Gold Cup soccer has once against crashed into the United States, and USMNT will be attempting to hoist the cup for the first time since 2013. The North American tournament is dominated by the USA and Mexico, but with a World Cup on the horizon, this year’s tournament has a much different shape. The tournament favorites will be experimenting with younger squads looking ahead to next year, giving the smaller nations a chance to make a splash.
USA manager Bruce Arena has left all the big names at home for Gold Cup. Dempsey, Altidore and Howard are gone, as are expected starters Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron and Christian Pulisic. In their stead are domestic players desperate for a spot on USMNT, including a few MLS stars like Dax McCarty and Dom Dwyer.
How will the new names fare under the pressure? The USA has won this tournament five teams, and is projected to easily pass through the group stage. Mexico is coming off of a disappointing performance in Russia, and will similarly rest their top talent for Gold Cup. That gives these MLS players a chance to make their mark not only on Bruce Arena, but on American soccer history.
Across the USA, three groups of four teams will compete for the title of best team in CONCACAF. After three group stage matches, eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals. They consist of each group’s winner and runner-up, along with the top two overall third-place finishers. The top three teams are split up amongst the groups: Mexico, USA, and Costa Rica.
Here’s a look at USA’s road to the Gold Cup final:
Saturday, 7/8 vs. Panama at Nissan Stadium (Nashville, TN)
Wednesday, 7/12 vs. Martinique at Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)
Saturday, 7/15 vs. Nicaragua at FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, OH)
July 19th and 20th: Gold Cup Quarterfinals
July 22nd and 23rd: Gold Cup Semifinals
Wednesday, July 26th: Gold Cup Final at Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, CA)