Report: USMNT to face Nigeria in final game of World Cup send-off series

Omar Gonzales

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Even before the U.S. Men’s National Team arrives in Sao Paulo, Brazil for the start of the World Cup, they’ll be racking up the air miles.

U.S. Soccer is currently planning a three-match World Cup sendoff tour that will see the USMNT begin with a game at Stanford Stadium, then a cross-country flight for a game at Red Bull Arena, before finishing in Florida, according to a report from ESPNFC.

The report adds that U.S. Soccer is in talks with Serbia, Sweden, and Turkey for them to be one of the match opponents for either the first or second game of the series, with Nigeria being the final match opponent. SI.com reported that the final game of the series will take place on Jun. 7, with the USMNT traveling to Brazil the following day.

“We’re still in discussions with venues and opponents, and at this time none of our send-off matches have been finalized,” U.S. Soccer spokesperson Neil Buethe told ESPNFC.com. “We hope to have an announcement in the near future.”

Prior to the start of the World Cup send-off, the USMNT will convene at a training camp in Northern California. FIFA has set May 26 as the official release date for players on a nation’s World Cup squad.

Multiple sources also told ESPNFC that Jacksonville’s Everbank Field is a likely venue for the final match. The USMNT most recently played there in May 2012, defeating Scotland, 5-1, in a friendly match.

In 2010, the USMNT faced the Czech Republic in East Hartford, Conn. and Turkey in Philadelphia before traveling to South Africa for the World Cup. In 2006, the USMNT played matches against Morocco (Nashville), Venezuela (Cleveland), and Latvia (East Hartford) before heading to the World Cup in Germany.

Finally, the report states that the USMNT will likely play a friendly match in April against Mexico. As the match won’t be on a FIFA date, it’s likely that only MLS and Liga MX-based players will be selected from both teams.

The USMNT begins their World Cup program on June 16 in Natal against Ghana.

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What do you think of this report? Would you like to see the USMNT play any of those opponents? Do you plan on traveling to see them play in California, New Jersey, or Florida?

Share your thoughts below.

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58 Responses to Report: USMNT to face Nigeria in final game of World Cup send-off series

  1. Dinho says:

    Great choice getting another team gearing up for the World Cup (Nigeria) in the last send-off game. As for the other two, I vote for: Sweden (assuming Ibra is there) and Serbia. Quality opponents.

    • ZZtoppppp says:

      I said Sweden and Peru, but Serbia would also be good.

      • yikes says:

        i personally have a thing against Serbs. they started ww1.

        but Yay sweden

        • Nate Dollars says:

          i would assume those guys are all dead by now.

        • S J says:

          That’s like blaming the person who rings the bell for starting a boxing match.

          • master of the obvious says:

            not really but nice try. One resulted in incredible amounts of death and suffering and the other is a sporting event involving two people.Not condoning the statemen, just sayin’

        • etjones11 says:

          It was just a group of Serbs called the Black Hand that ordered the hits in Sarajevo. Not all of Serbia. And how the Austro-Hungarian empire reacted was more responsible for the beginning of WWI.

        • Oranje Mike says:

          Wrong. A peasant murdering a monarch was a red herring. The British and French were stirring for a war with Germany for over a decade.

    • tom says:

      Can anybody talk about Nigeria’s playing style?
      I presume many of us have the initial reaction of “Yeah! A quality African opponent, right before opening the WC against a quality African opponent”…but are they actually similar styles? Abilities? Strengths/weaknesses?
      It’s good to warm up against a strong opponent, but it’s better to warm up against a strong opponent who plays a similar style as your eventual competition. So if some random European or Asian team is more similar to Ghana than Nigeria I’d rather play them. I don’t want to assume that just because Nigeria and Ghana are on the same continent they’ll be similar. I appreciate any insight.

      • les wondo says:

        you speak sound LOGIC

        but for everyone else. Serbia is similar to Poland. Ireland is similar to England. Nigeria is similar to Ghana. Paraguay is similar to Argentina.

        maybe that’s ignorance or stereotyping or just some measure of truth when it comes to playing style among neighbouring countries/continents

      • GW says:

        I haven’t watched Ghana or Nigeria play recently but what they do share in common, depending on who is available for them, are a fair number of big, fast, strong, athletic, technically accomplished players a lot of whom are on some pretty high level European clubs.

        Nigeria is ranked lower than Ghana and has fewer top level players but they will be in Brazil too.

        It’s good to be wary of stereotypes but in general Nigeria will the US players who don’t already know at least a rough approximation of what Ghana is capable of.

