The USMNT will play a friendly game against Jamaica in March, as the Stars and Stripes have two games lined up for the upcoming international window.
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Gregg Berhalter’s side will play Northern Ireland in Belfast on Mar. 28 and they will now play against CONCACAF rivals Jamaica in Austria on Mar. 25 as part of their secure camp in Europe.
The USMNT have faced tight games against Jamaica in recent outings, as they beat them in the Gold Cup semifinal in 2019 and lost 1-0 to them in a friendly game in June 2019.
“The U.S. team and staff will operate inside a controlled environment. Everyone entering the controlled environment will undergo multiple COVID-19 tests in advance of traveling, and then will be tested upon arrival and at least every two days during camp. There will be no full team training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed,” U.S. Soccer said.
Players from both Major League Soccer and from across Europe are eligible for a call-up from Berhlater as this is a FIFA window and the 2021 MLS season is not scheduled to kick off until mid-April.
In the previous camp in Europe, last November, only one MLS-based player (Sebastian Lletget) was called up by Berhalter.
What challenge will Jamaica provide?
Just like the last international break, this will give the USMNT a very good idea of how much progress they’ve made and what lies ahead in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
In November they tied against Wales and then hammered Panama 6-2 in the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Austria (they play at the same stadium against Jamaica on Mar. 25) in two friendly games and these tests against Northern Ireland and Jamaica will be similar.
You could certainly argue that playing against Jamaica is a much tougher test than the weakened Panama side they faced in November, and there are some big names who could play for the Reggae Boyz.
We all know about Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen and Fulham forward Bobby Decordova-Reid, but West Ham United star Michail Antonio has discussed switching his international allegiance from England to Jamaica in order to reach the 2022 World Cup.
That would be a huge boost for Jamaica and the USMNT will certainly be wary of Antonio’s quality as he’s been a star for the Hammers who are pushing for a top four finish in the Premier League this season.
With very few opponents available for the USMNT to play in the upcoming FIFA window, arranging these games against Northern Ireland and Jamaica is a very good outcome for U.S. Soccer.