Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv to host USMNT vs. Ukraine

MetalistStadium2 (Reuters)

By DAN KARELL

The U.S. Men’s National Team now know where they’ll take the field when they face Ukraine on March 5.

On Wednesday, the Ukraine Football Federation chose to play the friendly match at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in the eastern portion of the UEFA nation. The 40,000 seat stadium was used during the 2012 European Championships and was the site of three matches in the tournament.

It’s also the home of Ukrainian club Metalist Kharkiv, who are regular participants in UEFA’s Europa League and or the Champions League. Last season the club finished in second place in the Ukrainian Premier League.

Ukraine are currently ranked No. 18 in FIFA’s World Rankings, the highest for a nation that didn’t qualify for the 2014 World Cup. The USMNT has only played Ukraine three times in history, all in the early 1990s. Ukraine won two and drew one.

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What do you think of this decision? Excited to see the USMNT travel to Kharkiv? Think they’ll be able to defeat Ukraine on the road?

Share your thoughts below.

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36 Responses to Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv to host USMNT vs. Ukraine

  1. Joe C. says:

    So, in terms of the recent unrest, anyone know if there’s any danger to this match? Is Kharkiv in a contested area?

    • Chris Ou says:

      Don’t think so. Kiev is the place where all the trouble and unrest are.

    • Mikebsiu says:

      I wouldn’t be worried about the violence, racism on the other hand……..

    • Luetchy says:

      Kharkiv is in eastern Ukraine, a very pro-Russian city. Most of the unrest is in the western half of the country, where the sentiment is pro-EU.

    • Good morning from Kharkov ,
      I am an Englishman living and working in Kharkov.
      As for the current troubles there is nothing happening here , that’s obviously why they decided to relocate this match. Kharkov is a long wat from Kiev both physically and mentally.
      Kharkov was one of the host cities for the Euro 2012 and the handled it very well. All the Dutch matches were played here and we had over 15,000 Dutch supporters staying in Kharkiv . We own an apartment rental business in the city and we personally had 120 Dutch supporters staying in our properties. Have has everything needed to host this match and we look forward to seeing you all. If you have any questions please contact me.
      Simon @ Kharkov For Rent

    • bottlcaps says:

      If and when the US State Dept. issues a travel advisory for the Ukraine, each US sports federation will then make a decision based on different criteria. Even though the US will not play in Kiev, most likely they will pass through passport control there.

      Although it do not like to mix politics with sport, the US could not have picked a worse time to face this opponent. Russia has fiscally bailed out the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian government has in turn, started turning away from the Western Europe by refusing monetary aide and trade agreements and has instead, passed tough new laws on freedom of assembly and freedoms of the press, most at the urging of Moscow. This has led to massive protests that have turned violent as many fear Kiev is turning back to a repressive soviet-style regime.

      There is no doubt that those in power willmost likely use the US-Ukrainian match for propaganda purposes.

      • Eurosnob says:

        Bottlecaps, there are quite a few direct flights to Kharkiv (e.g. from Vienna where Boyd plays) so the team can easily bypass Kiev if they want to, plus the international airport is outside Kiev’s city limits in Borispol – there are no demonstrations there. As for using the match for propaganda purposes, didn’t we play Putin’s Russia last year?

  2. Maykol says:

    Kinda wanted to see the US play brazil considering them and portugals players dribble more than just about any other teams in the world. Maybe it could have been a good test/ preparation for portugal.

    • Increase says:

      The African teams too. They love them some dribbling.

    • beto says:

      if you wanted to pick the some similar teams to prepare with:
      for Portugal; vs. Brazil – we were just in Brazil!
      for Ghana; vs. Nigeria – playing Mexico in Atlanta in March!
      for Germany; vs. England – playing in Miami in May!

      instead we will play Ukraine, South Korea, etc… guess USSF has a different plan

      • usaalltheway says:

        You make a great point.

        Why can’t the USSF get better friendlies before the World Cup?

      • Maykol says:

        I think the netherlands plays more to germanys style than england does

      • Anthony says:

        I think it’s more about playing solid opponents so we can test things out against quality opponents. Ukraine barely missed out on qualifying for the WC, and South Korea has always done well against quality teams.

