USMNT to play nemesis T&T in front of fans

The United States men’s soccer team will open its 2021 schedule with an exhibition against Trinidad and Tobago on Jan. 31 at Orlando, Florida.

A roster missing all Europe-based regulars has been working out in preparation for the match, which is not on a FIFA international match date.

Fans will be required to wear face coverings to attend the game, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Wednesday, and there will be at least 6 feet of space between each group of fans in the stands.

Trinidad and Tobago famously eliminated the USMNT from qualification for the 2018 World Cup with a shock upset in October 2017. The two have played since then with the U.S. defeating the Caribbean side in group stage play at the 2019 Gold Cup.

The U.S. expects to have most of its regular starters available for a pair of exhibitions being planned in Europe for March 22-30.

The Americans return to competitive matches when they play Honduras in a CONCACAF Nations League semifinal from May 31 to June 8. The winner plays Mexico or Costa Rica in the championship a few days later.

The U.S. is likely to use a less-than-full-strength roster for the Gold Cup that starts in early July, in which the Americans have group stage matches against Canada, Martinique and either Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala or Guyana.

The U.S. starts World Cup qualifying with three matches from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7, three from Oct. 4-13 and two from Nov. 8-17.

The Americans likely will open at Trinidad and Tobago or El Salvador, then probably host Canada or Haiti, then play at Honduras.

October will include a home match against Jamaica, and probably a match at Panama or Guatemala, followed by a home game against Costa Rica. November includes a home game against Mexico and a road match at Jamaica.