The U.S. women will take on Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti next month in 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifying.
CONCACAF held the draw for its women’s championship in Miami on Friday, with the United States headlining Group A as qualifying host. Group B features Costa Rica, Mexico, Jamaica and Martinique. The Americans are a combined 12-0-0 all-time against their three group opponents.
“An opponent at this point is an opponent standing between us and the World Cup,” U.S. head coach Jill Ellis said. “We will prepare for every team with the same respect, resolve and planning while making sure our focus is on our performance. We will approach every game with the intent of maximizing our points and getting to the semifinal.”
Originally slated to take place in Mexico, Women’s World Cup qualifying — officially called the CONCACAF Women’s Championship — will be held across four cities in the United States: Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. from Oct. 15-26. The semifinals, as well as the critical third-place match and final will take place at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. on Oct. 24 and 26.
Trinidad & Tobago, coached by American Randy Waldrum — the Houston Dash coach — won the Caribbean championship in August and will play the United States in the Group A opener at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Oct. 15. Two days later, the U.S. then faces Guatemala at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. before rounding out the group stage against Haiti on Oct. 20 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Group B will follow the same pattern of play — Kansas City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. — but offset by a day, playing on Oct. 16, 18 and 21.
The No. 1 ranked Americans nearly didn’t qualify for the 2011 World Cup after a shocking upset in qualifying four years ago. After steamrolling Haiti, Guatemala and Costa Rica by a combined 18-0 in the group stage, the U.S. lost to qualifying host Mexico in the semifinals, forcing the Americans to go into an intercontinental playoff with Italy for the final World Cup berth. Crisis was averted as Alex Morgan and Amy Rodriguez each scored in the two-leg series.
But there were only two guaranteed CONCACAF spots plus the playoff opportunity in that 2011 Women’s World Cup. For the first time ever, the Women’s World Cup will expand to 24 teams in 2015, giving CONCACAF three automatic berths, plus the playoff opportunity (vs. South America’s third-place finisher). Canada won’t take place in next month’s tournament, having already qualified for 2015 as the host nation.
Seven countries in addition to host Canada have already qualified for the 2015 Women’s World Cup: Australia, China, Japan, Korea Republic and Thailand from Asia, as well as England and Switzerland from Europe.
The United States will prepare for World Cup qualifying with matches against Mexico on Sept. 13 and 18, in Sandy, Utah, and Rochester, N.Y., respectively.
The United States has won every CONCACAF crown except in 2010 and in 1998, when the Americans sat out the tournament since they qualified for the 1999 World Cup as hosts. Canada is sitting out this year as host of the 2015 World Cup. Canada is the only other team to have won the competition, prevailing in that 1998 tournament and in 2010 after the U.S. was upset in the semifinals.
All qualifying matches for 2015 will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 or Fox Soccer Plus, as well as streamed on foxsports2go.com.
2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship
Women’s World Cup Qualifying
Kansas City, Kansas; Bridgeview, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Chester, Pennsylvania
Trinidad & Tobago
2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Schedule
|Oct. 15||Guatemala vs. Haiti||6 p.m.||Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|USA vs. Trinidad||8:30 p.m.||Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|Oct. 16||Costa Rica vs. Mexico||6 p.m.||Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|Jamaica vs. Martinique||8:30 p.m.||Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|Oct. 17||Haiti vs. Trinidad||6:30 p.m.||Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.|
|USA vs. Guatemala||9 p.m.||Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.|
|Oct. 18||Martinique vs. Mexico||4 p.m.||Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.|
|Costa Rica vs. Jamaica||6:30 p.m.||Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.|
|Oct. 20||Trinidad vs. Guatemala||5 p.m.||RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.|
|Haiti vs. USA||7:30 p.m.||RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.|
|Oct. 21||Mexico vs. Jamaica||5 p.m.||RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.|
|Martinique vs. Costa Rica||7:30 p.m.||RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.|
|Oct. 24||1st A vs. 2nd B||4:30 p.m.||PPL Park; Chester, Pa.|
|1st B vs. 2nd A||7:30 p.m.||PPL Park; Chester, Pa.|
|Oct. 26||Third-Place Match||3 p.m.||PPL Park; Chester, Pa.|
|Championship||5 p.m.||PPL Park; Chester, Pa.|
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