With a team made up of only Major League Soccer players, the US team will host Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday for a friendly match in Orlando (Florida) that will serve as a test lab for the major challenges of 2021.
The North American team has an intense year ahead of it, and if the coronavirus epidemic allows it, it will compete in the final stage of the CONCACAF Nations League, the Gold Cup and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup Qatar.
In addition, a total of 16 players called up for the match against Trinidad and Tobago would qualify for a potential U-23 side in the Tokyo Olympics, if the United States qualified in Guadalajara (Mexico) in pre-Olympic qualification in March.
With his greatest personalities like Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Weston McKinney (Juventus) or Sergio Dest (FC Barcelona) playing matches in Europe, coach Greg Berhalter took advantage of the MLS break to work with local footballers in a 20-day focus at IMG Academy In Bradenton, Florida, about 200 miles southwest of Orlando.
“The past two weeks have been a real joy. The hard work and determination demonstrated by the entire group confirm that these players are heading in the right direction,” Perhalter stressed.
– Possible debut for Colombian Beria, too –
Andres Perea, the 20-year-old Orlando City midfielder, is one of 10 players who could make his debut with the US first team on Sunday.
Born in Tampa (Florida), raised in Colombia, his parents’ home country, he made his debut for Atlético Nacional and represented the coffee team in low-level tournaments, including the U-17 World Cup in 2017 and the U-20 World Cup. In 2019.
But when the time came to choose the first team, the player chose the United States national team and asked FIFA to change the association that was awarded several weeks ago.
“Seeing such a young generation motivates me,” Beria said of his reasons for choosing the United States. “It’s a generation that plays well in Europe. Knowing that you can be part of this process motivates and influences a lot, because they are young players with many aspirations.”
For Trinidad and Tobago, the crash means a return to activity after 14 months without playing any international matches. Their last game was a 4-0 defeat to Honduras in November 2019 in the CONCACAF Nations League.
The friendly match in Orlando used his new coach, Terry Fenwick, in preparation for the March 25 match against Guyana in the first stage of CONCACAF Qatar 2022 qualifiers, which the United States will join in September for the final round.
The last time the two teams met, the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 in the 2019 Gold Cup.
The North American team faced that match with extra motivation since the Caribbean team knocked them out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 2-1 victory in their last qualifying match two years ago.
The match will kick off at 7:00 pm local time (00:00 GMT Monday) at Explora Stadium in Orlando (Florida), with a maximum of 4,500 fans allowed entry.
gbv / ol
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