West Ham’s Tomas Soucek, right, kicks the ball ahead of Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Chelsea at London Stadium, London, England, Saturday, April 24, 2021. (Justin Setterfield/Pool via AP)
CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. men’s soccer team will play Costa Rica in an exhibition on June 9 at Sandy, Utah, the Americans’ fourth match in an 11-day span designed to simulate the compacted World Cup qualifying schedule.
The team gathers in Europe and starts the run of games on May 30 with a friendly against Switzerland in St. Gallen.
The Americans then play Honduras on June 3 at Denver in the semifinal of the first CONCACAF Nations League, their first competitive match since beating Cuba 4-0 in the Nations League group stage on Nov. 19, 2019.
The Nations League championship or third-place match, against Mexico or Costa Rica, will be at Denver on June 6.
The friendly match against Costa Rica was announced Thursday.
These figure to be the last prep matches for the full U.S. player pool ahead of the delayed start of World Cup qualifying. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter expects to let his Europe-based regulars take vacation during the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the Americans open against Canada from July 10-12, then finish the group stage against Martinique and then either Guatemala, Haiti, Guyana or St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Americans open qualifying for the 2022 tournament in Qatar on Sept. 2, likely at either Trinidad and Tobago or El Salvador.
They are home Sept. 5, probably against Canada or Haiti, then play Sept. 8 at Honduras.
The following month has the U.S. home against Jamaica on Oct. 7, at Panama or Guatemala three days later and at home against Costa Rica on Oct. 13.
The U.S. hosts Mexico on Nov. 12 and is at Jamaica four days later to complete the 2021 portion of its qualifying schedule.