U.S. Men’s National Team to Begin Two-Match European Tour on March 26 against the NetherlandsUSMNT Preparing for Nations League Semifinal and Start of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Second March Opponent to be Announced Soon
CHICAGO (Dec. 13, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will begin a two-match European tour when they face 14th-ranked Netherlands on March 26 at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven. The match will kick off at 3:45 p.m. ET, with broadcast and ticket details still to be finalized.
These will be the first away friendlies during the tenure of U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter. Having qualified for the 2020 European Championship out of the same group as Germany, the Netherlands will be the fourth team ranked in the Top 20 in the world to play the United States in Berhalter’s tenure, and the 10th overall against the USMNT in the last two years.
“One of the important parts of continuing to develop this group is the opportunity to play against high-level opponents away from home,” Berhalter said. “The Netherlands is a soccer powerhouse featuring some of the world’s best talent. This game will be a good chance to compete as we build toward the important competitions in the summer and fall.”
The matches will serve as an important preparation opportunity for the rest of the year as the USMNT will compete in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal in June and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in September.
This will be the sixth meeting overall between the nations dating back to 1998, with the Netherlands holding a 4-1-0 advantage in the series. The lone USMNT victory came in stunning fashion, when the United States erased a 3-1 deficit with three unanswered goals to win 4-3 on June 5, 2015, in Amsterdam. Gyasi Zardes netted his first career goal for the MNT and John Brooks got on the board before Bobby Wooded scored the game-winner in the 90th minute to stun the sixth-ranked Oranje. With the previous three matches being played at the Johan Cruyff ArenA, this meeting moves to the home of PSV Eindhoven.
The Dutch are captained by defender Virgil van Dijk, runner up for the 2019 FIFA Best Male Player and marshal of the backline that led Liverpool to the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League title. Recent rosters have boasted players from the league championship winning teams in Italy (Juventus), Holland (Ajax), Spain (Barcelona) and Turkey (Galatasary).
There are several ties between the USMNT and our Dutch friends. Ajax defender Sergiño Dest is a dual citizen who recently committed his international future to the United States, the 19-year-old having sealed the deal when he started in the 4-1 win against Canada in the Concacaf Nations League. Jozy Altidore set a record for U.S. goal scorers in Europe when he tallied 31 goals in all competitions during the 2012-13 campaign for AZ Alkmaar. The sporting director for the club at the time was Earnie Stewart, a three-time U.S. World Cup veteran and Dutch-American who spent the majority of his professional playing career in Holland and now serves in the same role for the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Michael Bradley also had a career-best year while playing for Heerenveen. Having been the youngest player from MLS to be sold to a European club, he scored 16 goals in the 2007-08 season, also a single-season high for an American in Europe at the time. Memorably, legendary USMNT attacker DaMarcus Beasley began a strong tenure in Europe by playing at Philips Stadium with PSV Eindhoven, helping the club to two Eredivisie titles, a Dutch Cup and the semifinals of the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League. U.S. boss Gregg Berhalter spent six years of his playing career in the Dutch Eredivisie with spells at Zwolle, Sparta Rotterdam and Cambuur Leeuwarden.
COMPETITION COMING UP
The March matches are a prelude to two significant competitions in 2020, beginning with the Concacaf Nations League final four. Winners of League A, Group A, the USMNT takes on Honduras in one semifinal while Mexico-Costa Rica will square off in the other, with the winners competing for the inaugural Nations League title. The matches are scheduled for the FIFA window in the first week of June, with the venues and times still to be determined. Those games serve as prelude to the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, featuring the top-six ranked teams in Concacaf as of June that year. Once the draw for the Hex is completed in the summer, six of the 10 matches in group play will be contested in the fall with two each in the windows for September, October and November.