The Washington Post

U.S. soccer friendlies set against Venezuela in Phoenix and at Panama next month

The U.S. men’s national soccer team will open its 2012 campaign with friendlies against Venezuela in suburban Phoenix on Jan. 21 and at Panama four days later.

The matches come at the end of the annual winter training camp, primarily attended by players from MLS and northern European leagues on break. Camp opens Jan. 2. Neither game falls on a FIFA fixture date. (The next one is Feb. 29.) TV information has yet to be finalized.

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“We are going to continue to increase the demands on the players and have them develop a better understanding of how we want to play,” Coach Juergen Klinsmann said.

The last time the Americans played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., was February 2007 — a 2-0 victory over Mexico in front of more than 62,000 spectators.

The USA is 2-0-1 against Venezuela and, surprisingly, has never faced Panama in a friendly. In tournaments and qualifiers, the Americans are 7-1-2 against the Panamanians.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.


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