U.S. to play Guatemala, Trinidad and El Salvador

March 6, 2007

NEW YORK -- The United States will play Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, and El Salvador in the first round of this year's CONCACAF Gold Cup, soccer's championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The defending champion Americans play their first two Group B games in Carson, Calif., against Guatemala on June 7 and Trinidad and Tobago on June 9, CONCACAF said Tuesday. The U.S. team meets El Salvador on June 12 at Foxborough, Mass.

If the Americans finish first or second in their group, they would play their quarterfinal at Foxborough on June 16. If they advance as a third-place team, their quarterfinal would be in Houston the following day.

Semifinals of the 12-team tournament will be June 21 at Chicago, with the final three days later. The tournament winner goes to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Group A, based in Miami, includes Canada, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe and Haiti. Group C has Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and Panama, and plays its first two doubleheaders at East Rutherford, N.J., and its third at Houston.

After the tournament, the U.S. team goes to Venezuela as an invited guest for the Copa America, the championship of South America. The United States plays Argentina on June 28, Paraguay on July 2 and Colombia on July 5.

To prepare, the United States has exhibitions against Ecuador on March 25 at Tampa, Fla., Guatemala on March 28 at Frisco, Texas, and China on June 2 at San Jose, Calif.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press