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Assistant Sarachan to coach US team at Portugal friendly

Chicago (AFP) – US national team assistant coach Dave Sarachan will guide an American squad still reeling after missing out on the World Cup in a November friendly in Portugal, US Soccer announced Tuesday.

Bruce Arena resigned as coach on October 13 after the Americans lost 2-1 at Trinidad and Tobago in their qualifying finale and failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

US Soccer said Sarachan and the remainder of the US team’s technical staff will direct the squad for the November 14 friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo and company in the final US match of the year.

US Soccer Federational president Sunil Gulati, who did not step down and said he might run for re-election next February despite the flop, said the US team would play two friendlies in November as planned.

The Americans will meet Portugal at Leiria rather than in Estadio Algarve in Faro as first planned because Portugal wanted the match in an area near wildfires that claimed 37 lives earlier this year.

All match proceeds and those from a November 10 Portugal friendly against Saudi Arabia will go to benefit those affected.

The USA-Portugal rivalry, dating to 1978, is level at 2-2-2. The Americans have not visited the reigning European champions since 1990.

The Americans beat Portugal 3-2 in a first-round group match at the 2002 World Cup on their way to the final eight while they drew 2-2 at Manaus in the 2014 World Cup at Brazil.

Portugal, which has booked its spot at next year’s World Cup in Russia, is sparked by Ronaldo, who netted 15 goals in qualifying.

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