Ukraine federation: USA friendly will still be played, but moved to Cyprus from Kharkiv
The violent government protests in Ukraine that have resulted in the deaths of dozens and created an unsafe environment across the country have forced the U.S. men's national team to change up its plans for next week's friendly against the Ukraine national team.
The two, slated to play on March 5 -- the last FIFA international match day prior to the pre-World Cup training camp -- have had their game moved from Kharkiv to Cyprus, the Ukraine federation announced on Tuesday. U.S. Soccer confirmed the change Tuesday afternoon with the following statement:
“After discussions with the Ukrainian Football Federation, we have decided not to play in Ukraine on March 5 and are planning to move the match to a city in Cyprus. We are in the final stages of discussions with Ukraine and the Cyprus Football Association to determine the location and kickoff time. We hope to have confirmation on all the match details by Wednesday.”
Cyprus was also the site for the moved UEFA Europa League knockout-round game between Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev and Valencia last Thursday. That match was played at GSP Stadium in Nicosia.
Regardless of what was to happen with the friendly -- which always seemed destined to be moved considering the current state of affairs in Ukraine -- U.S. Soccer had maintained that a two-day training camp in Frankfurt, Germany, was going to take place. The roster, which is expected to be released later in the week, is slated to be comprised mostly of European-based players. According to multiple reports, Bayern Munich German-American youngster Julian Green, who is ineligible to play for the USA unless he files for a one-time FIFA international allegiance switch, is set to take part in that camp as the recruitment of the 18-year-old forward continues.