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US men to play first home game since lockdown next month

Miami (AFP) – The United States will host El Salvador in an international football friendly on December 9 in Florida, their first home match since the coronavirus pandemic hit the nation, US Soccer announced Sunday.

The US last played at home in a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica on February 1 in California.

The match will be played at the stadium of Inter Miami, the Major League Soccer outfit owned by retired England star David Beckham, with only 2,500 spectators allowed to attend due to Covid-19 safety precautions.

The Americans played out a goalless draw in Wales, with six players making debuts, and beat Panama 6-2 in Austria earlier this month.

The El Salvador match heralds a busy 2021 for the US, including Tokyo Olympic qualifying in March, the CONCACAF Nations League playoffs in June, the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying next September.

“Playing against El Salvador gives us an opportunity to face a CONCACAF opponent that we haven’t seen yet and will be a valuable experience,” US coach Gregg Berhalter said.

The US team will operate inside a bubble at the team hotel and training area, while all matchday spectators must be masked and observe social-distancing requirements.

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