Two-time Defending Champions to Open Play Against Grenada on July 4 in Seattle
The United States will kick off its Gold Cup title defense against Grenada, Honduras and Haiti after being drawn into Group B of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The U.S. will first take on Grenada on July 4 at 6 p.m. PT at Qwest Field in Seattle. The team then crosses the country to face Honduras on July 8 at 9 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., before rounding out group play against Haiti on July 11 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. ET. The U.S. has never lost a match in group play, holding a 21-0-1 lifetime record.
The U.S. is seeking to become the second team to win three consecutive Gold Cups, having claimed the crown in 2005 and 2007. Mexico won three consecutive titles from 1993 to 1998 and also won in 2003. The United States has won four times since the tournament began in 1991, including three of the last four events.
The U.S. will face Grenada for only the third time in history, and the first in the Gold Cup. The teams squared off in the second round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. winning 3-0 on June 13, 2004, in Columbus before taking the away leg with a 3-2 win in St. George's eight days later.
Qwest Field will host the U.S. for the second time in Gold Cup action, as the MNT won group matches at the venue against Cuba and Canada en route to capturing the 2005 title. Overall, the U.S. holds a 3-0-0 record in the new home of Seattle Sounders FC.
The United States will be playing against Honduras for the fourth time in Gold Cup history, and the first in the nation's capital. The teams squared off in the championship match of the inaugural tournament on July 7, 1991, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, with the U.S. claiming top honors with a 4-3 win on penalty kicks following a scoreless 120 minutes. Most recently, the U.S. overcame a 1-0 deficit with two late goals to snatch a 2-1 win in the semifinals of the 2005 Gold Cup on July 21 at Giants Stadium. Overall, the U.S. is 2-0-1 against Honduras in tournament history.
Despite having played 17 times at historic RFK Stadium, this is the USA's first Gold Cup match in Washington, D.C. The U.S. is 11-3-3 lifetime in the building. The U.S. and Honduras met once before at RFK during qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The 3-2 loss for the United States marked the last time they were defeated by a CONCACAF opponent on home soil, a string of 52 matches.
The meeting with Honduras will come one month after the teams meet in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 6. More than 15,000 tickets have been sold for the match, which is the next at home for the U.S.
The meeting against Haiti gives the U.S. a chance to draw even in the series between the nations. Haiti is one of two teams in CONCACAF to have a winning record against the United States, holding a lifetime 6-5-4 advantage. The teams have met once before in the regional championship event, a 3-0 win for the U.S. on Feb. 12, 2000, in Miami.
The U.S. is no stranger to seeing Gold Cup action in Foxborough, having played seven times at Gillette Stadium since 2003. The U.S. has never lost in the venue in tournament play, boasting an unbeaten 6-0-1 record that includes six shutouts, 18 goals scored and only one surrendered. The U.S. has played quarterfinal matches there in the past three tournaments, defeating Cuba, Jamaica and Panama respectively. Landon Donovan became the fourth player in U.S. history to record four goals in one game when the U.S. overwhelmed Cuba 5-0 on July 19, 2003.
If the U.S. advance out of the group in the top two places, they will head down the Northeast Corridor to Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field for a July 18 quarterfinal. The U.S. Men haven't played a match in Pennsylvania since 1993 in Bethlehem, and the appearance in the City of Brotherly Love would be the first since a match with England's Sheffield Wednesday at Veterans Stadium on Aug. 2, 1991. The last international played by the U.S. in Philadelphia was a 4-0 loss to Israel on Sept. 25, 1968. If the U.S. advance as one of the two best third-place teams, their quarterfinal will be played on July 19 in the Dallas Cowboys new stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Gold Cup semifinals and finals will be played in stadiums where the U.S. has clinched their last two Gold Cups. The site of the 2007 final, Chicago's Soldier Field, will host the semifinals on July 23, while Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. will host the final as it did in 2005.
The U.S. claimed the regional crown in 2007 with a come-from behind victory against Mexico at Soldier Field. After falling behind just two minutes before halftime, a Landon Donovan penalty kick in the 62nd and a highlight reel volley from Benny Feilhaber in the 73rd put the U.S. on the podium for the second consecutive time.
In addition to the four aforementioned titles in the first eight editions of the regional championship, the U.S. has also finished second twice and third twice. Overall, the U.S. has a 34-4-5 record in Gold Cup play, and the U.S. is 3-1 in penalty shootouts. Brazil and Mexico are each responsible for two of the U.S. defeats, while Colombia eliminated the U.S. on penalties in the 2000 quarterfinals.
Prior to the Gold Cup opener in Seattle, the U.S. will be coming off a stretch of at least five games in the previous 31 days. The U.S. plays at Costa Rica on June 3 in FIFA World Cup qualifying, before returning home to host Honduras in Chicago on June 6. Then the U.S. heads to South Africa for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup – a tournament for which the U.S. qualified as 2007 Gold Cup champions – for matches against Italy, Brazil and Egypt in the group stage.
2009 CONCACAF GOLD CUP™ SCHEDULE
GROUP A: Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica
GROUP B: Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, USA
GROUP C: Guadeloupe, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama
Friday, July 3 – Los Angeles (The Home Depot Center)
Canada vs. Jamaica, 5 p.m. (8 p.m. EDT)
Costa Rica vs. El Salvador, 7 p.m. (10 p.m. EDT)
Saturday, July 4 – Seattle (Qwest Field)
Honduras vs. Haiti, 4 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT)
Grenada vs. USA, 6 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT)
Sunday, July 5 – San Francisco (Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum)
Panama vs. Guadeloupe, 2 p.m. (5 p.m. EDT)
Nicaragua vs. Mexico, 4 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT)
Tuesday, July 7 – Columbus, Ohio (Crew Stadium)
Jamaica vs. Costa Rica, 7 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT)
El Salvador vs. Canada, 9 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT)
Wednesday, July 8 – Washington, D.C. (Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium)
Haiti vs. Grenada, 7 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT)
USA vs. Honduras, 9 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT)
Thursday, July 9 – Houston (Reliant Stadium)
Guadeloupe vs. Nicaragua, 7 p.m. (8 p.m. EDT)
Mexico vs. Panama, 9 p.m. (10 p.m. EDT)
Friday, July 10 – Miami (Florida International University Stadium)
Costa Rica vs. Canada, 7 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT)
El Salvador vs. Jamaica, 9 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT)
Saturday, July 11 – Boston (Gillette Stadium)
USA vs. Haiti, 7 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT)
Honduras vs. Grenada, 9 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT)
Sunday, July 12 – Phoenix (University of Phoenix Stadium)
Panama vs. Nicaragua, 2 p.m. (5 p.m. EDT)
Mexico vs. Guadeloupe, 4 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT)
Saturday, July 18 – Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)
Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up, TBD
Group B winner vs. Group A/C third-place, TBD
Matches scheduled for 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. with order TBD
Sunday, July 19 – Dallas (Dallas Cowboys New Stadium)
Group C runner-up vs. Group A runner-up, TBD
Group C winner vs. Group A/B third place, TBD
Matches scheduled for 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. local (4 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT) with order TBD
Thursday, July 23 – Chicago (Soldier Field)
Philadelphia quarterfinal winners, TBD (z)
Dallas quarterfinal winners, TBD (z)
Matches scheduled for 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. local (7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT) with order TBD
Sunday, July 26 – New York (Giants Stadium)
Semifinal winners, 3 p.m. (3 p.m. EDT)