Who's who and what's what in the CONCACAF Gold Cup
The basics about the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which begins Tuesday on FOX Sports 1 and 2:
What's the Gold Cup? Why should I care?
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is the highest association tournament governed by CONCACAF, which helps determine the regional soccer champion in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The Gold Cup is held every two years, and beginning in 2015, the winners of two successive Gold Cups (the 2013 and 2015 editions, for example) will face each other in a playoff to decide the CONCACAF representative to the next Confederations Cup (in this case, in 2017). If the same team has won the Gold Cup on both successive tournaments, no playoff will be needed — that team will secure an automatic qualification bid for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. The United States won the Gold Cup in 2013.
Who will participate in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup?
To those not familiar with the teams and groups for the 2015 Gold Cup, it's quite simple. Twelve teams qualified for the tournament, with three berths allocated to North America, four to Central America and four to the Caribbean. The last Gold Cup spot was determined by a playoff between the fifth-place teams of the Caribbean and Central American zones.
The Gold Cup is composed of three groups, with the top teams from each group and the two best third-place teams qualifying for the knockout stage. Group A is made up of the United States, Panama, Haiti and Honduras. Many consider this as the Group of Death this summer. However, the United States are the favorites to win the group, while Honduras and Panama look to repeat past successes.
Meanwhile, Group B is composed of Canada, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Jamaica. The obvious favorite here is Costa Rica, who more than exceeded expectations in the 2014 World Cup, taking the Netherlands to penalty kicks before losing in the quarterfinals. Jamaica and El Salvador will be battling it out for the second spot, while Canada, having seen a gradual decline of soccer quality throughout the years, will look to be competitive this summer.
Group C has Mexico, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guatemala. Mexico is the favorite to win this group hands down. With a stacked roster, El Tri should have no problems advancing to the quarterfinal round. This gives Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago an opportunity to secure the second-place spot in the group. Cuba enters the tournament as the group minnow but could surprise their rivals.
Where will the Gold Cup tournament be held?
The 13th edition of the Gold Cup will be held across 14 venues in the United States and Canada, with 12 of them hosting two matches each. The venues and stadiums are:
Atlanta — Georgia Dome (semifinals)
Baltimore — M&T Bank Stadium (quarterfinals)
Carson, Calif. — StubHub Center (Group B)
Charlotte, N.C. — Bank of America Stadium (Group C)
Chester, Pa. — PPL Park (Third-place match)
Chicago — Soldier Field (Group C)
East Rutherford, N.J. — MetLife Stadium (quarterfinals)
Foxborough, Mass. — Gillette Stadium (Group A)
Frisco, Texas — Toyota Stadium (Group A)
Glendale, Ariz. — University of Phoenix Stadium (Group C)
Houston — BBVA Compass Stadium (Group B)
Kansas City, Mo. — Sporting Park (Group A)
Philadelphia — Lincoln Financial Field (final)
Toronto — BMO Field (Group B)
How long does the tournament run? Where can I catch the games?
The 2015 Gold Cup tournament will run from July 7 to 26 and will include a consolation third-place game for the first time since 2003. Two matches will also be played in Canada, marking the first time a CONCACAF Gold Cup game is played in that country. The Gold Cup's group match schedule can be found below (all times Eastern):
Tuesday, July 7 (Group A)
At Frisco, Texas
Panama vs. Haiti, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
USA vs. Honduras, 9:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
Wednesday, July 8 (Group B)
At Carson, Calif.
Costa Rica vs. Jamaica, 8 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
El Salvador vs. Canada, 10:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
Thursday, July 9 (Group C)
Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guatemala, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
Mexico vs. Cuba, 9:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
Friday, July 10 (Group A)
At Foxborough, Mass.
Honduras vs. Panama, 6 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
USA vs. Haiti, 8:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
Saturday, July 11 (Group B)
Jamaica vs. Canada, 6:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
Costa Rica vs. El Salvador, 9 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
Sunday, July 12 (Group C)
At Glendale, Ariz.
Trinidad and Tobago vs. Cuba, 6:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
Guatemala vs. Mexico, 9 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
Monday, July 13 (Group A)
At Kansas City, Mo.
Haiti vs. Honduras, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
Panama vs. USA, 9:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
Tuesday, July 14 (Group B)
Jamaica vs. El Salvador, 6 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
Canada vs. Costa Rica, 8:30 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1)
Wednesday, July 15 (Group C)
At Charlotte, N.C.
Cuba vs. Guatemala, 6 p.m. (FOX Sports 2), 6 p.m.
Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago, 8:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)