United States announces six-game series of friendlies for later this year
The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced a six-game series of friendlies for the national team that will take place later this year.
The "Kickoff Series" will begin on Sept. 7 with a match against five-time World Cup champion Brazil at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. That will be followed by a game four days later against long-time rivals Mexico, which will take place at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
The series will resume in October with two home matches against opponents yet to be determined. Prior reports had indicated that Argentina and Colombia were the teams being lined up.
The series will conclude in November with two road matches against England and Italy. The England match will take place at Wembley Stadium on Nov. 15, while the match against the Azzurri will be held five days later at a site to be determined.
September:— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) June 25, 2018
vs. 🇧🇷 in NJ, pres by @LibertyMutual
vs. 🇲🇽 in Nashville, pres by @ATT
Two home matches TBA
vs. 🏴 in London at Wembley
vs. 🇮🇹 at TBA venue in Europe pic.twitter.com/g58smtzoup
"We are at the beginning phase of building our identity," 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."
The focus of the games will be on gaining experience for a side that is undergoing an overhaul in the wake of the U.S. team's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Stewart added: "We can use these experiences to learn about ourselves and take the next steps towards developing into the team we want to become."
It is unclear who will manage the team for the upcoming matches. Stewart has said he wants to make the right choice and won't be rushed into making a decision.
U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro told The Washington Post over the weekend there was no set timeframe to name a coach.
"I'd like it sooner rather than later, but there's no timeline. There's no pressure on it," Cordeiro said. "There's no expectation that it has to be done by any day because you want the best possible person. We've waited long enough since last October; I don't think a month or two -- or even three -- matters."
Cordeiro added that Stewart has already begun the process of vetting potential hires.
"He has a list," said Cordeiro, who was elected president in February. "I wouldn't call it a short list, but he has a list. He definitely is pulling things together," even though Stewart will not formally leave his executive post with MLS's Philadelphia Union until the end of July.
Dave Sarachan has been coaching the team on a caretaker basis ever since Bruce Arena's resignation last October.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.