NEW YORK -- Two-time defending champion United States will play Honduras, Haiti and Grenada in the first round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, soccer's championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The Americans open against Grenada in Group B on July 4 in Seattle, then face Honduras on July 8 in Washington, D.C., and Haiti on July 11 at Foxborough, Mass.
The U.S. team likely will take its top players to the FIFA Confederations Cup in June, then allow the Europe-based players to skip the Gold Cup before reporting back to their clubs for preseason training.
CONCACAF announced the groups Thursday.
Mexico is in Group C with Nicaragua, Panama and Guadeloupe and will open July 5 against Nicaragua in Oakland, Calif. Group A begins the tournament July 3 with Costa Rica facing El Salvador and Canada playing Jamaica in Carson, Calif.
The top two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals along with the two best third-place teams.
The final is July 26 at East Rutherford, N.J. Matches also will be played in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and Arlington, Texas.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press