The U.S. men have filled out three dates on the international calendar, taking on two teams who also missed the World Cup in addition to one of the favorites in Russia.
A couple of days after U.S. Soccer elected its new president, the U.S. men's national team has its new marching orders for the 2018 slate of international dates.
The U.S. men will host Paraguay in North Carolina during the fixture window in late March before heading to Europe for a pair of June friendlies against Ireland and France, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday.
The first of the matches will take place in Cary's Sahlen Stadium on March 27, with the Americans only playing one match in the window. The two sides last met in the Copa America Centenario group stage, with the USA winning 1-0 on a Clint Dempsey goal to reach the knockout rounds.
The U.S. will then play Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on June 2 before facing France on June 9 at Groupama Stadium in Lyon. Ireland missed out on a World Cup berth after falling in the UEFA qualifying playoffs to Denmark. France, meanwhile, will be one of the favorites in Russia and will be using the match as a tune-up before embarking on group play vs. Australia, Peru and Denmark.
"Serious about the ambition to field a men’s team considered among the best in the world, U.S. Soccer will continue to seek matches against world-class soccer nations and in world-class venues," U.S. Soccer wrote in a statement. "More high-profile games are expected to be added for the friendly dates in September, October and November, which will deliver one of the most demanding non-tournament schedules in MNT history."
Who will lead the U.S. in those future matches remains to be seen, but it figures to be interim manager Dave Sarachan who remains at the helm for the friendly vs. Paraguay at the very least.
Under new president Carlos Cordeiro, U.S. Soccer is expected to name a general manager/technical director on both the men's and women's sides, with personnel decisions expected to fall under that umbrella.
With Sarachan in charge, the U.S. men are 0-0-2, drawing Portugal 1-1 in November before playing Bosnia-Herzegovina to a 0-0 draw to close last month's January camp. Unlike for the January match, the U.S. will have the whole player pool at its disposal for these three friendlies given that they are on FIFA dates.