The first two friendlies for the U.S. men’s national soccer team are almost here: Jan. 29 against Serbia in San Diego and Feb. 3 vs. Jamaica in Chattanooga, Tenn.
And, as ESPN first reported, the World Cup qualifier against Honduras on March 24 is slated for San Jose. An official announcement is likely next week.
So what other home venues are in play this year?
The Insider has learned that Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium is the front-runner for a friendly in early June against an opponent to be determined. It would fall a few days before the June 8 World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago, which the U.S. Soccer Federation plans to stage at the Colorado Rapids’ DSG Park, multiple sources said. The contracts are in the process of being finalized.
Consecutive matches at altitude — 4,400 and 5,300 feet, respectively — will, in theory, help prepare the Americans for the June 11 qualifier against Mexico at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City (7,300).
The U.S. squad last played in Utah in the summer of 2013 — a qualifier vs. Honduras and Gold Cup group match vs. Cuba — and in the Denver area in March 2013, the snowstorm-marred qualifier against Costa Rica.
This July, as they did two years ago, the Americans seem likely to play a friendly immediately before the CONCACAF Gold Cup. There’s no word yet on potential locations for the tuneup. In 2015, they faced Guatemala in Nashville.
The U.S. Gold Cup group stage venues, as selected by CONCACAF, are already set: July 8 in Nashville, July 12 in Tampa and July 15 in Cleveland.
The USSF continues to explore options for the World Cup home qualifiers against Costa Rica on Sept. 1 and Panama on Oct. 6. If, by chance, the Americans finish fourth in the hexagonal, they would host the first leg of an intercontinental playoff against Asia’s fifth-place finisher Nov. 6. The return leg is eight days later.
U.S. schedule outlook
Jan. 29: Serbia friendly at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego*, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN2, UniMas)
Feb. 3: Jamaica friendly at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn.*, 7 p.m. (FS1, UniMas)
March 24: Honduras home qualifier at Avaya Stadium in San Jose (TV tba)
March 28: Panama away qualifier at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City* (beIN Sports, NBC Universo)
Early June: friendly vs. tba at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (TV tba)
June 8: Trinidad and Tobago home qualifier at DSG Park in Commerce City, Colo. (TV tba)
June 11: Mexico away qualifier at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City* (Fox outlet, Univision)
Early July: home friendly, opponent and venue tba
July 8: Gold Cup group match vs. tba at Nissan Stadium in Nashville* (Fox and Univision outlets)
July 12: Gold Cup group match vs. tba at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa* (Fox and Univision outlets)
July 15: Gold Cup group match vs. tba at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland* (Fox and Univision outlets)
July 17-26: Gold Cup knockout stage, venues tba (Fox and Univision outlets)
Sept. 1: Costa Rica home qualifier at venue tba (TV tba)
Sept. 5: Honduras away qualifier at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula* (beIN Sports, NBC Universo)
Oct. 6: Panama home qualifier at venue tba (TV tba)
Oct. 10: Trinidad and Tobago away qualifier at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain* (beIN Sports, NBC Universo)
Nov. 6, if necessary: World Cup qualifying playoff, home leg
Nov. 14, if necessary: World Cup qualifying playoff, second leg
(If the Americans avoid the playoff, they likely would play two friendlies in the Nov. 6-14 FIFA window.)