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USMNT to field under-strength team for Mexico 'Clasico'

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The United States will be forced to pick an under-strength squad for this month's friendly clash against Mexico, US interim coach Anthony Hudson said on Tuesday.

The US face arch-rivals Mexico in Arizona on April 19 in what is being billed as the "Continental Clasico".

However because the game is taking place outside of world football body FIFA's international calendar, few US players based in Europe are likely to feature.

US coach Hudson said Tuesday that he expects his squad will be comprised mostly of players from Major League Soccer -- in stark contrast to the USA's last competitive fixture against El Salvador in March, when only one player from MLS featured in the starting line-up.

Hudson said that while he hoped "three or four" players based in Europe might be available, the bulk of the squad would be drawn from MLS clubs.

"It is very tricky to get European players to come outside of a window like this," Hudson acknowledged on a conference call. 

"So the squad is obviously going to be a heavily based MLS group, with, I would say, three or four players that have been allowed to come in to this squad."

Hudson is adamant however that the fixture is a valuable part of preparations for the CONCACAF Nations League finals in June, followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.

"The most important thing is that we balance the squad in the right way – that we go into the Nations League and then the Gold Cup, with the squad balanced in a way that we have the opportunity to retain both titles," he said.

"This is a great game to prepare for that and to look at players, with a view clearly that this is an important game to everyone involved and it's a game we want to win."

Hudson meanwhile would not be drawn on whether he might select highly rated Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun, who is mulling whether to pledge his international future to England, the United States or Nigeria.

Balogun, who is currently on loan at French club Reims, met Hudson and the US squad in Florida last month amid speculation he was leaning towards opting for the US.

"We've had some very good conversations with (Balogun) and his agent, just sharing what we do, talked to him about where we see him in our team," Hudson said. 

"The conversations were great. Since he went back to Europe with his agent, there's been a couple of text messages. Now it's down to him to make a decision."

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