USMNT set pre-World Cup friendly vs. Morocco
- Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC.
The United States men’s national team’s preparation for the 2022 World Cup will include a friendly match against Morocco to be held at Cincinnati’s TQL stadium on June 1.
The friendly, announced on Wednesday, is one of two that the U.S. men will play ahead of CONCACAF Nations League games against Grenada on June 10 and El Salvador four days later.
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These four matches are expected to include the full U.S. team, to better aid in preparations for the World Cup in Qatar. The United States has been drawn in Group B against England, Iran and the winner of the last remaining European playoff, either Scotland, Ukraine, or Wales.
Morocco, who are also set for Qatar 2022, is the first African team the U.S. has played during Berhalter’s tenure.
“We’re excited to face a fellow World Cup finalist and provide our team with a different challenge,” he said. “With only six international games before the World Cup, this is a critical period for our team preparation.”
The match will mark the second time in just over six months that the U.S. will play in Cincinnati, following last November’s 2-0 win over rivals Mexico in World Cup qualifying. But Berhalter is known to be a fan of the facilities and stadium of FC Cincinnati, and that influenced the decision to have the game played in the Queen City.
“Combining the magnificent training facilities, the world-class stadium and the amazing atmosphere, Cincinnati ticked all the boxes to give us a great start to these summer matches,” Berhalter said.
Morocco was dominant during their World Cup qualifying run, going unbeaten with a record of 7-0-1, while scoring 25 goals and surrendering only three. Morocco was drawn into Group F at the World Cup along with Belgium, Canada and Croatia. The USMNT has never beaten the Atlas Lions, posting a 0-3-0 record all time.
The last encounter took place in 2006 when the teams faced off in Nashville just prior to the World Cup in Germany. Morocco won that match 1-0. The previous two meetings came during the 1990’s in Morocco — a 3-1 loss on March 18, 1992 in Rabat and a 2-1 defeat on Nov. 17, 1999 in Marrakech — a match which Berhalter started for the USMNT.
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