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United States to face Venezuela and Ghana in friendlies - sources

The United States national team will play friendlies against Venezuela in early June and Ghana in July, multiple sources told ESPN FC.

The Americans will take on the Venezuelans on June 3 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, ahead of their high-stakes June 8 World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago in suburban Denver, which was announced by U.S. Soccer earlier this week. The site of the game was previously reported by the Washington Post.

U.S. Soccer picked the high-altitude location of both matches to help prepare Bruce Arena's team for a June 11 qualifier in the thin air of Mexico City, which sits 7,400 feet above sea level.

The Americans have never won a competitive match there against El Tri, though they have a win and a draw in their last two visits to Estadio Azteca, including a scoreless draw en route to the 2014 World Cup. The lone American win on Mexican soil came in a 2012 friendly.

Following the two June qualifiers, the national team will turn its attention to July's CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The U.S. will face World Cup nemesis Ghana in a July 1 tune-up at Rentschler Field in East Harford, Connecticut, before group stage games against Panama, Martinique and Nicaragua, which qualified for the biannual regional championship by upsetting Haiti last week.

Ghana and the United States have played each other in the last three World Cups.

Ghana, 45th in FIFA's most recent world ranking, and the No. 23 U.S. have never met outside of a World Cup. They faced off in each of the last three tournaments, with Ghana eliminating the U.S. in its first-round finale in Germany in 2006 and again four years later in the knockout stage in South Africa.

The Americans exacted some measure of revenge by winning 2-1 in 2014 in Brazil in the opening game for both nations -- a victory that helped the U.S. survive a difficult group that also included Portugal and eventual champion Germany.

Venezuela will also face Mexico in a friendly on June 28 at Houston's NRG Stadium.

The U.S. last played Venezuela in a 2012 friendly in Glendale, Arizona, with the hosts winning 1-0. La Vinotinto, ranked 58th by FIFA, reached the quarterfinals of last summer's U.S.-hosted Copa America Centenario but currently sit at the bottom of South America's 10-team World Cup qualifying standings.

Venezuela has already been mathematically eliminated from contention for a spot at the main event in Russia next year.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

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