News: 2015 Gold Cup qualifiers

Discussion in 'Gold Cup' started by Paul Calixte, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    Hi everyone,

    Since the practice of inviting guest teams stopped after 2005, the Gold Cup has consisted of three qualifiers from North America, five from Central America and four from the Caribbean.

    Here's what we know up to now:

    North America

    There are only three national teams in our part of the confederation, so Mexico, the US and Canada all automatically qualify.

    Central America

    Yesterday, UNCAF decided to move forward the Copa Centroamericana to September 2014 (tentatively), to take advantage of the FIFA matchday window; and to hold it in the US for the first time, with Houston, Dallas, DC and LA as primary host candidates. The groups are already set, curiously along geographic lines (north and south):

    Group A

    Honduras
    El Salvador
    Guatemala
    Belize

    Group B

    Costa Rica
    Panama
    Nicaragua

    The top two in each group qualify for the Gold Cup and the tournament semifinals, while the third-place teams will face off for the last continental berth.

    Caribbean

    No announcements have been made on the first qualifying groups, but the CFU's calendar of events reveals the 2014 Caribbean Cup format:

    Prequalification (May) --> Likely, playoffs or a single group to cut the number of participants down to 24. It may not be necessary, depending on how may teams drop out before the tournament begins; but according to Art. II of the 2013 Gold Cup regulations, the likes of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, the US Virgin Islands and Sint-Maarten face suspension from CONCACAF and a 10,000 USD re-entry fine if they don't play in this Caribbean Cup, after skipping the last edition.

    First round (September 1-9) --> With 24 teams still alive in the tournament, and with 16 playing in the next qualifying round, I'm guessing that eight receive a bye (including 2013 Gold Cup qualifiers Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Haiti and Martinique), while the remaining 16 play in four groups of four; top two in each move on.

    Second round (October 6-14) --> The eight survivors from the first round join the eight with byes in four groups of four; top two in each move on.

    Finals (November 10-18) --> The remaining eight play in two groups of four; top two in each qualify for the Gold Cup and move on to the tournament semifinals.

    It appears that no Finals berth has been reserved for the host, which may have to do with Haiti and the Dominican Republic lobbying to co-host the tournament - although the latest political tensions between them (over a court ruling denying a path to citizenship to children of undocumented Haitian immigrants born on Dominican soil) may have cooled off said effort.

    The 12 finalists will meet up in the US in June 2015 to challenge the host (and defending champions) for the last half-ticket to the 2017 Confederations Cup. If the US win, then they'll go straight to the World Cup pregame party; if any other team takes the 2015 title, they will move on to a one-game playoff with the US at the end of the year.

    2015 Gold Cup qualifiers

    1. Mexico
    2. USA
    3. Canada
     
  2. drt2k3

    drt2k3 Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    Wilmington, NC
    Club:
    Wilmington H.
    its good to see Copa CentroAmericana and the Caribbean Cup take advantage of the Fifa Matchday Windows! great news there
     
  3. HomietheClown

    HomietheClown Member+

    Sep 4, 2010
    Club:
    --other--
    Yup ^^^^. Attendance should be pretty good if all the euro based players come in and take it seriously.
     
  4. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Country:
    United States
    For people who want Gold Cup games moved out of the USA, it must make them cringe that qualifiers are being moved into the States.

    The offical UNCAF statement seems to say September 1 to 13, making it bleed past the FIFA date of September 9 ("a realizarse tentativamente en la Ventana FIFA del 1 al 13 de septiembre del presente año."): http://uncaf.net/portal/modules/futbolmasculino/item.php?itemid=3932

    One east-coast city, one west-coast, and two Texas. Wonder how the travel will end up.

    Any chance that the Carribbean round-of-24 could be played as eight groups of three? (Six groups of four? Four groups of six [playing five matchdays in the nine-day window]?)
     
  5. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    A dose of realism: everyone's after that expat money. There's a reason you never hear someone from UNCAF or an individual Central American federation talk of hosting the Gold Cup.

    That should be enough time to get the Gold Cup-relevant phases (i.e. group stage, fifth-place game) overwith.

