USMNT Reportedly to Host El Salvador in December
by Bart Keeler
Reports from multiple sources indicate the United States men’s national team will host an international friendly against El Salvador on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Inter Miami CF Stadium, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Thought not yet announced, this means head coach Gregg Berhalter will call a training camp in early December 2020. Because this is a non-FIFA window, many of the players called in will be players whose club season has finished. This includes MLS or Liga MX players who are not competing in their league’s tournament.
La Primera Division de El Salvador is in the Apertura season and has matches scheduled on the weekends surrounding the proposed friendly date.
IMCF Stadium will host the first USMNT friendly in South Florida since 2014. This will be the first USMNT in Fort Lauderdale since 1999 at Lockhart Stadium, on which IMCF Stadium stands. The stadium officially opened for the club’s inaugural season in July of this year.
No word on spectator allowance in the stadium that holds 18,000 fans has surfaced. Both Inter Miami and Orlando City allowed a limited number of fans into their stadiums at the end of the 2020 MLS regular season. Less than 3,000 fans attended the final Inter Miami home match on November 8.
However, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase around the U.S., it’s unlikely U.S. Soccer will try to fill the stadium beyond that attendance number, if at all.
This will be only the third training camp of the year for the USMNT and the second held stateside. In January, Berhalter called in a group of mostly MLS players with a few young European-based players. Recently, he called a majority European-based squad for friendlies in November 2020.
El Salvador, currently the sixth-highest Concacaf team in the FIFA World Rankings, is preparing for what could be a long World Cup qualifying campaign. La Azul y Blanco is in Group A of the first round of Concacaf’s qualification process and is scheduled to play Grenada and Montserrat in March 2021. They will look to finish first in that group and then win the playoff match to advance to the final round of qualifying—The Octagonal.
The Yanks do not have an official competition on their schedule until June 2021, but Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifiers are expected to take place in the first quarter of 2021. Berhalter is expected to call the traditional domestic training camp in January 2021.
(photo credit: Reddit user HeKnOW)