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Five Things to Know About the Concacaf Nations League

Presented by Thorne
U.S. Soccer

Later this year, the U.S. Men’s National Team will take part in the inaugural Concacaf Nations League. Here are five things to know about the new competition:

What Is It?

Similar to the recently launched UEFA Nations League, Concacaf’s version was created to maximize the quality, quantity and frequency of competitive matches for all of the confederation’s 41 Member Associations.

How Teams Qualified

A four-game qualifying tournament for the Concacaf Nations League began last September and just concluded during the March FIFA international window.

While all 41 Member Associations are part of the competition, the qualifying tournament was used to help place teams in their respective leagues for the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League: League A, League B and League C.

The Format

Here’s a brief rundown of the tournament format:

League A
Number of Teams: 12 teams
Group Format: Four groups of three teams
Qualifiers: Comprised of the six teams that took part in the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup AND the top six finishers in Nations League Qualifying.
Teams: USA, Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago

League B
Number of Teams: 16 teams
Group Format: Four groups of four teams
Qualifiers: Comprised of the teams which finished 7-22 in Nations League qualifying
Teams: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guyana,Jamaica, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname

League C 
Number of Teams: 
13 teams
Group Format: Three groups of three teams AND one group of four teams
Qualifiers: Comprised of the teams which finished 23-34 in Nations League qualifying and Guatemala, who was suspended at the beginning of the competition.
Teams: Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos and U.S. Virgin Islands

The Group Phase for each league is a round-robin, home-and-away format which will play out during the course of the September, October and November FIFA international dates in 2019. At the end of the round-robin competition, the League A and B teams that finish last in their groups will be relegated to the lower league, while the group winners in Leagues B and C will be promoted to the higher league for the next edition of the competition.

Additionally, the four group winners from League A will advance to the Knockout Round, where a semifinal and final will be played during the June 2020 FIFA International Dates to crown the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League champion.

With the participants for the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be determined based on FIFA rankings at the conclusion of this tournament, Nations League's matches have added significance for their impact on the rankings.

The Draw

The 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Draw on March 27, 2019 at The Chelsea Theater in Las Vegas. 

The USA was drawn against northern neighbors Canada and Caribbean foe Cuba. See the full League A draw below:

2019-20 Concacaf Nations League A Draw

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

USA

Mexico

Honduras

Costa Rica

Canada

Panama

Trinidad & Tobago

Haiti

Cuba

Bermuda

Martinique

Curacao


The MNT will face a Canada side that finished second in the 34-team 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League qualifying tournament. The USA holds a 14-8-11 advantage over Les Rouges, and will play its first competitive match on Canadian soil since Nov. 9, 1997, a 3-0 win which clinched the MNT's participation at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. 

The draw sets up a fourth visit for the MNT to Cuba. The USA leads the all-time series by a 10-1-1 mark. 

The Schedule

Drawn into Group A of League A alongside Cuba and Canada back in March, the USA will open the competition with a home match against Cuba on Friday, Oct. 11 at Audi Field in Washington, TD.C. (7 p.m. ET ), before visiting Canada on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at BMO Field in Toronto (7:30 p.m. ET).

The next month, the USA will open the window with at home against Canada on Friday, Nov. 15 (7:15 p.m. ET; Site TBD), before closing out the group stage at Cuba on Tuesday, Nov. 19 (7:30 p.m. ET; Site TBD).

Canada and Cuba will kick off Group A play with a home-and-away series to take place on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Canada (8 p.m. ET) and Tuesday, Sept. 10 in Cuba (7:15 p.m. ET).