Soccer Down Here
U.S. Men’s National Team to Play Wales on Nov. 12, in Cardiff
by Bart Keeler
The U.S. men’s national team announced on Friday a friendly against Wales on Thursday, Nov. 12, at Liberty Stadium in Swansea, Wales, at 2:45 p.m. ET.
U.S. Soccer is trying to secure a second opponent for the FIFA window. It has been rumored USSF wants to schedule the second match at Fulham’s Craven Cottage in London, but two opponents have backed out.
This will be the first official USMNT competition since February 1, 2020, before the pandemic. No fans will be allowed into Liberty Stadium for the match due to COVID-19 protocols.
Though this is not the first match of the 2022 World Cup cycle, this match may “feel like” the kickoff of the qualification campaign. Manager Gregg Berhalter is expected to call up only European-based players but does have the option to call MLSers because the match is on an official FIFA date. The February match featured mostly MLS players, plus a couple of Olympic-eligible European-based players not on their club’s first-team rosters.
“First and foremost, we are looking forward to getting the group together after such a challenging year,” Berhalter said in a release from USSF. “Wales is a quality opponent with high-level players, so it’s a good opportunity to test ourselves. We appreciate all the work by the Football Association of Wales and here at U.S. Soccer to provide this opportunity to compete.”
USMNT and Wales have only played each other once before. In 2013, the USMNT defeated the Dragons 2-0 in San Jose.
In this same FIFA window, Wales will host UEFA Nations League matches against Ireland on Sunday, Nov. 15, and Finland on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Both matches will be played in Cardiff.
Wales is currently atop Group 4 in League B of the Nations League. In October, the Dragons defeated Bulgaria 1-0 and drew with Ireland 0-0.
Of note for many soccer fans in America, Wales is managed by former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs. He notched 64 caps for his home country and has now been in charge since 2018.
Swansea’s Liberty Stadium has only hosted seven Wales matches since its opening in 2003, with a 2-3-1 record. Wales traditionally uses Cardiff City Stadium and Principality Stadium in Cardiff for major international matches.