The US Men’s National Teams will be busy for the rest of this year. Here’s a peek at what’s coming up.
Men’s Senior Team
Coming off a 3-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the CONCACAF final World Cup Qualifying round, the Senior team does not play in May. But starting in June, they get very busy and very fast. It starts with back to back games with the teams, along with Mexico, that are expected to contend for the top 4 slots in CONCACAF, Costa Rica and Honduras. The game against Costa Rica is Estadio Saprissa in Costa Rica on June 3, followed by a home match against Honduras on the 6th.
Nine days later, on June 15th, the Senior men face Italy in South Africa in the first group match of the Confederations Cup. The other two group matches, against Brasil and Egypt will be contested on June 18th and 21st respectively. Should the men survive group play, their next match would be in a semifinal on either the 24th or 25th. And should they make the final(no snickers please), it will be played on the 28th.
Thirteen days later, beginning on July 4, they begin CONCACAF Gold Cup group play in Seattle. Matches 2 and 3 are on the 8th and 11th. The quarterfinals are on the 18th and 19th, the semis on the 23rd and the final on the 26th.
What this means is that the US Men’s team will play a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 13 matches in the 53 days from the World Cup qualifier vs Costa Rica and the Gold Cup final.
And when that’s all said and done, they must travel to Mexico for its next World Cup Qualifying match on Aug 12.
The conventional thinking, as I understand it, will play out something like this. Bradley will field the ‘A’ team for the World Cup Qualifiers and the Confederations Cup and the ‘B’ team for at least the group phase of the Gold Cup. The results of the qualifiers v Costa Rica and Honduras will go a long way in determining how the club will need to prepare for the Mexico qualifier on August 12. Remember that this year’s Gold Cup does not act as a qualifier for the next Confederations Cup. We’ll see the ‘A’ team in the 2011 Gold Cup.
Men’s U-17 Team
Today, yes today, the U-17′s begin group play in the CONCACAF U-17 Championships in being held in Mexico from April 21 – May 2. The top 2 teams from the 2 groups will qualiy for the FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be played in Nigeria from October 24 – November 15. The US are grouped with Canada, Honduras and Cuba.
Men’s U-20 Team
The U-20 team qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup by way of their performance in the recently completed CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Costa Rica defeated the US 3-0 in the final. The US are in a killer group with Germany, Cameroon and South Korea. The World Cup will be played in Egypt from September 24 – October 16,
I just figured that a little early preparation would prepare me to better understand the conversations that are sure to ensue at one point or another about the soccer scene in the US. I expect that the topics will include at least: MLS schedule conflict, which MLS teams will be most effected, US team selection, and the chances of advancing in the Confederations Cup, just to name a few.
Let the games begin.