The draw for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup was postponed once, but it has taken place and it gives the United States easily the simplest route to the final, while Mexico finds themselves in the toughest group. The U.S. gets three teams that they should handle rather easily and three teams that all failed to make it to the final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. On the flip side, Mexico drew arguably the third-best team in CONCACAF in Costa Rica and another team that made it to the final round of qualifying, El Salvador. On top of that, if Mexico wins their group, they will play the winner of Group B in the semifinals, while the U.S. will not see a group winner until the final.
The tournament begins on June 5 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas where Mexico and El Salvador will play the second match of a double-header after Costa Rica and Cuba. The four Group A teams will then play double-headers in Charlotte, N.C. and Chicago, Ill. to close out their group stage play.
The United States and the rest of Group C will play their three group stage matches in venues not accustomed to hosting soccer too often. The group will begin play in Detroit at Ford Field, a venue that has a roof and artificial turf, before moving on to Tampa Bay, Fla. The group will close out group play in Kansas City, Kansas at the new KC Soccer Stadium that is currently under construction.
Group B will be asked to make a cross-country trip after opening their tournament at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. and then playing next in Miami. The group will then close out their first stage by playing the first competitive international matches at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
Assuming that both the United States and Mexico win their groups, which they are expected to do, the two teams will be on opposite sides of the bracket and would not play until the tournament final, assuming they both make it there. The United States would play their quarterfinal match at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. and Mexico would play theirs at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. Both semifinals will be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston with the final being played on June 25 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.