NBC Sports can confirm that the United States friendly against Ukraine scheduled for Wednesday in Cyprus will go ahead as planned.
US Soccer has released the following statement:
“The Football Federation of Ukraine confirmed that their team will travel to Cyprus and the match will proceed as scheduled.”
The U.S. team is departing from Frankfurt in four hours for Cyprus.
Ukraine national football federation president Anatoliy Konkov reportedly said the team would not travel to Cyprus for the match, preferring to stay home in their homeland, which is undergoing much turmoil.
Here’s what Konkov said:
“We cannot hold the national championship so what kind of football can we talk of at all? If we do not have an opportunity to play on home soil, why shall we go to Cyprus in those troubled times for your country? We play for our people and country. Our team do not fly to Cyprus and stay at home.”
It would’ve certainly been understandable — even in the big money, high profile world of international football — had Ukraine decided to pull out of the friendly. It had already been moved from their home country, and Cyprus dealt with a car bomb attack on Friday.
So now onto the match, which is not only sure to be an emotional affair but a welcome distraction for the Ukrainian soccer fan (and perhaps even for those who don’t normally pay attention to the sport). The latest has Jonathan Spector joining the US camp, as Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud and Tim Ream had to withdraw for different reasons.