The United States men's soccer team's first post-Gold Cup tests will come this September in a pair of friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium.
Head coach Bob Bradley called the opponents "very different" with one, Costa Rica, being a fellow CONCACAF foe that the U.S. likely will face a few times in World Cup qualifying. The Ticos are currently ranked No. 55 in the world and will travel to Carson, Calif., to face the Americans Sept. 2. The U.S. holds an all-time record of 11-11-6 against Costa Rica, dating back to 1975.
On Sept. 6, the U.S. will travel outside its borders for the first time in 2011 to face Belgium, which it hasn't faced since 1998. Belgium, ranked No. 35 in the world, is in the middle of qualifying for the 2012 Euro Championships. It played in every World Cup from 1982 to 2002, but hasn't qualified since.
Bradley likely will use two very different rosters for the two matches, which take place soon after many of the top European legaues begin. One player many fans are eager to see don the U.S. colors once again is Timmy Chandler. The FC Nurnberg defender was left off Bradley's Gold Cup roster this summer after a rigourous season for the 21-year-old. His exclusion, though it was primarily because of injuries and fatigue, left some wondering if Chandler, who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Germany, would opt to play for the Germans for the next World Cup cycle.
Chandler quashed that theory in a recent interview with Yanks Abroad.
"If I am invited, I would love to play for the United States again," Chandler said. "I have a very good opinion of Bob Bradley as a coach. He brought me in back in March and I like playing under him along with the players on the U.S. team."