About three months from now, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann will gather his team for a pre-World Cup training camp. Yes, it’s just about time to talk about pre-World Cup training camp. Oh. Joy.
Every pre-World Cup camp comes attached to friendlies (usually three) that will help sort the final lineup choices, combinations and such.
There’s still a lot of “I” crossing and “T” dotting for the federation, but we know a lot today about what the U.S. national team’s pre-World Cup schedule will look like.
Remember, unlike other years, there will be no friendly once Klinsmann’s men arrive into Brazil; teams may play friendlies up to five days before the competition begins, and the U.S. arrival schedule does not permit it. (Well, no “public” friendlies, that is, none that any of us will see. The team can play closed-door matches.)
- The federation has announced a March 5 match in Europe against Ukraine. Circle this one; the roster picked for the match in Ukraine promises to look very similar to Klinsmann’s final 23-man roster.
- The federation continues to work out details of a proposed early April match with Mexico, most likely in Arizona. As this is no FIFA date, look for an MLS-heavy assembly, similar to the lineup Klinsmann’s deployed in last week’s win over South Korea. (With one big exception: Michael Bradley will surely be part of this one.)
- The team will gather sometime in early- to mid-May at Stanford University outside San Francisco. ESPN FC’s Doug McIntyre reported earlier this week that a May 27 friendly would finish off that part of the camp. The report said potential opposition included Sweden, Serbia and Turkey.
- Word was out a few weeks ago that Red Bull Arena would probably host a match. Still no date for that one, but best bet is June 1. Coaches like to emulate the pace of first round games; June 2 would more accurately emulate actual World Cup schedule, but that’s a Monday.
- SI.com has reported that the team would depart from Florida for its base in Brazil on June 8, one day after its final match before actual tournament competition. The June 7 contest is all but booked for Jacksonville. You know who likes Jacksonville? Landon Donovan likes Jacksonville! Or have you forgotten about the man’s hat trick against Scotland there two years ago?
- The ESPN FC report cited Nigeria as the most likely opposition for the Jacksonville contest. That makes sense, as the next time Klinsmann’s bunch is on the field in an actual match, they’ll be up against another African team – in a match they probably have to win for any realistic hope of advancing out of the first round.