MNT Ends 2018 with Kickoff Series Friendly Against Italy in Genk, Belgium

U.S. MNT vs. Italy 2018
U.S. MNT vs. Italy 2018

CHICAGO (Nov. 19, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team ends its challenging 2018 calendar with its final Kickoff Series friendly against four-time World Cup champions Italy on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in Genk, Belgium.

Coverage of USA-Italy begins at 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1 and UniMas. Fans can also follow along via U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@ussoccer_MNT) and Instagram (@ussoccer_MNT) accounts.

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 60/0), 12-Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0),22-Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin/GER; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): 6-John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 36/3), 25-Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 1/0),
5-Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 6/0), 26-Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), 3-Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 11/1),18-Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu/ESP; 4/0), 19-Jorge Villafaña (Portland Timbers; 20/0), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 57/0), 21-Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 3/1)

MIDFIELDERS (9): 23-Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 22/2), 4-Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 8/1), 9-Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 5/0), 27-Romain Gall (Malmö/SWE; 0/0), 16-Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 15/4), 14-Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 4/1), 10-Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 22/9), 20-Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 10/0), 11-Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 8/1)

FORWARDS (2): 13-Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 5/2), 7-Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 44/13)


  • As of Nov. 20, 2018, the roster will carry an average age of 23 years, 318 days, while 16 players are 23 years and under.
  • Seven players are age-eligible for the 2020 Summer Olympics: Tyler Adams, Reggie Cannon, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Jonathan Klinsmann, Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah.
  • Brad Guzan (60 caps), DeAndre Yedlin (57) and Bobby Wood (44) are the senior-most players on the roster.
  • The 23 players on the roster ply their trade in nine different countries: USA (9), Germany (6), France (2); Belgium, Canada, England, Spain, Sweden and Wales (1 each)
  • Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge) currently plays his club football in Belgium.
  • Four players are with teams currently involved in the MLS Cup Playoffs: Tyler Adams and Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls); Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC) and Jorge Villafaña (Portland Timbers).
  • Midfielder Romain Gall and goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann are in the midst of their first MNT camps.
  • Gall, 23, has recorded 14 goals in 31 matches across all competitions for Swedish sides Sundsvall and his current club, Malmö in 2018.
  • Klinsmann has appeared in nine matches, keeping four clean sheets for Hertha Berlin II this season.
  • Fourteen players have represented the U.S. at a Youth World Cup: Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Luca de la Torre, Marky Delgado, Ethan Horvath, Jonathan Klinsmann, Matt Miazga, Shaq Moore, Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent, Wil Trapp, Jorge Villafaña and DeAndre Yedlin.

MNT head coach Dave Sarachan began 2018 by saying this would be a year of opportunity and experience for players, and as the year closes he has lived up to that promise. A total of 51 players have earned at least one cap in the 10 matches so far, including 19 first-timers – a figure that sits third all-time for debuts in a calendar year behind only 1992 (21 debuts, 21 GP) and 2007 (20 debuts, 18 GP). Including the debuts of Tyler Adams, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Weston McKennie in last November’s draw in Portugal that figure rises to 22, meaning Sarachan’s 11-game tenure has seen more debuts than any other modern-era MNT coach in the same time frame.

MNT Debuts in First 11 Games of Tenure

Head Coach

First Caps Awarded

Time Frame

Dave Sarachan


Nov 14, 2017-Nov. 15, 2018

Bob Bradley


Jan. 20, 2007-June 24, 2007

Bruce Arena


Nov. 6, 1998-Aug. 3, 1999

Jurgen Klinsmann


Aug. 10, 2011-May 26, 2012

Bruce Arena


Jan. 29, 2017-July 15, 2017

Bora Milutinovic


May 5, 1991-Sept. 14, 1991

Steve Sampson


April 22, 1995-July 20, 1995

One of the positives from Thursday’s match against England was the return of midfielder Sebastian Lletget. The midfielder made his first U.S. appearance since suffering a devastating lisfrac injury after a tough tackle in the MNT’s 6-0 World Cup Qualifying win against Honduras on March 24, 2017. Lletget recorded his first international goal in that match to open the scoring early, only to be forced out of the match after suffering a tough tackle minutes later. Corrective surgery and a 10-month recovery process ensued, but the midfielder returned to the field with the LA Galaxy this season and made his first international appearance since the injury on Thursday against England. 

The MNT roster was reduced to 23 players ahead of the Italy match as Weston McKennie, Kenny Saief and Luca de la Torre departed camp. McKennie was diagnosed with a left hamstring tendon strain and returned to his club to begin rehabilitation. De la Torre remained in London following the England match to continue training with Fulham, while Saief returned to Belgian club Anderlecht.

With their style long defined by defensive acumen, Italy has proven a difficult opponent for the USA to find goals against. The MNT has recorded just five in 11 all-time meetings -- one of which was the own goal in the 1-1 draw at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Check out the MNT’s small goal-scoring club against the Italians:

MNT Players to Score vs. Italy






Aldo “Buff” Donelli

May 27, 1934

1-7 L

1934 FIFA World Cup

Rome, Italy

John Harkes

June 6, 1992

1-1 D


Chicago, Ill.

