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Panama will be USMNT’s first opponent of 2019

Gregg Berhalter’s first game as head coach of USMNT is against Panama.

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US Soccer has announced the US Men’s National Team will play Panama in a friendly on January 27 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale Arizona.

The match will be the first of a two-game January camp schedule for USMNT, including the Feb 2 game against Costa Rica in San Jose’s Avaya Stadium that was announced earlier this year.

USMNT’s January 2019 camp is expected to begin on January 7. It will be Gregg Berhalter’s first national team camp since being appointed USMNT head coach.

There is no FIFA-mandated window for international matches in January or February, so expect USMNT’s year-opening friendlies to be low-key. Neither the USA, Costa Rica, nor Panama will be selecting full-strength squads for these games.

Nonetheless, it is a Gold Cup year and giving Berhalter a closer look at some semblance of a regional rival of two seems a sensible way for USMNT to start 2019.