U.S. Drawn into Group B at CONCACAF Gold Cup with El Salvador, Guatemala and Trinidad
NEW YORK (March 6, 2007) — The U.S. Men’s National Team was drawn into Group B for the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup with Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and El Salvador and will play first round matches in Los Angeles and Boston.
The U.S. will begin the defense of its 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup title on June 7 vs. Guatemala at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, and will also play their second group match there on Saturday, June 9, vs. Trinidad & Tobago at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT. The group stage will end for the U.S. on June 12 vs. El Salvador at 7 p.m. ET after a cross country trip to Foxborough, Mass. All three U.S. group matches will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura.
"I think it's a fair group, but still a tough one,” said U.S. MNT head coach Bob Bradley. “It gives us an opportunity to start with Guatemala, a team that we know well and we'll know better because we’ll play them in March, and the opportunity to start by playing both games in Los Angeles. I think there are some very good parts to it for us."
If the U.S. finishes first or second in Group B, it will play a quarterfinal match at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on June 16, but a third place finish would mean a trip to the other quarterfinal site, Reliant Stadium in Houston, on June 17. The semifinals are on June 21 at Chicago’s Soldier Field, and the final will be played at the same location on Sunday, June 24. All matches except the final will be played as doubleheaders. If both the U.S. and Mexico finish in the top two in their respective groups, the earliest the rivals could face-off is the final.
CONCACAF announced in October that no guest teams would be invited, meaning that the 12-team field would be completed with teams only from this region. Four-time champion Mexico was drawn into Group C along with Cuba, Honduras and Panama and will begin group play in New York. Canada, the only other team to win the event, was drawn into Group A along with Costa Rica, Guadaloupe and Haiti, and will begin group play in Miami and conclude in Houston. [Full Schedule]
ficult games,” Bradley said. “All of the teams understand how important the Gold Cup is and come with game plans to defend at times and keep numbers behind the ball. There are certainly challenges with these kinds of games, but things that we feel in the long run make us better.”
The U.S. hasn’t faced Guatemala in the Gold Cup since 1996, beating them 3-0 for the second time in the regional championship. Overall, the U.S. has a 9-4-4 record vs. Guatemala, but hasn’t lost a game since 1988, dropping the first four meetings in the rivalry. The opponents will get a good look at one another on March 28 as the U.S. hosts Guatemala in a friendly at Pizza Hut Park.
The U.S. has a 12-1-3 record vs. Trinidad & Tobago, including a 2-0 record in the Gold Cup although, like Guatemala, the U.S. hasn’t faced Trinidad & Tobago in this competition since 1996. The last meeting between the sides came in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, with the U.S. winning 2-1 on the road and 1-0 at home in 2005.
Three of the last six meetings between the U.S. and El Salvador have come in Foxborough, Mass., with the U.S. earning two-goal victories in 1997, 2003 and 2004. The U.S. has outscored El Salvador 8-0 in three Gold Cup matches (all wins), and holds a 12-1-4 advantage in the all-time series.
While the U.S. has previously played 16 Gold Cup matches in Southern California (12-2-2), this will be the first at The Home Depot Center and also the first official competition (non-friendly match) played by the U.S. at the facility that is home to the U.S. Soccer National Training Center. The U.S. has recent familiarity with Gillette Stadium, playing five of its last 11 Gold Cup matches there with a 4-0-1 record, scoring 12 goals and allowing one.
"We had a very, very good camp in January when we were based out of The Home Depot Center,” said Bradley. “I think the players and staff understand everything that goes on (at The Home Depot Center). It allows us to work and prepare ourselves, so we feel that is a great place to start. The Home Depot Center is a stadium that all the players love."
The U.S. claimed the regional crown in 2005 by topping Panama in penalty kicks following 120 minutes of scoreless soccer at Giants Stadium. Conversions by Landon Donovan, Santino Quaranta and Brad Davis, as well as a key save from Kasey Keller, clinched the trophy for the U.S. Donovan and Beasley led the U.S. through the tournament scoring three goals each, and Oguchi Onyewu and Jimmy Conrad established themselves in the center of the U.S. defense with Onyewu opening his U.S. MNT scoring account in dramatic fashion with a stoppage-time winner vs. Honduras in the semifinals.
The U.S. is 18-0-1 all-time in group play at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. In addition to the three aforementioned titles in the first eight editions of the regional championship, the U.S. has also finished second twice and third twice. Overall, the U.S. has a 28-4-5 record in Gold Cup play, and the U.S. is 3-1 in penalty shootouts. Brazil and Mexico are each responsible for two of the U.S. defeats, while Colombia eliminated the U.S. on penalties in the 2000 quarterfinals.
With three goals in 2005, Donovan is now tied for second on the all-time U.S. Gold Cup scorers list with Brian McBride at eight goals. Eric Wynalda holds the record with nine goals, and the fourth leading scorer is Beasley with four. In all, 14 players have scored multiple goals in the Gold Cup for the U.S.
In preparation for the Gold Cup, the U.S. will play three domestic friendlies this spring. The schedule kicks off during a double FIFA fixture date as the U.S. hosts Ecuador at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on March 25 at 12 p.m. ET. The U.S. then travels directly to Texas to host Gold Cup opponent Guatemala at Pizza Hut Park at 9 p.m. ET. Five days before the Gold Cup, the U.S. hosts China at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif., at 8 p.m. ET on June 2 in a final warm up. All three friendlies will be televised live on ESPN2 & Galavision, and tickets are available online at ussoccer.com.
Following the conclusion of the Gold Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team will depart for Venezuela for the 2007 Copa America, the 12-team regional championship of South America, which will run from June 26 to July 15 in nine cities across Venezuela. The U.S. was drawn into Group C with Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia, and will kick off the tournament against Argentina on June 28 in Maracaibo, four days after the Gold Cup final.
2007 U.S. MNT Schedule/Results