Midfielder Yusuf Musah was set to become tied to the United States by making his fourth international appearance in Sunday’s exhibition against Northern Ireland.
Under a new FIFA rule, players under 21 may switch national association only if they play three or fewer matches under the age of 21, the U.S. Soccer Federation said. Musah, an 18-year-old with Valencia, debuted for the U.S. on Nov. 12 at Wales, then played four days later against Panama and last Thursday against Jamaica.
FIFA’s previous rule would not have tied Musah to the U.S. until he played in a competitive match, such as a World Cup qualifier, the CONCACAF Gold Cup or the CONCACAF Nations League.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made four changes to his starting lineup for the friendly in Belfast, inserting Tim Ream and Matt Miazga as part of a five-man back line with Aaron Long in central defense.
Antonee Robinson started at left back, and Sergiño Dest shifted from the left to the right.
Jordan Siebatcheu got his first start after making his debut in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Jamaica at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Kellyn Acosta moved up to forward as Josh Sargent and Sebastian Lletget moved to the bench.
Defenders John Brooks and Reggie Cannon, who started against the Reggae Boyz, returned to their clubs.
Zack Steffen was in goal, and midfielders Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna and Musah remained in the lineup.
Pulisic captained the U.S for the fourth time, the first since Oct. 11, 2019, against Cuba.
The lineup averaged 24 years, 116 days and 18 international appearances.