MIAMI – Attention tri-state soccer fans; actually, attention all Northeast soccer fans:
There will be no Concacaf Gold Cup matches within reasonable driving distance of you.
Concacaf Thursday announced the nine stadiums in six metropolitan areas that will host group, quarterfinal and semifinal matches in the competition this summer.
Gold Cup matches have been hosted in Harrison, N.J. and Chester, Pa. over the past decades, but not this year, most likely due to COVID-19 protocols in various areas of the country, especially Texas.
In fact, Texas will have an unprecedented six venues in the competition.
The confederation did not address that in its announcement of the venues.
“The announcement of these outstanding venues moves us a step closer to what is sure to be a great Gold Cup this summer,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said in a statement. “It is fitting that in our 60th anniversary year we will use a number of stadiums with a rich history of hosting Concacaf football, while also making history with new venues that will host Gold Cup matches for the very first time.
“I am also extremely pleased that we have enhanced the Gold Cup format so that all the final group stage games will be played simultaneously. This will add to the competitive intensity of the tournament and provide an even more compelling spectacle for fans. Alongside the introduction of a first ever Gold Cup Prelims and a new format in the knockout stage this is another example of our football first approach at Concacaf.”
The nine stadiums that will host group and knockout stage matches of this year’s edition of the Concacaf Gold Cup are, in alphabetical order by stadium name (previously hosted Gold Cups):
* AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas (2009, 2011, 2013, and 2017)
* BBVA Stadium, Houston, Texas (2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019)
* Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas (2011, 2015, 2019)
* Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas (1993)
* Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla. (first-time host)
* NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2019)
* Q2 Stadium, Austin, Texas (first-time host)
* State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona (2009, 2015, 2017, 2019)
* Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas (2015, 2017, and 2019)
These nine stadiums join the previously announced Allegiant Stadium (the final) and DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Prelims) as the 11 venues that will host 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup matches.
The group stage featuring 16 national teams will begin July 10 and will be played in a hub-city format, reducing team travel to prioritize the safety of all involved. The groups for the Gold Cup were also drawn on September 10, 2020, and are as follows:
Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao and Winner Prelims 9
Group B: USA, Canada, Martinique and Winner Prelims 7
Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname and Winner Prelims 8
Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada and Qatar.
In a significant development to the format, for the first time all the Gold Cup’s final group stage matches will be played simultaneously. This is to ensure an even more compelling spectacle as the teams each compete to reach the knockout stage.
At the end of Group Stage play, the top two finishers in each group will advance to a knockout stage, which for the first time in Gold Cup history see teams on opposite sides of the bracket meet from the quarterfinals onwards. The knockout stage will be played as follows:
Quarterfinal #1: Winner Group D vs Second Place Group A
Quarterfinal #4: Winner Group B vs Second Place Group C
Quarterfinal #2: Winner Group A vs Second Place Group D
Quarterfinal #3: Winner Group C vs Second Place Group B
Semifinal #1: Winner Quarterfinal #1 vs Winner Quarterfinal #4
Semifinal #2: Winner Quarterfinal #2 vs Winner Quarterfinal #3
Final: Winner Semifinal #1 vs Winner SF #2
Concacaf will announce the schedule, ticketing information, and other details in the coming weeks.