USMNT-Ukraine Friendly in Doubt Again Due to Violence

By Phil Naegely
USMNT-Ukraine Friendly
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It has been a busy week for the US Men’s National Team. Earlier in the week, both the US and Ukraine Soccer Federations announced the March 5 friendly was moving from Kharkiv, Ukraine to Cyprus due to the ongoing Ukraine violence. On Thursday, it looked like all was at peace again as USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 24-man roster.

Well, that peace and certainty changed Friday afternoon. The Cyprus Football Association postponed all first-division matches after an explosion blew up the car of a top Cyprus official. As a result of this unexpected violence, there is now a growing doubt the USMNT will take on Ukraine in Cyprus.

With this latest news, it seems like both teams can’t avoid violence at this point. It is not clear if the friendly will be affected by this violence, but I personally think both teams would be wise to try to move the match again or just cancel it. World Cup year friendlies are important, however, safety is priority No. 1.

One possible option for the USMNT could be to play the friendly in Germany. I understand logistically it would involve many phone calls and an open, willing team to allow the game to happen in the stadium. At the same time, Ukraine might not want to travel to Germany, but it is definitely safer in Germany than in Ukraine. The reason the US might go this route is their training is taking place in Germany, so it would be easier for them to travel to a possible German stadium.

Another route USMNT could take is to cancel the friendly altogether. While this looks like a last case scenario, it’s better to not have a game than to risk the safety of an entire team just to play a game. However, the United States and Ukraine are clearly monitoring the situation, so they might find Friday’s explosion to be a rare event and find that it is safe to play the friendly in Cyprus.

With five days to go until the friendly, it is up in the air where, or if, the USMNT-Ukraine friendly will occur on March 5. As more news and updates come in, check back here at Rant Sports.

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