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Violence in Ukraine leaves U.S. soccer match in doubt

Growing political violence in the Ukraine has placed the U.S. soccer team's March 5 friendly in Kharkiv in doubt, although team officials remain tight-lipped about what alternatives they are exploring.

The March date is the only FIFA international fixture day before the deadline to set World Cup rosters, meaning it represents the only opportunity for U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann to call up the players he hopes will form the core of his team in Brazil this summer.

But the situation in Ukraine has grown worse in recent days with the country teetering on the brink of civil war. Reports say at least 70 people, most of them anti-government protesters, were killed in central Kiev on Thursday despite a truce between the opposition and forces under the control of President Victor Yanukovich.

And the clashes show no sign of abating.

Kharkiv, where the soccer match is scheduled to be played, is the country's second-largest city, located about 300 miles east of Kiev.

U.S. Soccer is in negotiations with the State Department over its charter trip from a training base in Frankfurt, Germany, to Kharkiv. If the trip is deemed too dangerous, Klinsmann would appear to have few options other than canceling the game or making last-minute arrangements to fly the Ukrainian team to a third country, probably Germany, to play the match on neutral ground.


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