2023 Gold Cup Group Draw
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The groups for the 2023 Gold Cup were drawn Friday at SoFi Stadium, which will host the tournament’s finals on July 16.
The United States aims to become the first repeat winner since Mexico in 2009 and 2011. The other nations will try to disrupt the flow and host a final outside the United States against Mexico for the first time since 2017.
“The region itself is getting stronger. We just want to keep improving,” said current USMNT head coach Anthony Hudson. “The benchmark for us is to win that again.”
Since the tournament’s inception in 1991, there has only been a year in which neither the United States nor Mexico have made it to the finals. When Canada defeated Colombia in 2000, CONCACAF was very different. As traditional as the USMNT and El Tri rule, their northern neighbors will certainly have something to say. The Canadians overcame their 36-year World Cup drought in 2022 and, despite disappointing results in Qatar, learned a lot from the experience. Also, the way they went through qualifying is more in line with what can be expected from the young, developing squad.
“If you go unbeaten against USA and Mexico in World Cup qualifiers, you beat both teams and take valuable away points, you know where you are as a team,” head coach John Herdman said after the draw at SoFi Stadium. “Quality-wise, we know the US is maybe worth $200 million more than us, they have more players playing in the top leagues around the world, but we have that little bit of X-factor and chip on our shoulders. “
The timing of this summer tournament is always a challenge and the schedule so overloaded, especially after a World Cup in December, can be difficult when it comes to creating a squad. To make matters worse, the USA, Mexico, Canada and Panama will be battling it out simultaneously for the CONCACAF Nations League title as the Gold Cup preliminary rounds begin.
It’s a lot of football at a time when players typically expect a time-out.
Talks have already begun for Hudson and the USMNT on how to put together the perfect mix of guys to play domestically and internationally. Mexico and Diego Cocca find themselves in a slightly different situation as this is a fresh start for El Tri after an awkward end to the Gerardo “Tata” Martino era. Nations League and Gold Cup present a perfect opportunity for the new head coach to make a statement, or the complete opposite can occur. If you had to choose who is under the most pressure, Mexico certainly wins this category.
And Canada sees an opportunity to establish dominance in the region.
“In CONCACAF we first have expectations of ourselves, then there are expectations that we should be able to compete with the best here,” said Herdman. “And that’s our plan.”
They not only want to compete with the best, they also want to be.
“We reached the semifinals last time we were here. It was a 99th minute winner from Mexico that blew us away,” Herdman said of the Gold Cup. “These players want to get better every year, so it would be better to reach the final. We will accept that.”
2023 Gold Cup Groups
Winner run 9
Winner run 8
Winner run 7
The action begins on June 16, when 12 teams will compete in two preliminary rounds to claim three spots in the group stage.
Preliminary round schedule
Round 1 – June 16 & 17
Preliminary Round 1: Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guadeloupe
Preliminary Round 2: Martinique vs. St. Lucia
Preliminary Round 3: Curaçao vs. St. Kitts & Nevis
Preliminary Round 4: French Guiana vs. Sint Maarten
Preliminary Round 5: Suriname vs. Puerto Rico
Preliminary Round 6: Guyana vs. Grenada
Round 2 – June 20th
Preliminary Round 7: Winner of Preliminary Round 1 vs. Winner of Preliminary Round 6
Preliminary Round 8: Winner of Preliminary Round 2 vs. Winner of Preliminary Round 5
Preliminary Round 9: Winner of Preliminary Round 3 vs. Winner of Preliminary Round 4
15 stadiums in over 14 cities will host the games. The full schedule will be announced in the coming days.