Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Violent clashes threaten March 5 friendly
by Paul Kennedy, February 19th, 2014 8:17AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team

MOST COMMENTED

[UKRAINE-USA] In the wake of reports that 25 police and protesters were killed in violent clashes as the backdrop, U.S. Soccer has a tough decision to make in the coming days: go ahead with the U.S. national team's March 5 friendly against Kharkiv or scrap it?

The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens in the wake of violent clashes. The protests are against President Viktor F. Yanukovych and pit generally pro-western citizens against a government seen as tilting toward Russia, echoing the days when Ukraine was part of the Soviet bloc. The Ukraine-USA game happens to be scheduled to be played in the pro-Russian city of Kharkiv -- the first capital of Soviet Ukraine in 1922.

Ukraine -- which lost out to France in a two-leg playoff for a finals spot -- gives the USA a chance to play a European team in a tune-up for the World Cup, where it will face two European teams, Germany and Portugal.

But the late date the game was announced -- Jan. 16 -- suggests that Ukraine was not the first choice as most big teams would have had their March 5 friendlies -- the last games with their full squads before rosters must be submitted to FIFA -- already finalized shortly after the World Cup draw on Dec. 6.

Kharkiv -- located 300 miles east of Kiev and near the Russian border -- was isn't exactly the most convenient location to host a game. U.S. players -- most of whom are expected to be European-based -- are scheduled to assemble in Frankfurt, Germany, for training on Monday and Tuesday and then take a charter flight to Kharkiv.

There is precedent for the USA pulling out of a friendly. It canceled a February 2011 match against Egypt nine days before the game was to be played as the Egyptian Revolution took off. On the other hand, FIFA went ahead with and the USA played in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup in Istanbul shortly after millions of citizens demonstrated against the Turkish government and 11 Turks were killed.

The crisis doesn't exactly come at the most convenient time. U.S. national team staff is in Florianopolis, Brazil, where FIFA is hosting a three-day workshop for representatives of the 32 nations competing at the World Cup.

UPDATE. Dynamo Kiev's Europa League game at home against Spain's Valencia on Thursday was moved to the Cypriot capital of Nicosia because of the situation in Kiev. The Dnipro-Tottenham game in  Dnipropetrovsk and  will go ahead in Ukraine as planned even though President Viktor Yanukovich declared Thursday a day of mourning.


1 comment
  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: February 20, 2014 at 3:06 p.m.
    Let's all hope the situation stabilizes to the point our Nat's safety is guaranteed, before we let them take the pitch. Looking forward to a match on euro/asia soil!


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
The Good, the Bad and -- holiday greeting cards    
Europe in a nutshell: A goal of the month volley from Italy, a dive of the ...
Gall and Gooch lead U.S. U-20s past Honduras    
The U.S. under-20 national team wrapped up its trip to San Pedro Sula with a second ...
Brazil captures women's tourney ahead of USA    
Brazil won the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia when it tied the USA, 0-0, before 11,000 fans ...
Diego Lopez returns to Rapids as director of soccer    
Claudio Lopez, who played for Argentina in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, has returned to ...
What They're Saying: Tim Howard    
"I think the MLS have probably made their own problem. New York is owned by Manchester ...
Video Pick: A keeper gaffe for the ages     
The record will show that Lierse defender Arjan Swinkels scored an own goal in Saturday's 6-0 ...
U.S. Abroad: Weekend Hot (and Cold) List    
Brad Guzan made eight saves as 10-man Aston Villa earned a 1-1 tie with Manchester United. ...
Three takeaways from Liverpool-Arsenal    
Energetic attacking and sloppy defending in their 2-2 tie Sunday illustrated why Arsenal and Liverpool are ...
Three takeaways from Club World Cup    
Real Madrid's winning streak is now 22 games following its 2-0 win over San Lorenzo of ...
U.S. U-18s split two-game series with Germany    
The U.S. under-18 men's national team dropped a 3-2 decision to Germany's U-18s to finish with ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives