USMNT given difficult Copa América Centenario draw
NEW YORK —
Copa América Centenario hosts United States face a difficult road to the quarterfinals after landing Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in the tournament draw held Sunday night.
Jurgen Klinsmann and his players will open the tournament against James Rodriguez and Colombia on June 3 in Santa Clara, Calif. The Group A slate continues against fellow CONCACAF adversaries Costa Rica four days later in Chicago before the final group match against Paraguay in Philadelphia on June 11.
It proved an unfortunate twist of luck for the Americans as they were handed perhaps the most arduous assignment available. Costa Rica and Paraguay were rated the strongest possible opposition in their respective pots, while Colombia pose a considerable threat to win the entire tournament.
Mexico received a more fortunate draw with Uruguay, Jamaica and Venezuela in Group C. El Tri open against the Uruguayans in Glendale, Ariz. before facing Jamaica (June 9 in Pasadena, Calif.) and Venezuela (June 13 in Houston).
El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio sidestepped a meeting with his native country and several of the other concerns in the draw. Uruguay always presents a threat with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani to lead the line, but Jamaica crumbled under Mexican inquisition in the Gold Cup final last summer and Venezuela just went through an unsuccessful player revolt againts coach Noel Sanvicente in December.
South American giants Argentina and Brazil are expected to encounter few difficulties with their group assignments. Argentina start their quest for a first major title in more than 20 years against defending Copa América champions Chile, Panama and Bolivia in Group D, while Brazil face Ecuador, Haiti and Peru in arguably the softest of the four groups.
2016 COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO GROUPS
|A||United States (A1), Colombia (A2), Costa Rica (A3), Paraguay (A4)|
|B||Brazil (B1), Ecuador (B2), Haiti (B3), Peru (B4)|
|C||Mexico (C1), Uruguay (C2), Jamaica (C3), Veneuzuela (C4)|
|D||Argentina (D1), Chile (D2), Panama (D3), Bolivia (D4)|