USA vs. Ukraine Friendly Reportedly Scheduled for March 5

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2014

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Juergen Klinsmann of USA looks on prior to the International friendly match between Austria and USA at the Ernst-Happel Stadium on November 19, 2013 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)
Christian Hofer/Getty Images

The USA will face Ukraine for the first time in 21 years this March after it was announced that the pair would clash in a friendly fixture.   

The Washington Post's Steven Goff announced that FIFA had organised the competition, scheduled for Wednesday, March 5:

ESPN's Paul Carr adds that in three attempts at doing so, the United States have never beaten their Eastern Europe opponents:

As things stand, there's no mention of a venue being slated, but the fixture nonetheless marks a historic occasion for the two teams after spending so long away from direct competition.

The 2014 Major League Soccer season kicks off just three days later on March 8, giving Americans some reason to be slightly concerned about the timing of the encounter.

The USMNT face South Korea on Feb. 1, but will undoubtedly be happy to have another warm-up slated on their route to the 2014 World Cup.

Ukraine weren't as fortunate on their road to Brazil and failed to make it through UEFA qualification, but they pose a stern test for Jurgen Klinsmann's side nonetheless.

Mykhaylo Fomenko's men finished just a point behind Group H winners England, and despite taking a 2-0 lead after their first-leg playoff match against France, they ultimately crumbled in Paris, losing the fixture 3-2 on aggregate.

The United States' run to Rio was a far more rudimentary affair, with CONCACAF's other representatives struggling to restrain Klinsmann's side.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 19:  Ukraine Coach Mykhaylo Fomenko looks on prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off second leg match between France and Ukraine at the Stade de France on November 19, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Gett
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

With that in mind, the meeting with Ukraine promises to show how far along the USMNT are in their preparation for this summer's festivities.

There, the USMNT have been pitted against Germany, Ghana and Portugal in a pool of talent that will be considered one of the tightest in the competition's opening stages.

Since sealing their place in Brazil, the USA are without a win or a goal from their last two friendlies, drawing 0-0 against Scotland in Glasgow before losing 1-0 to Austria in November.

Prior to the disastrous outing against Les Bleus, Ukraine were enjoying a three-match winning streak, including an 8-0 mauling of San Marino.

Although there's little on the line for either side, March's upcoming clash will revive an old rivalry between the two nations and is set to make for a tantalising matchup.

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