The U.S. men’s national team will continue the rebuilding process with a March 27 friendly against Paraguay at Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, N.C.
The U.S. Soccer Federation on Monday announced the Paraguay match (7 p.m. kickoff) and confirmed European friendlies that the home teams had already made public: June 2 against Ireland in Dublin and June 9 against France in Lyon. TV details have not been finalized.
The federation is also working on a possible home friendly in late May and several matches against high-profile opponents in the fall.
Like the United States, Paraguay failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup: Los Guaranies finished seventh in South American competition, three points off an automatic berth and two short of a possible playoff spot. The match falls inside a FIFA fixture window, allowing both sides to summon any players.
The Americans had been seeking to play two friendlies in Europe against World Cup-bound teams in the March 19-27 window, but failure to qualify for Russia damaged their chances. Switzerland was one possibility. The Swiss, however, opted to play visiting Panama on March 27 in Lucerne.
Playing on the East Coast will make it easier for European-based players to report to U.S. training camp ahead of the friendly. The USSF had also considered Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa., home to MLS’s Philadelphia Union.
Sahlen’s Stadium — which is part of WakeMed Soccer Park near Raleigh and seats 10,000 — hosts two pro teams: USL’s North Carolina FC and NWSL’s North Carolina Courage. The USSF would have preferred to play on Saturday instead of Tuesday, but the weekend is set aside for the Courage. (The NWSL has yet to announce the 2018 schedule.)
The European leagues will break during the FIFA window; MLS scheduled six matches on March 24 and none between March 25 and 29.
Dave Sarachan, who has served as interim coach since Bruce Arena’s resignation last fall, seems likely to oversee the squad against Paraguay. His contract runs through the end of March, with the flexibility to pursue other opportunities.
Ireland also failed to qualify for the World Cup, losing a two-leg playoff to Denmark. The U.S. friendly will take place at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium (51,700). A week later, the Americans will serve as France’s last tune-up before the World Cup with a match at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium (59,000).