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Argentina to play friendlies in Chicago and Maryland ahead of Copa America: Sources

Argentina and captain Lionel Messi will play two international friendlies in the U.S. ahead of this summer’s Copa América, sources told The Athletic on Wednesday. The defending Copa América and World Cup champions will visit Chicago’s Soldier Field and FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland before their tournament opener on June 20 in Atlanta. 

Sources could not immediately confirm the dates of both friendlies, but it’s likely that Argentina will schedule those matches during the June 3-11 FIFA window. The opponents are also still being finalized, but one source with knowledge of Argentina’s pre-tournament schedule said that Ecuador would play Argentina in Chicago, with either Guatemala or Honduras facing the world champions at FedEx Field. 

Neither Chicago nor D.C. are Copa América host cities and neither will host matches during the 2026 FIFA World Cup. In 2018, then Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel withdrew the city from the 2026 bid due to perceived taxpayer risks and a lack of assurances from FIFA. Washington, D.C. did bid to be a 2026 host city, but was ultimately passed over when the cities were announced in June of 2022. 

It’s certainly not a major tournament, but hosting Messi and Argentina will momentarily put both Chicago and D.C. back in the conversation as potential hubs for international football. Meanwhile, this summer Argentina will look to further capitalize on its booming national team brand in North America. The Argentina Football Association (AFA) has already opened its U.S. headquarters in Miami, and will soon break ground on two state-of-the-art training and commercial facilities in the Miami area. 

Argentina will begin its preparations for the 2024 Copa América in March with two friendlies in China. Those opponents have not yet been determined.

(Photo: DANIEL RAMALHO/AFP via Getty Images)

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