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The US men’s national team’s abbreviated, domestic-heavy January camp hits second gear Wednesday evening at LAFC’s home venue with a friendly against fellow 2022 FIFA World Cup participant Serbia – formally starting the three-and-a-half-year buildup to co-hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

How to watch and stream

  • TV: Universo
  • Streaming: HBO Max, Peacock, Telemundo App

When

Where

  • BMO Stadium | Los Angeles, California

In addition to Wednesday's encounter, the USMNT will also face Colombia on Jan. 28 (7:30 pm ET | TNT, Telemundo) at Dignity Health Sports Park, home of the LA Galaxy. That game will conclude their annual January camp with players who are predominantly not in season.

Fresh off a Round of 16 exit to the Netherlands in Qatar, the USMNT are in a state of flux. Assistant coach Anthony Hudson oversees this camp, and the program has no formal manager after Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired and as U.S. Soccer conducts a program-wide review amid some off-field drama.

But in true January camp fashion, the games present an opportunity to newcomers and fringe players who hope to establish a more significant role. Only five players (of 24 total) were at the World Cup and over half (13) of the roster doesn’t have a senior international appearance.

That latter crowd includes FC Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez and New York Red Bulls left back John Tolkin, two of 15 MLS-based call-ups. It also contains two prominent MLS exports: midfielder Paxten Aaronson (ex-Philadelphia Union) and Gaga Slonina (ex-Chicago Fire FC), homegrowns who respectively joined German Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt and English Premier League side Chelsea this winter via multi-million dollar transfers.

One of the most intriguing call-ups is Club América forward Alejandro Zendejas, a former US youth international and one-time FC Dallas homegrown standout who’s been capped by Mexico’s senior squad. Zendejas is only competing against Serbia, then returns to his Liga MX squad as their Clausura campaign continues.

A key context point: Since the USMNT’s January camp occurs during a non-FIFA international window, clubs aren’t required to release players (MLS teams are in preseason, whereas European ones are midseason). So there’ll be plenty of faces seeking a springboard, all amid a strange time for the program overall.

Those hoping to see Serbia’s stars who competed in Group G at the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be left disappointed. Head coach Dragan Stojković has called in a squad with four combined caps-worth of experience – all from three MLS players.

That trio involves New England Revolution goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic, LA Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic and Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Ranko Veselinovic. Petrovic was a finalist for both the 2022 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year awards, while Joveljic was LA’s second-leading scorer last year with 11g/3a.

Though Serbia’s squad is light on experience and heavy on youth, their players – much like those in USMNT colors – will be hoping to leave a strong impression. For a program that’s made three of the past four World Cups (but hasn't reached the knockout stage since 1998), that could prove a dangerous recipe for the Yanks.

This January clash marks just the fourth all-time meeting between the USMNT and Serbia, with the hosts holding a 0W-2L-1D record since their first meeting against then-Yugoslavia at the 1956 Olympics.