The U.S. Men’s National Team’s Group B opponents in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup were finalized with Nicaragua’s stunning 3-0 win against Haiti to earn a 4-3 aggregate triumph in the second leg of the Gold Cup qualifying playoff Tuesday night.
Haiti collected a 3-1 home victory in the first meeting of the playoff on March 24, placing themselves in prime positon to advance. The second leg remained scoreless until the 82nd minute when Nicaragua’s Juan Barrera converted a penalty kick for his first of three goals in a span of six minutes, twice inspiring a bench-clearing celebration and frenzy amongst the home crowd in La Azul y Blanco’s Gold Cup-clinching victory.
As announced by CONCACAF on March 7, the U.S. begins tournament play Saturday, July 8 against Panama at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. The MNT earned a 1-1 draw away to Panama in the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying last night and boasts a 5-1-3 all-time advantage against Los Canaleros in the Gold Cup. The MNT’s lone Gold Cup Group Stage loss came to Panama in 2011 in a 2-1 defeat.
The USA then heads to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Wednesday, July 12 for a matchup with Martinique. The island nation, an overseas department of France that is not recognized as a FIFA member, earned its berth by advancing to the semifinals of the 2017 Caribbean Cup. Brian McBride notched a brace in the MNT’s lone meeting with Martinique at Gillette Stadium in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The U.S. and Nicaragua will meet for the first time when they round out the Group Stage at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, July 18.
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