    Typically, Copa Centroamericana group-stage games have been played as triple-headers: Group B game first, one of the Group A games second, and the Group A game featuring the host team last. In this case, my guess would be:

    - Group B game
    - Group A game involving Belize
    - Second Group A game

    That way, UNCAF can get the weaker attendance draws out of the way before the blockbuster matches between Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

    Since there will be a second qualifying round with 16 participants, and the best participants in the Caribbean Cup have typically received byes from the first qualifying round, I'm hard-pressed to see the CFU forcing the likes of Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba to play in it this time around.
     
  6. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Country:
    United States
    #6 EvanJ, Feb 5, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
    Yes, but do we want good players to have to go back to clubs in UEFA before the Semifinals and Finals?

    If the locations are "one east-coast city, one west-coast, and two Texas" like SJJ said, I think it would make sense to have the east-coast city and the west-coast city each host one group, one Texas city host the Semifinals, and one Texas city host the Fifth Place Game, Third Place Game, and Final. That way the teams need to make only one long trip and one trip within Texas. If some teams had to travel from Miami to Los Angeles (for the Semifinals and/or Final) to meet an opponent coming from Houston to Los Angeles, the latter is a shorter flight (using hypothetical cities, the difference would be even bigger if you change Miami to an east-coast city farther north). As far as start times, they could be 6:30 P.M. at an east-coast city, 9:00 P.M. at the same east-coast city, at 11:00 P.M. at a west-coast city. I'm making gaps of 150 minutes between start times for games at the same stadium and 120 minute gaps between games at different stadium. If the west-coast city hosted two games, the middle game could be at 8:30 P.M. to be part of a doubleheader with an 11:00 P.M. game. I would prefer not to start anything after 11:00 P.M. Eastern even is it was part of a west-coast doubleheader. What I posted was for weekdays, and I would use earlier start times on weekends.
     
  7. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    So, where would UNCAF have Group B play? None of the teams in that group is a big draw in the US: Nicaraguans and Panamanians are only now starting to take interest in football, and neither have been known to bring more than around 2,000 fans to their Gold Cup games. As for Costa Rica, there simply aren't that many ticos in the US, mainly because their country largely skipped the civil wars that caused mass migrations from other Central American countries in the 80s. At best, those games could get decent crowds in Miami, but UNCAF didn't include it as a host city. My bet's on Group B games being used as an appetizer before the main course feat. Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
     
  8. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Country:
    United States
    Well if one group will get more fans than the other group regardless of location within the USA, what's wrong with starting one group on each coast? I don't care which group starts on which coast.
     
  9. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    The problem is that renting the StubHub Center or RFK for 1-2 thousand to watch Panama-Nicaragua is a guaranteed money-loser for UNCAF (the same reason MLS teams that don't own their own stadium play their early-round US Open Cup games elsewhere). From a financial standpoint, they would be better served renting one single stadium per matchday, and having the weaker draws take place before the primetime sell-out event between two of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
     
  10. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Country:
    United States
    So would you like something like this?

    Matchday 1 on the east coast
    Matchday 2 in Texas
    Matchday 3 on the west coast
    Semifinals, Fifth Place Game, Third Place Game, and Final in Texas (at a different venue than Matchday 2)

    I would think that the poorer UNCAF countries (if not all of them) would not want to spend that much on airplane flights unless CONCACAF paid the cost. I think that format would work better if the whole tournament was in a small area like the first two matchdays in Dallas and the third matchday and games after that in Houston or vice versa.
     
  11. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    First things first, we have to find out if UNCAF even includes DC among their final list of hosts.
     
  12. nfiniti

    nfiniti Member

    Jun 30, 2007
    Rutherford
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Country:
    Panama
    if a game is held in NY area, i'm sure we can get at least 3,000 panamanians (ex: GC game in Tampa, we did a good job of filling up 2 whole sections) and there's a huge Tico community in the area.... but i don't know bout nicaraguans tho.. .. just need for Organizers to tell us the stadiums at least 1.5 month in advance..
     
