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Politics are once again paralleling the USMNT — and unlike four years ago, the outlook is much brighter

It seems fitting that the first match a full-strength United States men’s national team will play in almost a year comes days after Joe Biden was projected to win the presidency.

Just as the arrival of a new administration offers a fresh start for the country after four years of non-stop chaos under Donald Trump, Thursday’s friendly at Wales (and another next week against Panama in Austria) also represents a new beginning for the USMNT.

It’s purely a coincidence, of course, that the bleakest four-year stretch in recent national team history lines up almost exactly with what many Americans see as a similarly dark period for the republic under Trump, one in which norm after norm was shattered and the USA’s stature on the global stage plummeted.