USMNT and Mexico learn cities and dates for 2017 Gold Cup

The road ahead for the U.S. and Mexico at the CONCACAF Gold Cup next summer is a bit clearer.

The venues and dates for the Gold Cup group stage were announced Monday, with the U.S. being placed into Group B and Mexico into Group C. Though the rest of the teams have not been placed into groups yet, along with the seeded team for Group A, the route ahead for the USMNT and El Tri is set.

The U.S. will begin their tournament on July 8 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, followed by a July 12 game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The USA’s group stage will finish at FirstEnergy Stadium on July 15 in Cleveland. That sets the U.S. up to play every game on natural grass, which they will surely appreciate. Every match is also in an NFL stadium as CONCACAF hopes to cash in on big crowds. Most importantly for the U.S., none of the travel is cross-country so they won’t be be too tired, although they would probably prefer to have Nashville be the second game of the group stage to minimize travel further

For Mexico, they will kick off the Gold Cup on July 9 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Then, they head to Sports Authority Field on July 13 in Denver followed by the Alamodome in San Antonio on July 16. Like the U.S. slate, every game is in a large stadium and they are also exempt from cross-country travel, but the Alamodome is artificial turf. They will likely bring in natural grass to lay over the turf, but that’s hardly ideal and sometimes worse than turf.

Group A, which is not yet set, will be played mostly on the west coast, unlike the other two groups, with matches at Red Bull Arena, BBVA Compass Stadium and Toyota Stadium. Those are all natural grass MLS stadium with capacities at 25,000 and below, which is expected without a marquee team to draw.

While the group stage is mostly comprised of east coast and southern venues, the knockout stage will focus largely on the west coast with venues near Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Phoenix. Other knockouts will be played in Dallas and Philadelphia, with Dallas the only one of the five knockout stage venues featuring artificial turf, but like San Antonio, they will probably have temporary grass laid down.

Here is the group stage:

July 7 – Group A, Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)

July 8 – Group B, Nissan Stadium (Nashville, TN)

July 9 – Group C, Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego, CA)

July 11 – Group A, BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)

July 12 – Group B,  Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)

July 13 – Group C, Sports Authority Field (Denver, CO)

July 14 – Group A, Toyota Stadium (Frisco, TX)

July 15 – Group B,  FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, OH)

July 16 – Group C,  Alamodome (San Antonio, TX)