USMNT to host Uruguay for friendly to prepare for CONCACAF Nations League

Tim Ream USMNT
CINCINNATI, OH — JUNE 09: Tim Ream (13) of the United States (USMNT) dribbles the ball in action during a friendly international match between the United States and Venezuela on June 09, 2019 at Nippert Stadium, in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

St. Louis, Missouri (July 26, 2019) — To be the best, you have to compete against the best. Just last month, the U.S. Men’s National Team and Uruguay competed in their own separate tournaments. While the United States fell short in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, Uruguay crashed out in the Quarterfinal to Peru.

Now, with tournament losses behind them, both teams are eying their own respective qualification rounds for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. On Thursday, U.S. Soccer announced that the USMNT would face off against Uruguay to prepare for their CONCACAF Nations League qualifying bout.

The match will be held in St. Louis at Busch Stadium.

The last time the USMNT took a trip to St. Louis was during World Cup qualifying for Russia. However, despite not making the tournament, the USMNT picked up a 6-1 victory back in November 2015 over St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Bill DeWitt II, the president of the St. Louis Cardinals, said that he’s “very excited” to bring the USMNT back at Busch.

“We know that soccer fans have enjoyed games at Busch Stadium in the past, and this should be another great, world class matchup,” DeWitt said, via a press release.

Meanwhile, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter called the match against Uruguay a challenge.

“They possess a mixture of top-level offensive difference makers and experienced defenders that have competed on the world stage for years,” Berhalter said. “Part of the development of our team is being able to consistently compete against teams with the profile of Uruguay. In the National Team we also speak about the importance of tradition, and St. Louis has one of the great soccer legacies in the United States.”

“We look forward to adding to that history in September.”

Will the St. Louis natives make the USMNT roster?

There are two USMNT players that are familiar with St. Louis.

Tim Ream, who has 35 appearances with the USMNT, has been a stalwart on Berhalter’s defense. Ream, who features for Fulham in England, as been a faux left back for Berhalter. In the former Columbus Crew head coach’s system, Ream features almost like a third left back. He’s been receiving consistent call ups under Berhalter.

Ream has technically been part of the national team since 2010. However, under coaches like Bob Bradley, Jürgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena, his attendance at camp was spaced out and limited.

Ream has been with Fulham since 2015, making 133 appearances. The 31-year-old also has two goals with the club.

Meanwhile, Ream isn’t the only St. Louis guy in the national team pool.

Josh Sargent was notably omitted from the Gold Cup roster. The striker has been getting first-team action with Werder Bremen. In a recent interview, former USMNT striker Aron Johannsson called his former teammate a special talent and said he has enormous qualities.

“I don’t want to say too much because I feel like I don’t want to overhype him but he’s an amazing talent and he can reach levels that I don’t think many strikers from America have reached,” Johannsson said. “But he’s still young and he still needs to learn. That’s what I hope he will do that he will be patient and he will learn and he will listen to people giving him advice and stuff like this.”

Sargent has scored two goals in 10 Bundesliga appearances with Werder.

Team Spotlight: Uruguay

If you’re a Seattle Sounders fan, then there’s one player for Uruguay that might interest you.

Aside from stars like Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani, there’s familiar player that features in MLS for Uruguay. Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro has 60 appearances for the national team. He’s also scored five goals for Uruguay. Lodeiro scored once during the Copa America, against Ecaudor on June 16.

Uruguay has also mixed some youth within the squad. Featuring for Atlético Madrid, defender José Giménez already has more than 50 appearances, despite only being 24-years-old. Meanwhile, Boca Juniors midfielder Nahitan Nández is searching for his first national team goal.

Before the Copa America, Uruguay competed in the China Cup, where they won both matches against Uzbekistan and Thailand. In a tune-up friendly before the Copa America, Uruguay smashed Panama, 3-0.

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