CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — The U.S. women’s national team will play a pair of matches against Uzbekistan next month in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The games will be the first time the United States has faced Uzbekistan, ranked No. 45 in the world. The team has never qualified for the World Cup or an Olympics.

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The games also come as teams continue to deal with international COVID-19 restrictions, making scheduling and logistics a challenge. Both CONCACAF and UEFA also have World Cup qualifying matches during the April window, limiting available opponents.

The United States plays its World Cup qualifiers in July in Monterrey, Mexico. The defending World Cup champions have limited opportunities to prepare with only two international breaks — the upcoming window in April and another in June — until then.

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Coach Vlatko Andonovski has been focused on developing younger players ahead of qualifying, including up-and-comers Catarina Macario and Trinity Rodman.

The games against Uzbekistan are scheduled for April 9 in Columbus and April 12 in Chester, outside of Philadelphia.

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