Photo credit: AFP.

The United States will launch its 2016 season with friendlies against Iceland and Canada before resuming 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Tuesday. The US team will entertain Iceland on Jan. 31 and welcome Canada on Feb. 5, with both matches in suburban Los Angeles.

“Iceland is one of the up-and-coming soccer nations in Europe,” Klinsmann said. “They have been really impressive in qualifying for the European Championship for the first time, and they have earned huge compliments for their youth player development. Their players are now spread across the big leagues in Europe.”

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The Americans and Iceland are 2-2-2 in a series dating to 1955, but this will be their first meeting in more than 20 years.

The Americans have not lost to Canada in 35 years, a run that includes eight triumphs, and lead their rivalry 13-8 with 12 drawn.

“As we know from our past meetings, Canada is a difficult opponent that is not easy to break down,” Klinsmann said. “It’s a good experience to play against them, particularly for some of our younger players. They started off on the right foot in World Cup qualifying, having won at home and picking up a point on the road in El Salvador, so this will be a good challenge.”

The US and Canadian squads will resume North American qualifying for the World Cup in March.