US to face Northern Ireland in March friendly

The United States will play a friendly against Northern Ireland in Belfast next month as part of the team's preparations for a busy year of tournament football, the US Soccer Federation said Tuesday.

Gregg Berhalter's side will take on Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on March 28 in a game played behind closed doors due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The friendly is part of the US build-up for a hectic schedule later this year which includes the CONCACAF Nations League final round in June followed by the Gold Cup in July, before 2022 World Cup qualifiers get under way in September.

"This is a good opportunity to work with our full group before the Nations League Final Four in June," Berhalter said.

"We've been excited about the progress our players continue to make with their clubs, and now we have another chance to strengthen our group ahead of the start of World Cup qualifying later this year.

"Northern Ireland is a very competitive team and brings a different set of challenges in the way they play. We look forward to a great experience."

Northern Ireland will host the Americans in between World Cup qualifers against Italy on March 25 and Bulgaria on March 31.