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USA finalizing February date with Mexico
by Ridge Mahoney, December 9th, 2009 7AM

TAGS:  men's national team, mexico, world cup


[U.S. SOCCER] Whether it's for the money or to assist preparations for the 2010 World Cup, U.S. Soccer is negotiating to play a friendly against Mexico in February. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney looks at what the USA's World Cup preparation game schedule could look like.

According to a source, several cities - at least one of which has hosted a USA-Mexico friendly in the past - are in the running to stage the game. It would be the second game on the national team's calendar this year, following a Jan. 24 game against Honduras at Home Depot Center that has been reported in the Honduran press but not confirmed by U.S. Soccer.

On a conference call shortly after the World Cup draw, U.S. coach Bob Bradley mentioned a game in February without reference to any opponent. Its site may depend in part whether Bradley wants to call in European-based players, which would probably prompt a venue in the Eastern time zone, or go with a mostly MLS/Scandinavian-based squad, as will be the case against Honduras.

As a midweek game not scheduled on a FIFA international fixture date, foreign clubs would not be bound to release players before the prior weekend, but MLS teams in preseason could grant their players a longer absence.

In addition to their meetings in Hexagonal qualifying play and Concacaf Gold Cup, the USA and Mexican national teams have played each other regularly in friendlies, usually early in the year. This year was an exception, since they were drawn against each other in the Hexagonal opener Feb. 11, and also met in the Gold Cup final in July before squaring off at Azteca Stadium Aug. 12 in the Hexagonal return leg.

Mexico is discussing a friendly against England, which plays the USA in the World Cup, as part of those teams' preparations. They would play in London at Wembley Stadium as England's final domestic match before traveling to South Africa.

The USA is seeking an opponent for a game March 3 -- the only pre-World Cup FIFA international fixture date -- in Europe. The Dutch FA (KNVB) has confirmed its team is a possible opponent, and also on the radar is Northern Ireland, either in March or May.

In the past seven years, the USA has played friendlies against Mexico in Denver; Dallas; Glendale, Ariz. (near Phoenix); and Houston (twice).


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