itself was not bad, but not ideal. After the 2011 Godl Cup loss to Mexico, US Soccer ( aka Sunil Gulati ) decided to go in a worse direction and hire that clown Klinsmann.

      At this point in time, after having a clown like Berhalter at the helm, Roberto Martinez would be quite the coup!

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