Reports: Ukraine cancels friendly with USMNT (UPDATED)

Jurgen Klinsmann


The U.S. Men’s National Team kept holding out hope against the seemingly inevitable, but the political strife in Ukraine has apparently proved too much to overcome in the U.S. team’s quest to play Wednesday’s scheduled friendly against Ukraine.

The friendly has been canceled, according to reports citing comments from Ukrainian Federation president Anatoliy Konkov.

“We cannot hold the national championship so what kind of football can we talk of at all,” Konkov told a local TV station in Ukraine. “If we do not have an opportunity to play on home soil, why shall we go to Cyprus in those troubled times for your country? We play for our people and country. Our team do not fly to Cyprus and stay at home.”

U.S. Soccer issued the following statement on Monday evening:

“The Football Federation of Ukraine confirmed that their team will travel to Cyprus and the match will proceed as scheduled.”

U.S. Soccer has yet to confirm the reports. If true, the USMNT will be hard-pressed to find a new opponent on two day’s notice. The best bet at this point, if the Ukraine match is indeed canceled, will likely be to try and schedule a scrimmage against a European club team. At worst, the U.S. team could stay together through Wednesday and hold an extra day of training sessions.

What do you think of this development? Think a cancellation was inevitable? What would you do at this point if you were Klinsmann?

Share your thoughts below.

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74 Responses to Reports: Ukraine cancels friendly with USMNT (UPDATED)

  1. bryan says:

    it’s a bummer but it doesn’t surprise me. i’m holding out hope they find a team to play.

  2. Expat4455 says:

    Yes, stay training in Frankfurt a few more days. Try to get a scrimmage against Eintracht Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern,Köln, FSV Frankfurt from div. 2, heck, any German team.

    • Gary Page says:

      Maybe they could play the Cyprus national team. Anyone know if Cyprus has a game anywhere? It would beat nothing. Your idea is better, but those German teams might be missing a lot of players to national team duty and may not want to expose their players to possible injury. Club teams are like that.

  3. Expat4455 says:

    btw, it it is a scrimmage then Julian Green can play

  4. Eric says:

    Honestly, considering the circumstances, it’s the right call. Safety always comes first during political upheaval of this magnitude. I feel bad for Dempsey and Castillo–they traveled an awful long way to have the fixture cancelled. At least our Europe-based players won’t have put so many travel hours on their legs.

    • Troy in his apartment says:

      Dempsey traveled far less than you think. London to Frankfurt isnt a long ways. Its the trip home for him that will take a while

    • Dimidri says:

      I mostly agree, and I know things have gotten worse in the past couple of days in Crimea, but I wonder if this decision could have been made back when they were talking about moving the venue and the US had just found another opponent (which admittedly would have been hard)

  5. beto says:

    so they paid for Edgar Castillo to fly from Tijuana to Frankfort for nothing!?

    jk, bummer but understandable. hopefully Ukraine-Russia doesn’t escalate into anything more..

  6. Tyler says:

    “…why shall we go to Cyprus in those troubled times for your country?” sounds really defensive. He could’ve just said “Given the circumstances, we won’t be playing the USA in Cyprus” and everyone would’ve understood.

    This isn’t the end of the world, but of course it’s disappointing. Hopefully the extra training session is put to good use.

    • Expat4455 says:

      I believe there could have been a lot lost in translation with what the Ukraine soccer official actually said.

    • blokhin says:

      why don’t you let the people under military attack to say what they want and how they want and step outside to realize what the f is going in the world…

      • Paul says:

        Thank you! I too thought Tyler’s statement was callous to say the very least, if not ignorant.

        • Tyler says:

          For the record, I was saying “it isn’t the end of the world” that the friendly was being cancelled (probably for the best), NOT that what’s going on in Ukraine isn’t important or urgent. Just thought it was a weird translation, probably should’ve reworded. My apologies.

      • USAEverton says:

        But that isn’t what the official said either is it? He basically said screw you to the USA and on short notice. Diplomacy to potential allies and even potential enemies is still necessary in such times. We do understand the situation and are more aware of situations in the world than you may wish to give us credit for, mostly because, oh yeah, our troops are around the world. The official if the translation was correct could have said it in a less offfensive manner to one of the countries putting finaincial pressure on Russia in order to stabilize the situation.

        • Hogatroge says:

          The guy is talking on Ukrainian TV. He’s not dissing the US… he’s telling Ukrainians (probably in response to a question about the friendly) that they have bigger things to worry about than soccer.

  7. Alex says:

    friendly against Eintract Frankfurt?

  8. Mike R says:

    Ugh… Kramer was right

  9. John says:

    I don’t really see any point in playing a scrimage against a club side.

    • Expat4455 says:


      It would allow the whole team, including the coaches, and Julian Green too, to actually play under game conditions. And playing against a club side, who have been playing as a team together for all season as opposed to playing Ukraine under these political circumstances, it could actually work out even better.

      • John says:

        yeah maybe i jut dont care because it’ll most likely be closed door

        • Expat4455 says:

          You’re right about that. But at this point, with the players and coaches assembled in Frankfurt, let them at least have something close to a game before they break camp..

  10. KenC says:

    Pretty much inevitable.

    • Don the Jewler says:

      Which begs the question? Why did we not cancel sooner and schedule something else

      • Oranje Mike says:

        With the Crimean invasion yesterday, Ukraine is on edge more than it was. War could break out at any moment. Ukraine does not have time to send players out of the country at a time like this. The country is in mobilization right now. I don’t begrudge them for not making a decision on short notice.

      • rph says:

        That’s not what “begs the question” means. Look it up.

