CONCACAF avoids Northeast, West Coast for Gold Cup

MIAMI (AP) — CONCACAF is avoiding the large population areas of the Northeast and West Coast for the Gold Cup, a championship many top players are likely to skip.

The New York area, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., were omitted from the venues announced Thursday, as were Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago.

The Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football said matches will be played at: Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Frisco, and Houston in Texas; Glendale, Arizona; Kansas City, Kansas; and Orlando, Florida, in additional to the final on Aug. 1 in Las Vegas, which was previously announced.

CONCACAF did not say which matches would be at which venues for the tournament, which starts July 10, but did say groups will be based in hubs to minimize travel.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter has said he will allow his Europe-based players to skip the tournament and take vacation ahead of the European club seasons and the start of World Cup qualifying on Sept. 2.

Top players will be used for the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals on June 3 in Denver. The U.S. plays Honduras, and Mexico meets Costa Rica, with the winners meeting for the title on June 6.

The United States is in Gold Cup Group B with Canada, Martinique and the winner of qualifying among Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda and Barbados.

Defending champion Mexico is in Group A with El Salvador, Curaçao and the winner of qualifying among Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Cuba and French Guiana.

Costa Rica, Jamaica and Suriname are in Group C, with the winner of qualifying among Guatemala, Guyana, Guadeloupe and Bahamas.

Honduras, Panama, Grenada and invited guest Qatar, next year’s World Cup host, are in Group D.

Qualifying is scheduled for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from July 2-6,

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