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Heads up on this United States-Ukraine match; report says security concerns are rising

Feb 18, 2014, 7:05 PM EDT

APTOPIX Ukraine Protest

Who can doubt the importance of the United States’ friendly coming up against Ukraine in two weeks?

The March 5 friendly in Kharkiv represents the last chance for U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann to get his best team together prior to the May training camp, when the final push for World Cup 2014 begins. (You didn’t really think a bunch of Yanks abroad would come over for the April match against Mexico, did you? It’s on a non-FIFA date, which means clubs are under no obligation to release players.)

Plus, Klinsmann tells us the roster for that March match will closely resemble his final 23 selections for Brazil – so that means every journalist and U.S. superfan out here cannot wait to jump to outrageously premature conclusions based on that roster for one friendly – never mind that there are still numerous moving parts in play. Hey, it’s what we do. It’s a World Cup!

But, obviously, security is always tantamount.

So it’s worth a heads-up here that the U.S.-Ukraine match may be in jeopardy. Some good reporting from Washington Post veteran Steven Goff says federation officials are in touch with the U.S. State Department, monitoring the dicey security situation seems to be getting worse instead of better.

  1. overtherepermanently - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    As Steven Goff correctly noted, Kharkiv is located in the eastern part of the country, in an area that is largely pro-Russia/pro-regim­e. The odds of violence there is extremely low. The US government has been generally supportive of the protests, so those protesting in and around Kiev are extremely unlikely to do anything to the Americans as they transit through Kiev. Neither side gains any advantage from harming out team. I’m certain the embassy will request heavy police presence to guard the hotel, which given that the government has a vested interest in this going well, will likely be well supported. Diplomatic Security and US Soccer have a strong relationship. I expect them to be in good hands.

  2. bostonredsoccer - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    But Klinsmann has already gone on record as saying his roster for the March friendly would consist of European-based players.

  3. talgrath - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:23 AM

    Ukraine may very well be heading for a full-on civil war, I’d bet on this match being cancelled, unfortunately.

    • bear06 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:12 AM

      Or the friendly could just be moved to another country.

      • talgrath - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        Why would you? The intent is to face a European team in their home stadium, not to mention that many Ukrainian players might be distracted at the least or not participate as their country is embroiled in a civil war. The USMNT finding another country to play in a friendly would make sense though.

      • bear06 - Feb 21, 2014 at 2:20 AM

        Because a lot of countries have already scheduled a friendly with another country.

  4. geojock - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Feel just like another CONCACAF match to me.

  5. hildezero - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    If Klinsy calls up just European based players, it would make this game interesting to watch for US Soccer fans.

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