USA-Mexico friendly set for April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium
The U.S. national team will play its final friendly prior to the start of May’s pre-World Cup training camp on April 2 against rival Mexico at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., U.S. Soccer confirmed Thursday.
That mid-week date isn’t on FIFA’s international calendar, meaning U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann likely will name a roster comprised of players based in North America (MLS and Liga MX). The match will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 11 p.m. ET.
“We are going to be watching our players very carefully before making final decisions on the roster for the World Cup, so this will be a great benchmark to see where they are at and how they compete against our biggest rivals,” Klinsmann said in U.S. Soccer’s release.
“Games against Mexico are always special for the players and for the fans. We expect that it will be an amazing atmosphere in Phoenix with supporters for both teams, and it’s great to have an opportunity to play before the start of the World Cup. You couldn’t ask for a better experience to help with our preparations.”
The U.S. and Mexico met at the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals back in February 2007. The Americans won by the traditional 2-0, Dos-A-Cero score on second-half goals by Jimmy Conrad and Landon Donovan.
Klinsmann’s squad is on a 2-0-2 run against its arch rivals dating back to the manager’s first game in charge, a 1-1 draw in Philadelphia in August 2011. The U.S. went 1-0-1 in last year’s World Cup qualifiers, gaining a point in a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Azteca before returning in September to Columbus, Ohio, for another 2-0 win. Later that night, the U.S. sealed passage to the 2014 World Cup with two qualifiers to spare.
The pre-World Cup schedule is close to set. Klinsmann will see his team in halves — a mostly European-based contingent against Ukraine on March 5 and the North American players a month later in Arizona. The U.S. then will convene in mid May to begin preparing for the World Cup.
Klinsmann reportedly will gather his players in Northern California for a May 27 match at Stanford University. They then will head east for a June 1 game at Red Bull Arena before flying to Florida for a send-off game on June 7. ESPN reported that the finale will be against African champion Nigeria, likely in Jacksonville.
The U.S. departs for São Paulo the following day.