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25

Jun, 2018

A Youthful US Men's National Team

It’s been a period of renewal for the U.S. Men’s National Team. After narrowly missing out on qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the side’s next generation has delivered performances that have shown the promise of things to come.

Now, U.S. Soccer has begun laying the path for the MNT as a new World Cup cycle begins this fall. On the docket is one of the most demanding schedules the team has faced in a calendar year, as the MNT will play matches against nations that have a combined 10 World Cup titles. A total of six games will be played across two continents with Brazil, England, Italy and Mexico currently scheduled for the MNT’s Kickoff Series this fall.

The curtain raiser comes with USA-Brazil, presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance, as the USA hosts the five-time World Cup champions on Sept. 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That match is followed by the next chapter of the region’s chief rivalry in USA-Mexico, presented by AT&T, on Sept. 11 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.

In November, the MNT will head abroad yet again to give its youthful squad another double-dose of challenging matches against storied European sides England (Nov. 15; Wembley Stadium in London) and Italy (Nov. 20; site TBD).

U.S. Soccer will confirm the MNT’s October schedule at a later date.

Combined with the draw in France earlier this month, the Kickoff Series will provide the USA a minimum of five matches against Top-20 teams, according to the June FIFA World Rankings. History indicates the matches will be very challenging and results will not be the measure, but rather it’s the experiences they will provide that will be invaluable according to MNT General Manager Earnie Stewart.

“We are at the beginning phase of building our identity,” he said. “These games are obviously huge challenges, and for young players it’s an opportunity to see the benchmark of some of the top teams in the world. We can use these experiences to learn about ourselves and take the next steps towards developing into the team we want to become.”

MNT All-Time Record vs. Kickoff Series Opponents

Team

GP

W

L

D

GF

GA

Brazil

18

1

17

0

12

39

England

10

2

7

1

9

36

Italy

11

1

7

3

5

32

Mexico

67

18

34

15

78

137

TOTALS

106

22

65

19

104

244

While the records speak for themselves, they will not be the focus of a youthful MNT side that has already faced some formidable foes and welcomes the opportunity to grow.

Since November 2017, the USA earned hard-fought 1-1 draws on the road at Top-10 ranked Portugal and again way to France earlier in June. It’s two wins have come against South American sides Paraguay and Bolivia and its only defeat came in a narrow 2-1 loss at Ireland.

A learning curve remains, but for a team with an eye on its return to the World Cup the immediate challenges ahead will serve as a great starting point to begin the new cycle.

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