International Week : The build up to Wales v USA at The Liberty Stadium
Monday, 9th Nov 2020 17:26
The match will be just the United States' second held in 2020. The previous game was a 1-0 win over Costa Rica held in Carson, California. It is also the first game including European-based players since Nov. 19, 2019, when the U.S. defeated Cuba 4-0 to claim the top spot in Group A of the CONCACAF Nations League.
The USSF ( USA ) is continuing to pursue a second match in Europe during the November international window and it has now been confirmed they will play Panama on the 16th November in Austria.
"First and foremost, we are looking forward to getting the group together after such a challenging year," USA coach Gregg Berhalter said. "Wales is a quality opponent with high-level players, so it's a good opportunity to test ourselves. We appreciate all the work by the Football Association of Wales and here at U.S. Soccer to provide this opportunity to compete."
The match's location means the U.S. squad will be comprised of players mostly from abroad, though it's possible that some domestic players may be included as well. The U.S. training camp is set to begin on Nov. 9, and with the MLS regular season ending the previous day, it's unlikely any domestic players will take part if there is only one friendly scheduled.
Any MLS player that would be called up would be subject to a 10-day quarantine upon their return.
The staging of the camp and the match will fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in line with the UEFA Return to Play Protocols, with stringent oversight by the Football Association of Wales.
The U.S. team and staff will operate inside a controlled environment in a hotel near Cardiff. 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.
The match will only be the second meeting between the two sides, and the first on Welsh soil. The previous encounter took place May 26, 2003, at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California. Landon Donovan and Eddie Lewis each score goals while goalkeeper Nick Rimando earned a shutout in his first start for the U.S.
The last time the sides met
USA sink poor Wales
26th May 2003
Leicester City defender Matt Jones gave away a penalty just before half-time, and was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a deliberate handball moments into the second half. Landon Donovan coolly converted from the spot in the 40th minute, and Eddie Lewis scored from distance on the hour to give the home side a deserved victory. The defeat brought to an end a sequence of 10 games without defeat in an impressive season for Wales.
Welsh boss Mark Hughes selected an inexperienced side in the absence of John Hartson, Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Robbie Savage among others. The 10-game run was always going to go at some time and it's better to get that out of the way and go on another one. But the USA were without Brad Friedel, John O'Brien and Brian McBride, with Claudio Reyna starting on the bench. However, it was the home side who dominated from the opening moments, with youngsters Donovan and Bobby Convey controlling midfield.
After several missed chances Jones finally handed the USA a golden opportunity when he clattered into the back of Jovan Kirovski to concede the penalty.
Hopes of a second-half comeback were dealt a blow when the Leicester man stuck out an arm to stop the charging Convey going past him in the 48th minute, and a red card followed. Convey almost doubled the advantage when clean through soon after but substitute 'keeper Darren Ward made a superb save. Disappointment followed for Ward moments later, however, when a poorly struck Lewis shot from distance sneaked under the keeper's dive and into the bottom corner. With only 10 men it was always going to be a struggle for Wales, and the closest they came was a blistering effort from John Oster. But there was far more action at the other end, with both Donovan and Earnie Stewart stretching the Welsh defence.
USA: Rimando, Suarez (Petke, 78), Brown, Agoos, Vanney, Mulrooney, Stewart (Lagos, 83), Convey (Ching, 75), Lewis, Donovan, Kirovski (Eskandarian, 89).
Wales: P Jones (Ward, 46), M Jones, Vaughan, Melville, Williams, Pembridge (Robinson, 79), Oster (Pipe, 70), Johnson, Davies, Koumas, Taylor.
Referee: Benito Archundia Tellez (Mexico).
Johnny Cardoso, Konrad de la Fuente, Nicholas Gioacchini, Richie Ledezma, Yunus Musah, Chituru Odunze, Owen Otasowie, Gio Reyna, Chris Richards, Sebastian Soto are all looking for their first caps.
Another surprise name in the squad is Valencia teenager Yunus Musah, who was born in the USA but has represented England at youth national team levels.
Musah, 17, has been a star in La Liga so far this season and is eligible for multiple national teams. Playing in a friendly will not cap-tie him, but it will be intriguing to see another young attacker added to this USMNT squad with Pulisic almost back from injury and able to take part.
It will mark the first time Berhalter has been able to get any squad together since before the coronavirus pandemic arrived in March, as their only game in 2020 so far was the 1-0 win against Costa Rica on Feb. 1.
The USA head coach has opted to only select players from his European-based contingent due to the MLS season still ongoing.
That means we will be seeing the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams and Co. together at the same time, plus plenty of up and coming USMNT youngsters who are playing at top European clubs.
Below is the squad in full.
USMNT ( USA European squad ) v Wales & Panama
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 4/0), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 17/0)
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 38/3), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 10/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 3/0), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL; 18/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 40/1), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER; 0/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 7/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 10/1), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; 0/0), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 0/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 19/6), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 0/0), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton/ENG; 0/0)
FORWARDS Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona/ESP; Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA; 0/0), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 34/14), Uly Llanez (Heerenveen/NED; 1/1), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 0/0), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 12/5), Sebastian Soto (Telstar/NED; 0/0), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 8/1)
Brackets indicate games played and goals scored.
Dunfermline's Owain Fon Williams, who was part of the squad which reached the semi-final of Euro 2016 under Chris Coleman, has been recalled along with Newport's Tom King.
Defenders Tom Lockyer and James Lawrence are also recalled and Newport midfielder Josh Sheehan wins a first senior call-up after being preferred to Cardiff's Will Vaulks.
Tom Lawrence features in a Wales squad for the first time this year after summer surgery.
Wales squad in full
Goalkeepers: Ward, O. F. Williams, King.
Defenders: Gunter, B Davies, C Roberts, Ampadu, Mepham, Lockyer, Rodon, N Williams, J Lawrence, Cabango ( withdrawn) Norrington-Davies.
Midfielders: Smith, Morrell, Levitt, Johnson, Sheehan.
Attackers: Ramsey ( withdrawn), J Williams, Wilson, Brooks, James, Bale, T Lawrence, Moore, T Roberts, Matondo.
Ben Cabango has withdrawn from the Wales squad
Remaining 2020 fixtures
Wales v United States of America (at Liberty Stadium) - Thursday, November 12, 7.45pm.
Wales v Republic of Ireland (at Cardiff City Stadium) - Sunday, November 15, 5pm.
Wales v Finland (at Cardiff City Stadium) - Wednesday, November 18, 7.45pm.
Photo: Action Images
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