Landon Donovan

June 15, 2009

1-3 L

2009 FIFA Confederations Cup

Pretoria, South Africa

Clint Dempsey

Feb. 29, 2012

1-0 W


Genoa, Italy

*The USA goal in the 2006 FIFA World Cup was credited as an own goal

Clint Dempsey score the winner for the USA vs. Italy in 2012.

With UEFA overseeing Tuesday’s friendly against Italy, the governing body for the game in Europe has elected to utilized Video Assistant Referee (“VAR”) technology during the match. VAR has been used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as well as in Major League Soccer, the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1.

The six-man referee crew for Tuesday’s match hails from Turkey:


Cüneyt Çakır (Turkey)

Assistant Referee 1:    

Bahattin Duran (Turkey)

Assistant Referee 2:   

Tarik Ongun (Turkey)

4th Official:               

Alper Ulusoy (Turkey)


Hallis Özkahya (Turkey)

Assistant VAR: 

Barış Şimşek (Turkey)

With the 2022 cycle officially underway, the process of elevating a rising crop of internationals is already in motion. Since November of last year, a total of 19 players have debuted for the senior MNT. Seventeen of them came in under 24 years old at the time of their first caps, while 10 will be age-eligible to represent the U-23 MNT in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament and 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. has profiled 11 of these hopefuls at the start of the new video series RISING: Emerging Faces of the U.S. Men’s National Team, which chronicle the route of players on their quest to become a part of the National Team by going behind the scenes with family, youth, coaches, teammates and professional club managers from across the world.


  • The teams have met 11 times, with the USA trailing the all-time series by a mark of 1-7-3
  • The USA’s lone win came in the last meeting between the two sides, using a Clint Dempsey goal to defeat Italy 1-0 on Feb. 29, 2012 in Genoa
  • Italy has been the USA’s opponent in three FIFA World Cup matches – which is the join most along with Germany.
  • The USA faced Italy in both World Cups hosted by the Azzuri, falling 7-1 at the 1934 edition before dropping a narrow, a 1-0 defeat in 1990. Both matches were played in Rome.
  • In 2006, a nine-man U.S. squad earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Italy, joining France as the two teams not to lose as the Azzuri marched on to win their fourth FIFA World Cup. 
  • Tuesday’s match in Genk, Belgium marks the USA’s first neutral site friendly since a 2-1 defeat to Colombia on Nov. 14, 2014 at Craven Cottage in London, England.
  • The USA has played three previous matches on Belgian soil – all against Belgium – going 0-3-0.
  • The MNT’s last visit to Belgium resulted in a 1-0 defeat to the Red Devils on Sept. 6, 2011 in Brussels.
  • The last meeting with England also came at the FIFA World Cup. Steven Gerrard and Clint Dempsey traded goals as the teams played to a 1-1 draw during the 2010 tournament in Rustenberg, South Africa.
  • The USA’s other win in the series came thanks to goals from Thomas Dooley and Alexi Lalas as the MNT defeated England 2-0 on June 9, 1993 in Foxborough, Mass.
  • England has hosted the MNT at Wembley Stadium twice before. On Sept. 7, 1994, the USA fell 2-0 to the Three Lions in its first match following that year’s FIFA World Cup. The MNT returned to London 14 years later, again falling 2-0 to England on May 28, 2008.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Alessio Cragno (Cagliari; 0/0), Gianluigi Donnaurumma (AC Milan; 11/0), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino; 18/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Francesco Acerbi (Lazio; 2/0), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina; 4/1), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus; 84/6), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus; 36/0), Gianluca Manchini (Atalanta; 0/0), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea/ENG; 1/0), Daniele Rugani (Juventus; 7/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Nicolò Barella (Cagliari; 3/0), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter Milan; 5/0), Vincenzo Grifo (Hoffenheim/GER; 0/0), Stefano Sensi (Sassuolo; 0/0), Sandro Tonali (Brescia; 0/0), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 28/1)

FORWARDS (6): Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo; 4/0), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina; 10/0), Moise Kean (Juventus; 0/0), Kevin Lasagna (Udinese; 2/0), Leonardo Pavoletti (Cagliari; 0/0), Matteo Politano (Inter Milan; 1/0)


  • Italy currently sits 19th in the FIFA World Rankings.
  • The Azzuri are currently coached by Roberto Mancini, best known for his time guiding Manchester City to its first Premier League title in 2011-12, Mancini also won three-straight Serie A titles with Inter Milan from 2006-08.
  • Italy are 2-3-5 in 2018 and unbeaten in their last three matches.
  • Playing their final match of the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League group stage on Saturday, Italy drew 0-0 with reigning European Champions Portugal in Milan.
  • While the Italians didn’t win UEFA Nations League Group 3, their second place finish did ensure they would remain in League A for the next edition of the competition.
  • Italy midfielder Marco Verratti is teammates with MNT winger Tim Weah at Paris Saint-Germain.