The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament started this weekend with the Mexican "El Tri" whipping up on El Salvador 5-0 and the powerful Costa Rica squad beating the Cubans by the same score. Team USA gets in the action on Tuesday, June 7 with an opening match against Canada at 8:00 p.m. ET at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Gold Cup is the most prestigious soccer tournament in Western Hemisphere with the winner earning an automatic bid to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. The Gold Cup is held every odd year and has been hosted in the United States since 1991. The United States has won four times, Mexico five times, and Canada once in 2000.
The tournament will be a good test to see how far U.S. soccer has come since the 2010 World Cup and once again will be a measuring stick against the Mexican team that many feel has improved while the United States has stood still. There are 12 teams in the tournament from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
The 2011 Gold Cup begins with round robin group play. The United States is in Group C with Canada, Panama, and Guadeloupe. Failure to advance to the knockout round would be a severe embarrassment and set back for the U.S. In fact, failure to get to a finals match, likely against Mexico, would be a disappointment.
Here's the schedule for the U.S. soccer team in group play in the 2011 Gold Cup:
- Game 1 - June 7, 8:00 p.m. ET vs. Canada in Detroit, MI
- Game 2 - June 11, 8:00 p.m. ET vs. Panama in Tampa, FL
- Game 3 - June 14, 8:00 p.m. ET vs. Guadeloupe in Kansas City, KS
The knockout phase consisting of three rounds -- quarterfinals, semifinals and finals -- starts June 18 and 19 and will be held in Rutherford, NJ and Washington, DC. The semifinals are scheduled for June 22 in Houston, TX and the finals on June 25 in Pasadena, CA.
Games will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel with live online streaming available (for a fee) at Foxsoccer.tv. More information on the 2011 Gold Cup is available at the official web site.