U.S. Soccer’s on-again, off-again friendly with Ukraine is on again after the ruling federation from the war-torn country reversed itself and said it would travel to Cyprus for Wednesday’s game.
Because of political violence in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, the game was moved from the city of Kharkiv to neutral Cyprus last week. But after Russian military incursions into the Crimean peninsula over the weekend, soccer federation President Anatoliy Konkov told the Reuters news service Monday that his team would not go to Cyprus in such “troubled times.”
After a day of frantic negotiations, Konkov apparently reversed himself with U.S. Soccer releasing a statement Monday night that said, “The Football Federation of Ukraine confirmed that their team will travel to Cyprus and the match will proceed as scheduled.”
The match is not important for Ukraine, which did not qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. But for the U.S., the game represents the final opportunity for coaches to closely observe their European-based players before World Cup rosters are due in May.