        • beto says:

          +1 Korea, Ukraine are all good but not great opponents. Interesting that they are not trying to schedule ‘similar’ teams as many suggested even tho those teams were more than available.

          Looking foward to the three home games in May.

      • Chris says:

        I’m willing to bet its much harder for the USSF to set up games in real life than it is for you guys to do on the comment section of a mediocre blog.

        • bb says:

          I think this blog is quite good. Do you have any other US soccer blogs you’d recommend? (being serious)

          • Eurosnob says:

            bb, 3four3 blog is quite good, but it is a different kind of blog. SBI is more news coverage, but 3four3 is more of directed toward coaches and players about the details of possession-oriented game and player development. If you have interest in the youth player development in this country, it is a must read. Zonal Marking, which has a link on this blog, is quite good in terms of tactical analysis of games, but again a different kind of blog. I probably missed quite a few others. SBI does a good job in their niche.

      • Tom says:

        “instead we will play Ukraine, South Korea, etc… guess USSF has a different plan”

        beto, good post…the USSF already enacted their “plan”, play Panama on a potato pasture in a cramped dump in Seattle, play Costa Rica in a blizzard in Denva (Costa Rica was not offside on their equalizer fwiw), etc., etc., and it worked, we qualified even after the rocky start losing away to Honduras.

  3. The Imperative Voice says:

    Climate data suggests 20s or 30s for temps in Kharkiv in March. So you could argue that it’s not only a debatable preparatory opponent, but also not exactly preparation for Brazilian weather either (which at least the SPFC trip was). So it’s basically just another cold weather Euro-friendly like Slovenia or Russia with amped up pressure from the march of the calendar towards camp.

  4. Revolution says:

    The Ukraine is weak. It’s feeble. I think it’s time to put the hurt on the Ukraine.

  5. the elmo says:

    I think its a tad foolish to underestimate Ukraine, after all they were the highest rated team not to qualify for the world cup. I am assuming the friendly was scheduled due to availability (let’s face it its not attractive to play against the U.S, not as much marketability (which leads to poor ticket sales, world soccer is after all a business). I am all for the match since the travel distance to Ukraine is comparable to the long road trips the USMNT will face in Brazil, changing up the climate will also demand more from the players, the more challenges the better. I hope the US wins convincingly, it would be a good result against a very good team.

  6. Dave in San Jose says:

    Take a lap around the Metalist Stadium track, using Google Maps:
    link to google.com

  7. user222 says:

    Could a friendly game in Europe this close to May might have a purpose?

    Really, there is nothing to be had playing against this kind of team in 30F degree weather.

    For Jurgen, it might be one last chance to evaluate JAB, Chandler, Green, Lichaj even Holden and Gatt.

  8. blokhin says:

    might as well play in Russia since Kharkiv is so far east….

    our German coach seems he11-bent on traveling to Eastern Europe -Ukraine, B&H, Russia, Slovenia….

  9. Good morning from Kharkov ,
    I am an Englishman living and working in Kharkov.
    As for the current troubles there is nothing happening here , that’s obviously why they decided to
    relocate this match. Kharkov was one of the host cities for the Euro 2012 and the handled it very well. All the Dutch matches were played here and we had over 15,000 Dutch supporters staying in Kharkiv . We own an apartment rental business in the city and we personally had 120 Dutch supporters staying in our properties. Have has everything needed to host this match and we look forward to seeing you all. If you have any questions please contact me.
    Simon @ Kharkov For Rent

  10. Zerg says:

    Killer name for a club! \m/

    Didn’t Metalist they open for Motorhead back in the day?

  11. Bob B says:

    The U.S. Soccer Team in support of the U.S. Government and the President’s condemnation of Russian influence and the Russian “puppet” regime in Ukraine should “reschedule” the game in a “EU” friendly site or bring the game to the U.S! Going there only supports the mirage that all is well! The Eastern half of Ukraine has been “occupied” by force over the years,(by wars, and forced starvation 1933-35) by the Communists to try and take control of the country! Stop the madness the let the Ukrainians choose democracy and freedom!

  12. Travel advise to get to Kharkov ;
    link to kharkov-for-rent.com.ua

    If you need any assistance please fell free to contact me.
    We are an English-Ukraine family business.

  13. LS says:

    Anyone know how to buy tickets? I’m living in Kharkiv but speak little Russian. Thanks!