BC-SOC--CONCACAF Gold Cup,1st Ld-Writethru
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The United States will open the defense of its CONCACAF Gold Cup title against Guyana on June 18 at St. Paul, Minnesota, the first competitive match for the Americans in 20 months since their loss at Trinidad and Tobago caused them to miss the 2018 World Cup.
The U.S. will play T&T on June 22 at Cleveland and complete Group D against Panama on June 26 at Kansas City, Kansas.
The Americans are expected to play a pair of exhibitions in June to prepare for the tournament, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean. The U.S. will wind up playing 18 consecutive friendlies since the 2-1 defeat at Couva, Trinidad, on Oct. 10, 2017. The gap between competitive matches will be the longest for the Americans since a loss to Costa Rica on May 31, 1985, their final qualifier for the 1986 World Cup, and a draw at Jamaica on July 24, 1988, their first qualifier for the 1990 World Cup.
Other pairings announced Wednesday by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football were:
Group A: Canada, Cuba, Martinique, Mexico
Group B: Bermuda, Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua
Group C: Curacao, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica
The United States has 32 wins, one loss and four draws in the group stage of the Gold Cup, losing 2-1 to Panama in 2011 at Tampa, Florida. The Americans had won 13 straight openers before 1-1 draw with Panama in 2017 at Nashville, Tennessee.
Under the schedule of this year’s Gold Cup, which has been expanded from 12 nations to 16, the top two teams in each group advance. The Group D winner plays the Group C second-place team in a quarterfinal at Philadelphia on June 30, a day after teams advancing from Groups A and B meet in Houston.
Houston winners play in a semifinal at Glendale, Arizona, on July 2, and Philadelphia winners meet July 3 at Nashville. The final is July 7 at Chicago’s Soldier Field at 9 p.m. EDT, part of a tripleheader of soccer finals that day. The Women’s World Cup final at Lyon, France, kicks off at 11 a.m. EDT, and the Copa America final in Rio de Janeiro starts at 4 p.m. EDT.
First-round matches will be played in Central America and the Caribbean for the first time: opening doubleheaders of Group B at San Jose, Costa Rica, on June 16 and of Group C at Kingston, Jamaica, the following day.
The opening doubleheader is June 15 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, where Canada plays Martinique and Mexico faces Cuba. El Tri also have group games against Canada on June 19 at Denver and versus Martinique on June 23 at Charlotte, North Carolina.
Mexico has won the tournament seven times, the United States six and Canada once.
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