All proceeds from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming friendly against Portugal will go to benefit wildfire victims in Central and Northern Portugal. Wildfires raged through the region last month and over the summer, claiming more than 100 lives. The USA takes on the European champions on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. ET (FS1, Univision, UniMas).
Originally scheduled to be played in Faro, last month the Portuguese Football Federation moved Tuesday’s match to Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa in Leiria, near the affected area to serve as a “solidarity match.” Proceeds from Portugal’s Friday night friendly, a 3-0 win against Saudi Arabia, are also going towards wildfire relief.
All of Portugal’s national television networks will broadcast Tuesday’s game as part of a telethon to help raise more funds. Additionally, the Portuguese Federation has created a value-added telephone line for donations, available only during the matches.
This year’s blazes have been the deadliest in the country’s history and its worst natural disaster in living memory. Hundreds have been injured and nearly 700,000 acres of forest have been affected.
The wildfires in Portugal ravaged the country at the same time as a series of devastating blazes burned through California. Portugal’s efforts to benefit victims hit close to home for MNT players Lynden Gooch and Jorge Villafaña, both from California. Additionally, the entire MNT coaching staff resides in the Golden State.
“We live in an area that has suffered great tragedy with fires and we know about that in California,” Acting MNT head coach Dave Sarachan said. “We’re very well aware of the tragedy that happened here and very sympathetic to the people that suffered. It’s good to know that our game is going to be watched by so many and hopefully there is a lot of money raised for those that have suffered.”