FC Cincinnati's TQL Stadium to host USMNT vs. Morocco friendly ahead of 2022 World Cup – The Cincinnati Enquirer

FC Cincinnati's TQL Stadium to host USMNT vs. Morocco friendly ahead of 2022 World Cup – The Cincinnati Enquirer

The U.S. men’s national team is returning to Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium for a pivotal pre-FIFA World Cup tune-up contest. 
TQL Stadium on June 1 will host the USMNT versus Morocco, the FIFA world-ranked No. 24 men’s national team, U.S. Soccer officials announced Wednesday following an Enquirer report of the match coming to Cincinnati. 
The Morocco match will to be the first of four pivotal pre-World Cup matches for the USMNT in June, with a second friendly opponent to be announced along with all the other details of the match.
The two friendlies, plus previously-announced Concacaf Nations League matches against Grenada (June 10, location TBA) and El Salvador (June 14, location TBA) comprises the busy June period for the USMNT.
The Morocco match could end up being the stiffest test and highest-profile opponent the USMNT will face in that stretch. 
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“We’re excited to face a fellow World Cup finalist and provide our team with a different challenge,” USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter said in a news release. “With only six international games before the World Cup, this is a critical period for our team preparation. Combining the magnificent training facilities, the world-class stadium and the amazing atmosphere, Cincinnati ticked all the boxes to give us a great start to these summer matches.”
Tickets for the Morocco match will go on presale Monday with the public sale beginning on April 29.
USMNT-Morocco ticketing information for FC Cincinnati season-ticket holders: “FC Cincinnati Season Ticket Members will have an exclusive presale window to purchase tickets to the friendly. Beginning Wednesday, April 27 at 10 a.m. and ending Thursday, April 28 at 8 a.m., FC Cincinnati STMs will be able to purchase tickets to the match ahead of the public sale, slated for Friday, April 29,” club officials detailed in a Wednesday news release.
The USMNT would be expected to field a full-strength roster, with Morocco likely to consider similar measures as the focus of the game will be on preparations for the Qatar World Cup, which begins Nov. 21.
The USMNT, drawn into Group B of the World Cup, will face a Moroccan side that was drawn into Group F alongside Belgium, Canada and Croatia. 
Morocco boasts a loaded roster that took down the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a two-match qualifier to secure its bid to the World Cup, winning the series by a 5-2 aggregate score.
In its final qualifying match, the Moroccans fielded a starting lineup that included Achraf Hakimi of top-tier French side Paris Saint-Germain, center back Romain Saïss of the English Premier League’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, midfielder Sofyan Amrabat of Seria A’s Fiorentina (Italy), and goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, or “Bono,” of La Liga’s Sevilla FC (Spain).
While not guaranteed, it’s possible Morocco will come to the Cincinnati region with those and other first-choice players, just as the USMNT expects to.
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The match will be the USMNT’s fourth-ever against Morocco, the second-ever on American soil and the first since 2006 in “Send-Off Series” match ahead of the World Cup in Germany. 
The visit to Cincinnati will be the USMNT’s third since FC Cincinnati launched an on-field product in 2016.
Previously, the USMNT hosted and defeated Mexico at TQL Stadium in Concacaf World Cup qualifying Nov. 12. The “dos a cero” victory against their fiercest rival helped propel the Americans’ qualification for the upcoming World Cup.
The USMNT also hosted and lost to Venezuela, 3-0, in an international friendly match at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium in June 2019.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome the U.S. men’s national team back to Cincinnati,” FC Cincinnati Co-Chief Executive Officer Jeff Berding said in a separate news release. “Last November, our city showed its passion for soccer and our national team by packing TQL Stadium and cheering the USMNT onto another “dos a cero”. Our world class facilities and passionate fanbase will be ready to host the U.S. once again in June as they prepare for the 2022 World Cup.”
In the FC Cincinnati era, the Morocco match would be the fifth U.S. Soccer match to be staged in Cincinnati as the U.S. women’s national team has also played at TQL Stadium and Nippert Stadium in 2021 and 2017, respectively. 

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