Common sense has prevailed and the U.S. MNT game versus Ukraine on March 5, has been moved from Kharkiv, Ukraine to an as yet unnamed location in Cyprus.
The Football Federation of Ukraine made the announcement today citing safety concerns from U.S. Soccer, who the Federation said had requested the move.
This is good news, not only for U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, but for the U.S. MNT contingent playing in Europe, who figure to have just this last chance to impress the boss before the final World Cup roster is selected in May.
Goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan are certain to be called in as are outfield players Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya, and Sacha Kljestan. That group should be joined by some who have been out of the national team picture of late. John Brooks and Danny Williams are good bets for an invite, with Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, and even Oguchi Onyewu hoping for a final chance to make an impression.
Tim Chandler had been making a late push for inclusion before a knee injury earlier this month ruled him out of the March game, severely damaging his World Cup hopes.
Although March 5, is an official FIFA date, the squad that faces Ukraine is expected to come primarily from players already in Europe, with Klinsmann unlikely to call in many of his MLS mainstays, just three days before the Major League Soccer season is set to begin.
The only other confirmed friendly game for the U.S. MNT before the roster for Brazil is finalized is an April 2, encounter with arch rivals Mexico in Glendale, Arizona.
The April date is not on the FIFA calendar, so coaches are not required to release players, opening the door for U.S. and Mexico based players to state their cases.