US to play Mexico, Panama, Trinidad in women’s qualifying

              United States' Carli Lloyd, bottom, reaches for a crossed ball as Chile's Carla Guerrero, top, defends during the second half of an international friendly soccer match Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

MIAMI (AP) — The United States will play Mexico, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago in the group stage of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which serves as qualifying for next year’s World Cup in France.

The top-ranked U.S., defending its 2015 World Cup title, opens Oct. 4 against Mexico, plays Panama three days later, then closes Group A play on Oct. 10. The matches will be at Cary, North Carolina.

Canada, the second-highest-ranked team, is in Group B in Edinburg, Texas, along with Costa Rica, Cuba and Jamaica.

The semifinals are Oct. 14 in Frisco, Texas, where the third-place game and championship are three days later.

The semifinal winners and third-place winner qualify for the 24-nation field at the World Cup, to be played from June 7 to July 7. The third-place loser advances to a home-and-home playoff against Argentina for another berth.