  11. Snack Time says:

    Who should the USMNT start against Eintracht Frankfurt II?
    This is the team I think Dempsey would trot out:

    —- Klinsmann — J. Green —–
    Bedoya Herzog Vasquez——-
    Castillo— Jonny Specs —-Cameron—-
    —– Brooks ———–Onyewu————-
    —————— Cropper ————————-

  12. John says:

    As of 15 mintues ago US soccer tweeted
    ” We have been in contact with the FFU and are awaiting final confirmation that the team is still planning to travel to Cyprus”

    sounds like they aren’t sure whats happening either

  13. Alex says:

    So looks as if Holden injured in reserve match today??

  14. John says:

    Brek might not want to return to Barnsley to soon.
    link to

    • Chicago Josh says:

      Not good enough to start on a relegation-threatened 2nd tier team…and STILL as immature as a teen-aged brat. Please, Jurgen, spare us.

  15. Goalscorer24 says:

    Is the political strife the real issue or is the Ukraine soccer federation looking for some extra money?

    • Razak Pinpong says:

      This is an ignorant statement to the fullest.100 people died in Kiev in the space of 2 days for Christ sake.

    • blokhin says:

      no, what they are really after is not giving JK an extra look at fringe European players- the protests have been about those who want Julian Green capped and those who want Spector to start

    • Paul says:

      Are you SERIOUSLY that ignorant? Russia gave them 24 hours to surrender their bases in the Crimea.

      • Paul Miller says:

        That was reported earlier, but Russia denies issuing that ultimatum. Not saying they didn’t issue it, but bottom line is we aren’t sure what’s happening there.

        • user222 says:

          The Monday following the end of the Olympics in Sochi Putin also assured Oboma that they would respect Ukranian territories….

        • Eurosnob says:

          Russia also denied that its troops were taking over the local parliament building and airport in the Crimea until a couple days ago, until a young soldier spilled the beans to the reporter. It pisses me off that Putin completely outmaneuvers our presidentn and his national security team. You know there are plenty of ethnic Russians in Europe and in the US, perhaps one day Putin will decide that they need protection. What are we going to do, make another 90 minute phone call?

    • Good Jeremy says:

      Shirley you can’t be serious.

      I’m sorry if their current revolution and subsequent foreign invasion inconvenience you.

  16. Fred says:

    Well, that settles it. I mean, where are these people’s priorities?

  17. Adam M. says:

    Russia 2018 is looking just brilliant right now. Brilliant.

  18. blokhin says:

    speaking as an American- Ukrainian, and given the track record of US scheduling friendlies with Iran, Egypt and Ukraine prior to massive instabilities in those countries, I am rooting for 3 back to back friendlies with Russia ASAP

  19. jb says:

    US soccer should have cancelled this match weeks ago, back when we could have found someone else to play. Didn’t we waste another FIFA date last year by scheduling Egypt? I mean, maybe we should use some common sense and stay away from countries with unstable govts. Just a thought.

    • blokhin says:

      can you pls provide the USSF with the list of countries that will undergo a sudden transfer of power six months ahead of time? thanks!

      • jb says:

        Sure, for official footballing nations its a pretty short list. Meaning there are 200 others to choose from. Look, a month ago there was enough concern to consider rescheduling, and likely enough time to get another team to play, maybe even still in Europe like JK wanted. Now, if this game is cancelled, we will go into a World Cup without having the Europe-based players called in a single time this year.

    • Paul Miller says:

      I wonder if the Palestinians have a national team yet.

  20. Mooncusser says:

    Venezuela at Maturin.

    Have Kerry kick the first ball, along with Oliver Stone and Danny Glover.

  21. NASL to el paso tx says:

    Fuk why not invite ukraine to the US and profits go to them. Make it at a heavy ukraine population region.

  22. big b says:

    there’s 24 players. They could just play themselves. it’s better than sitting in frankfurt doing nothing.

  23. user222 says:

    Good for Ukraine… they have one of their tough moments in their history…

    BTW, if and that is a BIG if…. if war breaks out with x,w,y,z countries in the Ukraine region and nobody really knows how long it might last, should FIFA cancel Brazil 2014?

    I’m leaning for FIFA to take WC 2018 away from Russia, reassigned to be played in Ukraine-Poland…. they hosted the last UEFA tourney.

    FIFA might not want to get involved but human suffering is never good. The Europeans might boycott 2018 in Russia if FIFA doesn’t take the lead on this.

  24. Vik says: just posted that the Ukraine soccer federation confirmed the game is still on.

    I’d love to watch an international game with the USMNT, but I would totally understand if Ukraine did want to call this one off.

  25. Joamiq says:

    This is obviously the right thing to do. But from a purely soccer perspective, a huge blow for the US’s World Cup preparations.

  26. Ryan from NC in NYC says:

    The match is back on…

  27. A.S.A. says:

    On #USAvUKR: “The Football Federation of Ukraine confirmed that their team will travel to Cyprus and the match will proceed as scheduled.”

  28. Sly boy says:


  29. Bac says:

    Hopefully none of our readers have been through something this scary.. and it certainly seems that we’re not entirely sure what is going on or how they feel…
    But it wouldn’t surprise me if the players wanted to play .. Not to play a soccer game, but to play a match wearing their country’s colors with a chance to get the game broadcast internationally since its on espn.
    Nothing unites a country like Sports … especially soccer. I would be willing to bet the players took a vote and wanted to play. I obviously have no evidence of this, just a hunch, but what a great way to show the world you are united, and proud, and refuse to let Puck Futin disrupt your country any more than he’s already done. If Blatter had any cohones he’d step out and threaten their spot in Brazil (though we OBVIOUSLY know that would never happen)….
    I hope they play and I hope the press coverage gets blasted all over the world