Postponed for a day by rotten weather, the U.S. women’s national team will face Russia tonight in the comforts of Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. No TV, but like last weekend for the first meeting in South Florida, the U.S. Soccer Federation will offer a live stream at ussoccer.com, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Ticket sales had surpassed 14,000 early in the week, but travel issues and the postponement prompted the USSF to offer refunds. The current count is around 13,400, still easily surpassing the turnout for the 7-0 victory over the Russians on Saturday afternoon at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. (8,857).
After this friendly, the Americans will reconvene in about two weeks for the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal, March 5-12. In Group B, they will play Japan, Sweden and Denmark. Group A: Germany, Norway, China and Iceland. Group C: Portugal, Austria, Russia and Northern Ireland. (NWSL training camps open around March 10.)
USA men’s updates …
The USSF is on the brink of announcing an April 2 friendly against Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona — a big money-maker and rivalry renewal leading to the World Cup. The match does not fall on a FIFA fixture date, essentially limiting player availability from the respective domestic leagues. With numerous first-choice players competing at home, however, that’s not such a bad thing. The match date is a Wednesday, thus avoiding weekend league matches.
UPDATE: The game is now official — 8 p.m. Phoenix time on ESPN2 and UniMas.
The federation is also working through the logistics of staging three send-off matches in late May and early June — “a juggling act,” one contact said, citing three opponents at three venues in an 11-day span across multiple time zones.
Stanford University, Red Bull Arena and Jacksonville remain the leading candidates, but Stanford is the least certain of the three. If those plans fall through, the Americans would probably play the first tune-up elsewhere on the West Coast. (Training camp will open around May 14 at a so-far undisclosed location in California.)
The USSF is aiming to announce all three matches at the same time by March 1, but that plan could change.
The U.S. squad is scheduled to leave for Brazil on June 8 — eight days before the Group G opener against Ghana in Natal. Sao Paulo will serve as the American base of operations throughout the tournament. Juergen Klinsmann does not plan to play a formal friendly upon arrival — the Americans faced Australia in the days ahead of their first match in South Africa four years ago — but might arrange a closed-door scrimmage against one of the other 14 teams based in greater Sao Paulo. [Map of the 32 team training sites]