The U.S. men’s national soccer team expects to play its March 5 exhibition game at Ukraine, despite the ongoing violence and civil unrest gripping the capital city of Kiev.
U.S. Soccer officials are watching the unfolding events closely. They and the U.S. government ultimately will decide if it’s feasible for the game to go ahead as scheduled, according to Goal.com.
“We are in communication with the State Department and are monitoring the situation in Ukraine,” U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe said. “We are still planning on playing the game on March 5.”
Police and protesters have been clashing in Kiev since Tuesday amid a political crisis. At least 25 people have been killed and hundreds more injured since a three-month standoff between the government and protesters turned violent this week.
The U.S.-Ukraine game will be played in Kharkiv — about 300 miles away from Kiev. The game could still be canceled.
It’s set to be a crucial game for the Americans, as it is scheduled to be the second-to-last exhibition before head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announces his 23-man squad for this summer’s FIFA World Cup. Klinsmann is expected to call up mostly European-based players for the game against Ukraine.
On Wednesday, UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, decided to move a UEFA Europa League game between Ukraine’s Dynamo Kiev and Spain’s Valencia to Cyprus because of the continuing violence in Kiev.