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USA Vs. Egypt: February Friendly Cancelled Amidst Unrest In Egypt

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USA Vs. Egypt Match Scheduled To Be Played In Cairo Canceled

The match between the United States and Egypt scheduled to be played in Cairo on February 9th was canceled due to unrest in the country during a volatile week in which the people have been protesting against the 30-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak. February 9th was a FIFA international date, which would have allowed both the U.S. and Egypt to call in their best players, but now the match is off and the U.S. has announced that they will not play another match on the date.

The protests in Egypt have turned violent and last week it was rumored that a cancellation was possible. At that time, the United States Soccer Federation said that the match was supposed to go forward as scheduled, but that they were monitoring the situation. With the U.S. State Department having moved to charter flights to get American citizens in the country out over the weekend, it became more and more likely that the match would either be moved to a different country or canceled and today word came from the USSF that the match would be called off.

"We were excited about the opportunity to play against Egypt, but due to the current situation all parties agreed it was best to cancel the match," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "We appreciate the efforts of the Egyptian Football Association and the U.S. State Department as we worked through this situation."

With the Egypt match off of the slate, the U.S. will next take to the field on March 26th when they play Argentina at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. That match will be followed by another one three days later against Paraguay at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. After the two dates in March, there are no other FIFA international dates before the CONCACAF Gold Cup begins in June.

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Sounder at Heart: Should USA Vs. Egypt Be Moved?

As civil unrest continues to spiral out of control, it's becoming more and more apparent that allowing the United States-Egypt friendly to go on will come with some increased level of risk. The big question is whether we've now reached the point where the game has to either be moved or canceled. Sounder at Heart's Dave Clark clearly thinks the game should be played, but now seems to be coming around the idea of moving it.

The match should go on. The people of Egypt deserve to see their heroes. They need a partial distraction of happiness. Plus, those that are behaving non-violently deserve rewards, even ones so small as seeing 11 men kick a ball. Soccer, in fact all sports, has a history of providing a context for our larger struggles, for stopping civil war, for providing a pause during World War. It has been used to bridge gaps between rival nations. This week it can be used to provide hope, and support between two friendly nations.

Clark offers several alternative locations. He suggests Doha, Qatar; Turkey; Israel; Western Europe; and the United States as possible venues.

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USA Vs. Egypt: Social Unrest Being Monitored, But Friendly Still Planned

With violence overflowing into the streets of Cairo, there is understandable concern over the United States Men's National Team's friendly against Egypt on Feb. 9. USSF officials told the Washington Post that they are monitoring the situation, but that they intend the match to go forward.

Federation officials discussed the situation last night, spokesman Neil Buethe told the Insider on Friday, and they are in regular communication with the Department of State -- as they always are before an international trip -- and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

The U.S. roster will consist mostly of players based in Europe and is expected to be finalized shortly. Players are currently scheduled to arrive in Egypt on Feb. 6.

Egyptians are protesting the rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for more than 30 years. The country has seen rampant unemployment, poverty and corruption under Mubarak's rule. Protests have been going on for four days, but only now descended into violence.

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USMNT Officially Announces Feb. 9 Date In Cairo

The United States Men's National Team will play Egypt for just the third time in history, and for the first time in Cairo, on Feb. 9. The two previous meetings between the teams were in neutral sites, most recently in 2009 during the Confederations Cup. That match ended in a 3-0 victory and allowed the U.S. to advance to the semifinals, where they beat then No. 1-ranked Spain.

This match continues what appears to be as aggressive a friendly schedule as the U.S. has undertaken. Their first post World Cup friendly was against Brazil and they will also play Chile (Jan. 22 at Home Depot Center) and Argentina (exact date and place have not yet been officially announced).

In Egypt, Brazil, Argentina and Chile that is four teams all among FIFA's top 16 ranked teams. Egypt, currently ranked No. 10, is the only one that did not participate in the most recent World Cup, but is the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champion.

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Report: United States Men To Play February Friendly Against Egypt, In Cairo

According to the Associated Press, the United States Men's National Team is going to play Egypt in February. No, wait. It says "likely." What's going on here? Let's let the AP's report, released mid-day on Friday and distributed here by Sports Illustrated, speak for itself:

The U.S. national team is likely to play an exhibition at Egypt on Feb. 9.

Egypt Football Association chairman Samir Zaher said the match probably will be in Cairo. The U.S. Soccer Federation said Friday that negotiations are not yet complete.

So it's not a sure thing, but excuse me for being excited. The idea of the U.S. going to a tough opponent, arguably the best team that didn't make it to South Africa? I love it, a take on all comers attitude. If this match gets made, the only way it could get better is if the Qataris build one of their Erector set stadiums at the foot of the sphinx and let the boys play under the desert stars.

Chile in January at Home Depot. Egypt in February by moonlight, if this works out. Argentina in March at Qwest? Wow. That's a spectacular lineup, a nice change from the steady diet of Northern and Eastern European teams we're used to getting. Not that there's anything wrong with a little Netherlands and Czech Republic in our lives - there's not. But if you're going to change it up, this is the way to go.Some Brazil late summer followed by this main course? Well done, U.S. Soccer.

Chile may not have Marcelo Bielsa come January (he's set to walk away at year's end), but there is still a romantic quality surrounding La Roja. Even if their Argentine coach is off to greener pastures (the fields of Italy, according to some rumors), fans in the States will still be excited by the prospect of Bielsa's style carrying-over into new management.

Egypt's the best team in Africa, a fact obscured by their inability to get through an unforgiving World Cup qualifying process. The Pharoahs have won three consecutive continental titles and feature overlooked gems (to pick a few) Ahmed Hassan, Mohamed Aboutrika, and Essam Al-Hadry.

Argentina's name speaks for itself, completing a triad of ambitious opponents for which U.S. Soccer deserves credit, particularly if the team elects to go to Cairo. It's one thing to accept the competition when teams are willing to come to you, but the willingness to go half-way around the world to take on a quality opponent? It will be great experience for the next generation of U.S. stars as well as a showcase match for the fans.

And with Egypt having been routed by the States at the 2009 Confederations Cup (3-0), we could see an experienced Pharaoh side seeking a small token of revenge.

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