USMNT to face El Salvador on Dec. 9 in South Florida with limited fan attendance
CHICAGO – The U.S. Men’s National Team will face El Salvador on Dec. 9 in South Florida, the team’s third match in less than a month.
Kickoff for the USMNT’s first match at the home of Inter Miami CF in Fort Lauderdale is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on an ESPN Network, UniMás and TUDN.
The staging of the camp and the match will fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols. Due to the evolving conditions related to the global pandemic, capacity for the event will be limited to 2,500 fans.
“Playing against El Salvador gives us an opportunity to face a Concacaf opponent that we haven’t seen yet and will be a valuable experience,” U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We want to build on this year’s work while continuing to evaluate the player pool as we head into a busy 2021.”
The U.S. team and staff will operate inside a controlled environment in a hotel. Everyone entering the controlled environment will undergo multiple COVID-19 tests in advance of traveling, and then will be tested upon arrival and at least every two days during camp. There will be no full team training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed.
Using an almost exclusively European-based roster earlier this month, the USMNT first drew 0-0 at Wales in a contest where six players earned their first cap for the senior team. Deploying the second youngest lineup in team history, the group then rolled to a 6-2 win against regional foe Panama in Austria.
AGAINST EL SALVADOR
The Concacaf foes are quite familiar, with the USMNT holding a 17-1-5 all-time advantage in the series dating back to 1977. This will be the first friendly meeting in more than a decade, the previous match also having taken place in Florida when goals by Brian Ching and Sacha Kljestan paced the USA to a 2-1 win on Feb. 24, 2010 in Tampa. The most recent encounter came in the Quarterfinals of the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, as first-half goals from defenders Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj led to a 2-0 shutout in front of 31,615 at Lincoln Financial Field.
IN SOUTH FLORIDA
It’s been more than six years since the USMNT last took the field in South Florida, with Jozy Altidore the last goal scorer as the USA drew 1-1 with Honduras on Oct. 14, 2014 in Boca Raton. It’s even longer since they’ve been in Fort Lauderdale, dating all the way back to a 4-0 shutout of Canada on Jan. 18, 2003, at the old Lockhart Stadium.
With the launch of a new MLS team in South Florida, Lockhart Stadium gave way to Inter Miami CF Stadium, a sparkling new 18,000-seat venue adjacent to the 50,000 square foot Inter Miami CF Training Center for the clubs’ MLS, USL League One and youth academy teams.
FAN SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND GUIDELINES
All fans will be required to wear face coverings throughout the duration of time on stadium premises except when eating or drinking. A socially distanced stadium seating manifest has been designed to keep fans in place and within their own parties of four or less. Adequate spacing between the field of play and ticket purchasers has been arranged. To keep ticket holders in the stadium spaced out appropriately, every other row will be left empty. Each occupied row will have a maximum of two parties (each comprised of four or fewer people), allowing each party to access the aisle closest to its seats without stepping over another party. Every party will have at least six feet of space between it and other parties. Tickets will not be issued for the first two seats closest to the aisle. Reserved seating only, general admission seating will not be allowed. Fans are encouraged to not bring in bags of any kind. Tailgating will not be allowed and ticket purchasers are encouraged to purchase parking passes in advance. All tickets will be mobile-only. Additional safety protocols and guidelines for the event can be found at www.ussoccer.com
The last match of 2020 is a prelude to three significant competitions in 2021 for both the senior team and the U-23 MNT. The Concacaf U-23 championship is expected to be held in March and will determine the confederation’s representatives at the Olympic Games in Tokyo that summer.
In the meantime, the USMNT kicks off the summer with the Concacaf Nations League final four. As the winners of League A’s Group A, the USMNT takes on Honduras in one semifinal, while Mexico and Costa Rica will square off in the other, with the winners competing for the inaugural Nations League title. The matches are scheduled for the FIFA window in the first week of June, with the venues and times still to be determined.
The following month, the U.S. will compete in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup in search of its seventh confederation championship title. The USMNT has been drawn into Group A with Canada, Martinique and a third team to be determined through a qualifying tournament. The United States last lifted the trophy in 2017, when Jordan Morris netted the game-winner against Jamaica in the 2-1 victory.
Those games serve as prelude to the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which will feature an eight-team final round and commence in September of 2021.