        Jozy, Mikey, Clint, Donovan and Howard played Ghana in 2010 and should be in Brazil and JJ was a team mate and close friend of Ghana’s Boateng when he was at Schalke, so the core of the team will be familiar with Ghana’s style assuming it hasn’t changed a lot since 2010..

        link to csmonitor.com

  2. beto says:

    Confirming what we already heard.

    I like the schedule; a lot of travel but certainly getting to the fans.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Going from California to NY to Florida is kind of like…
      going from Sao Paulo to Natal to Manaus and then back to Recife.

      Nicely done, USSF.

      • beto says:

        Yup, get used to it i guess. Not that they need practice travelling but why not go to 3 markets they want to capitalize on

  3. William the Terror says:

    Like Nigeria as the opponent. The rest of this just leaves me wondering. I presume by “Northern California” they mean the Bay Area? Well, having spent a few years there, I can verify that Mark Twainnwas correct when he said that “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” How does holding camp in that sort of climate help to prepare you for the Amazon jungle?

    One game in humid Florida is not enough.

    • downintexas says:

      +1 need to prep for the heat and humidity.

    • Ron says:

      Unless the training is in San Francisco or right on the coast, the weather will be fine. San Jose, for example, would typically be in the mid 70s to mid 80s in the middle of the day in late May.

      • bryan says:

        yup, micro-climates. but still, it won’t be that warm in comparison to what they will face in Brazil.

    • Gaucho says:

      Average hi in SF in May is 65. Average hi in Palo Alto in May is 74. Granted there shouldn’t be humidity, but they aren’t going to be training and playing in the cold and fog. They’ll be significantly inland.

      • bryan says:

        actually, San Francisco and the Bay Area, along with cities like San Diego ARE humid (60% today in SJ, 68% in SF, 65% in SD). they are on the water, it’s gonna be humid.

        the difference is we have nice ocean breezes and the temperature isn’t insane. back in DC it would be 70% humidity but also 90 degrees with no breeze.

        with that said, DC (and Manaus, 84% today) also can get up to 80%+ humidity on a regular basis. so it’s a different beast for sure.

        • Ray says:

          Sorry, but San Diego is not very humid. I live here and you don’t sweat just standing around like on the east coast. Just because it’s on the coast, doesn’t mean it’s humid. It hardly ever rains here or cloudy.

          • bryan says:

            lol i live here too. you don’t sweat because it’s not also 90 degrees. today, it was low 60s with almost 70% humidity. when it is foggy, it is HUMID. i think you know how often it is foggy on the California coast given you live here.

            read what i wrote, i specifically said it’s not like the east coast where it is high humidity, high temps, and no breeze. i’m just being nitpicky and saying it IS actually humid here, it’s just much more bearable due to lower temps and a constant breeze.

            weather.com, doing a search for 92104, shows a current humidity of 76% with humidity of 82% over night (DC is 85% tonight)! forecast for the next 4 days:

            Tues: 63% day, 85% night
            Wed: 61%, 74%
            Thurs: 77%, 86%
            Fri: 69%, 71%

            so yes, it IS humid in San Diego. it just doesn’t feel oppressive. which is why i no longer live in DC (also, the traffic).

    • Mike says:

      Actually- I think “Northern California” means “Northern California.” The fact that the game is at Stanford Stadium (in Palo Alto, which is closer to San Jose than San Francisco), would indicate that the camp will not be in SF. While San Francisco is pretty cold in May/June, the rest of Northern California (including the majority of the Bay Area) is very warm in late May- in fact warmer than a lot of other US locations during that time. You could easily do a camp in San Jose where the average temperature will be about 80. Or, if you want warmer, you could head to the valley and have a camp in Sacramento or Stockton (both less than 2 hours from Stanford Stadium) where the late May temperatures are closer to 85-90. Or split the difference in both temperature and distance and have camp in the Napa/Vallejo region.

    • Dean says:

      Dude, they are not going to play in San Francisco. It said Stanford. That area of the Bay Area it is hot in June.

    • Steven Johnson says:

      The biggest concern about Brazil is the travel. Florida, NY, San Fran would simulate that pretty well. Probably better to prepare for that than an extra game with humidity. The best thing to do for the humiditiy is fitness training and that can be done anywhere.

    • Brian says:

      Stanford Stadium could count as Bay Area in a way

    • bh ving says:

      I agree. The US needs to be practicing in Miami and needs to play three games in the Southeast to get used to the humidity they will see in NE Brasil and Manaus.

