U.S Match Against Ukraine at Risk of Cancellation
Created on Feb 20, 2014 12:10 AM EST
With political unrest and protests that have left the city of Kiev in a war-like state, the United States Men's National Team might be forced to cancel their exhibition match against the Ukraine on March 5.
Anti-government protesters have been battling against police in the country's capital city with no end in sight. Deaths and injuries have been reported on both sides of the conflict and the situation poses a serious threat to foreign visitors.
The USMNT are scheduled to play the penultimate of their World Cup warm-up matches in Kharkiv, 250 miles west of Kiev. However, should the situation on the ground worsen, the U.S and Ukrainian soccer federations have a few options.
Because the center of attention in the protests is in Kiev, the Ukrainian soccer federation could simply heighten security or change the location of the match elsewhere in the country.
If the security of the USMNT is in serious question, U.S Soccer can cancel the match. They made a similar decision in 2011 when the USMNT were scheduled to play a friendly in Cairo, Egypt, but because of protests, called off the match.
The only other option is to find another opponent which may be difficult to do. USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann would prefer to have the match in a central European location, because the March 5 date is the last opportunity European clubs will have to let their international players go. Having the game in Europe would allow Klinsmann to easily have his European-based players train in Frankfurt, Germany and then travel to the match two days later. If the match is cancelled and the USMNT cannot find another opponent to play, Klinsmann will lose a chance to evaluate his European-based players during match play.
Klinsmann's side is scheduled to play rival Mexico in April but will not have the opportunity to invite his European players.
For now, the match against the Ukraine remains as scheduled to be played at Stadium Metallist in Kharkiv.