US men’s soccer to play at Northern Ireland on March 28

<p>CHICAGO &mdash; The U.S. men’s soccer team will play 45th-ranked Northern Ireland in an exhibition at Belfast’s Windsor Park on March 28 in the second of two matches planned for the FIFA fixture window.</p>
<p>The U.S. Soccer Federation also is planning to play a friendly in Europe on March 25.</p>
<p>Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the match will be played in a stadium without fans, the USSF said Tuesday.</p>
<p>Because the games are during a FIFA window, most Europe-based U.S. players are likely to be available.</p>
<p>The 22nd-ranked U.S. has played just four times in the past year due to the pandemic: a 0-0 draw at Wales on Nov. 12 followed four days later with a 6-2 win over Panama at Wiener Neustadt, Austria, both with the full player pool; followed by a 6-0 victory over El Salvador and a 7-0 rout of Trinidad and Tobago, mostly with players from Major League Soccer.</p>
<p>The U.S. is preparing for a match from May 31-June 8 against Honduras in a semifinal of the CONCACAF Nations League followed by a championship or third-place game against Mexico or Costa Rica. The CONCACAF Gold Cup starts July 2 and includes first-round matches against Canada, Martinique and either Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala or Guyana.</p>
<p>The delayed start of World Cup qualifying from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 includes a match at El Salvador or Trinidad and Tobago, a home game that could be against Canada or Haiti, and a road game at Honduras.</p>
<p>October includes home qualifiers against Jamaica and Costa Rica around a road qualifier at Guatemala or Panama, and November has a home qualifier against Mexico and a road qualifier at Jamaica.</p>
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