2013 Gold Cup: Groups announced, Rose Bowl to host group games

Mexico and Panama will face off at the Rose Bowl in July. - Stephen Dunn

One matchday will be in SoCal, you'll have to travel for the rest.

Today, CONCACAF announced the groups, schedule, and venues for the 2013 Gold Cup. The competition, held every two years, is an "off-year" tournament this time around, and the winner won't be going to the next Confederations Cup. Still, it is international soccer, and it will be in the United States again, so you will have opportunities to watch competitive international soccer all over the country.

First, the groups:

Group A: Mexico, Panama, Canada, Martinique

Group B: Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti

Group C: United States, Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba

The groups are basically balanced along the lines one would expect, with Canada evidently drawing the short straw with Mexico and Panama in their group. Group stage matches will begin July 7 and run through July 16, followed by the quarterfinals July 20 and 21, the semifinals July 24, and the final July 28.

The hosting venues have been announced, and although the sites were previously known, the venues have been matched up with actual games. The only games that will take place in Southern California will be the opening group stage games for Group A on July 7, at the Rose Bowl, where Canada will take on Martinique, followed by Mexico vs. Panama. Tickets will get spectators into both matches, and tickets will go on sale to the general public March 21. Although it won't be a repeat of the 2011 Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl, they have to rotate the venues and the rounds, and it looks like the cheapest price will be about $33 for a regular-priced seat.

The United States will play their group games at the Portland Timbers' Jeld-wen Field, Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium, and Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut this time around.

The tournament quarterfinals will be at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore (the Ravens' stadium). The semifinal matches will be at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the final will be at Soldier Field in Chicago. Apparently, futbol will take over a number of football stadiums this summer.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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