  4. Eric says:

    I’m really liking the Nigeria matchup. I was hoping to play them or the Ivory Coast.

  5. yikes says:

    we need more friendlies with African nations even if it’s played in London or Dublin or Paris or Berlin

    I wanna see a USA-Ghana friendly in Washington DC or Accra before the end of the year. It could be a huge PR thing for the State Department. Get it done USSF

    • beto says:

      +1 USA-Ghana is a great rivalry, esp considering neither team has played eachother on home soil… (Ever?) Really hope for a home/away friendly next cycle.

      Game would be a huge draw in the states and a big game in Ghana would be news-worthy around the soccer world.

  6. Dc says:

    Man, they haven’t played in the Bay Area is yeeeeaaaarrrss. The last USMNT game I saw here, Benny got his first goal against China…I think.

  7. yikes says:

    how much for a flight from LA to SF? I sure hope it’s sweden. if so then I’m there

  8. dman says:

    Cant wait to go see them at Stanford! NorCal does not get much USMNT love

  9. Dean says:

    Never going to happen. Nigeria, the African Champs, will suffice.

    • Helium-3 says:

      Nigeria is excellent competition, so is Serbia. Excellent meaning US could lose if they don’t play their best to beat these teams.

      Unlike the S. Korea game, US played below average and still won but we could have blown them out if US stretched their defense more with wide passing. The 2 goals came from stretching the Korean defense. Most of the the time they were playing square balls and backward passes; think players were too afraid to make mistakes.

      • Brian says:

        Totally agree, with that statement, I’m not sure if that was Jurgs trying something out or the players trying to be conservative, would’ve liked to see Wondo get the hat trick, but we don’t always get what we want do we? lol

  10. ATX_Colin says:

    “FIFA has set May 26 as the official release date for players on a nation’s World Cup squad.”

    Thats seems like a rather short time to get your squad ready, does our camp not begin before that?

    • Luetchy says:

      Is 2 weeks not enough? That’s what teams get before the Super Bowl.

      • Brian says:

        The only counter I would have to that is that the teams in the Super Bowl had about 20-24 weeks playing and practicing together for a season.

  11. Oba says:

    Can somebody ring my Nats Coach for me?

  12. Eddie R says:

    I don’t care who they play. I live in Jacksonville so I will go see any game that comes here.

  13. Hugh says:

    Smart scheduling, get Altidore’s confidence sky high by getting him a game vs efe Ambrose just before the world cup

  14. alabamafutbol says:

    Am I the only one not crazy about playing Mexico as they’re slowly rounding into form? It was kinda nice to have the momentum of the most recent Dos a Cero carry over into Brazil. What do we have to gain by playing them again now?

    Not a huge deal considering neither team will be fielding their A squads (not a FIFA date), but it’s a tad unsettling nonetheless.

  15. Julian says:

    If US Soccer wants to maximize ticket sales they should have the Serbia match in Cleveland at Browns Stadium

  16. Dan in New York says:

    If it’s Sweden vs. the Nats at Red Bull Arena I suspect the Viking Army will be out in force!

  17. Ahmed K says:

    Going to NJ, and Jacksonville! USSF needs to release the official dates!

  18. Stephen says:

    Would prefer Tampa to Jacksonville. We’ve never had a quality opponent in the Bay Area… (meaning Tampa Bay Area, fyi)

  19. Tom_in_So_IL says:

    I want to play Sweden just to see Onyewu vs Ibrahimovic. They almost killed each other at AC Milan.

  20. user222 says:

    Stanford Stadium is not worth of hosting the USMNT…. ugly pitch, configuration….

    standford fans are really dopey. Watch them NOT knowing how to support/dress for a USMNT game.

  21. Harvey says:

    Come to dallas! Huge soccer community and great Dallas cowboy stadium (Att)

  22. Del Shaffer says:

    I’m praying that they come to Jacksonville, Florida and play Sweden or Turkey!!! That would be great.

  23. concordcalifornia says:

    I laugh at the comments about humidity and such of California, SF, and northern california. We probably have the most varied weather in the country. Pick your climate based on what you want. The only thing we don’t have is hot and sticky, which is why is costs so much here.

    I was thinking last week that they should prepare for Brazil by practicing in heat and humidity, but then I thought that if I spent too much time in that climate, I would wear down psychologically. Thus, it might be best to prepare in a locale where they can get sharp and mentally focused, THEN go into battle. That they do the last game in Florida alone sounds good to me. Nigeria game should be awesome.