  13. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    The CFU has confirmed that the Caribbean Cup finals will take place in Jamaica. In an important twist, Jamaican Football Federation president "Captain" Horace Burrell also revealed that the fifth-place finisher from this tournament will play off with the fifth-place from the Copa Centroamericana for the last Gold Cup spot.

    Of course, I wonder if the playoff will be home-and-away (unlikely) or a one-off in the US a neutral location, as well as if the Caribbean Cup finals will now feature a Fifth-Place game or simply go by whichever of the third-place finishers in the group stage had a better record. Also, my guess is that the CFU lobbied for this playoff after seeing Nicaragua and Belize bomb out of the 2009 and 2013 Gold Cups, respectively, scoring only one goal between them and losing a combined 6-0 to the Caribbean opponents in their groups.
     
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  14. HomietheClown

    HomietheClown Member+

    Sep 4, 2010
    Club:
    --other--
    A playoff sounds pretty cool.

    Neutral site would have to be New York or Miami you'd imagine.
     
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  15. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    You read my mind - I can't see CFU/the Caribbean fifth-place team agreeing to anywhere else in the US, and I'm not sure if the UNCAF team would be willing to go up to Toronto or Montreal.
     
  16. dinamo_zagreb

    dinamo_zagreb Member+

    Jun 27, 2010
    San Jose, CA / Zagreb, Croatia
    Club:
    --other--
    Country:
    Croatia
    Great news for Caribbean teams with that playoff stuff. Home-away would be great, in March 2015 (official FIFA dates).


    If Jamaica hosts the CFU Cup, they get direct berth so 7 teams will qualify via qualifiers.

    What will the qualifiers look like? Wikipedia say there will be three stages:
    preliminary with XY teams
    first stage with 24 teams
    second stage with 16 teams.
    That means 4 groups of 4, group winners + best 3 runners-up qualify.

    I would say that better option might be: 28 teams in first stage, 7 groups, top two advance; 14 teams in second stage, 7 home-away ties (to add more excitement), winners advance to Finals.
     
  17. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    I've been wondering as well - maybe the CFU just tells Jamaica to play in qualifying, and shame on them if they can't make the top 8 in the Caribbean (with which most Jamaicans would agree).

    Then again, it could have been the proposed format with joint bids being considered, to avoid the thorny issue of deciding who gets the normal two automatic berths in the finals between the hosts and the defending champion.
     
  18. dinamo_zagreb

    dinamo_zagreb Member+

    Jun 27, 2010
    San Jose, CA / Zagreb, Croatia
    Club:
    --other--
    Country:
    Croatia
    Some preliminary stage groups are known, some are not.

    CFU seem to be going forward with new leadership, but they should be informing public waaay better than they do. I don't know why they did not published the draw. Clearly, it was made 10+ days ago, and nothing on their website. Some national FAs (Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda) announced their groups.

    PRELIMINARY ROUND
    group ?

    ???
    group ? in Aruba
    Aruba
    Turks and Caicos Islands
    British Virgin Islands
    French Guiana

    FIRST ROUND
    group 5
    in Antigua and Barbuda
    Antigua and Barbuda
    Dominican Republic
    Anguilla
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
     
  19. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
    #19 Paul Calixte, Apr 8, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
    You sure it's the BVI and not the USVI? Because unless their winning the "VI derby" in 2011 (first round of WCQ in CONCACAF) helped them to a higher seeding in this tournament, the USVI not playing in the prelim round of the Caribbean Cup means that they likely opted out. If that's the case, then according to Art. II of the last Gold Cup regulations, the USVI face automatic suspension from CONCACAF if they don't show up for the 2016 Caribbean Cup.

    EDIT: Check that...I re-read the Aruban article (side note: man, Papiamento is fascinating), and it says that they have to top the group to reach the first round. In that case, and assuming one team opted out (Bonaire?), it would make sense to have two groups of four in the preliminary round, with only the group winners in each moving on, to cut down 30 CFU members to 24.
     
  20. Sebsasour

    Sebsasour Member+

    May 26, 2012
    Albuquerque NM
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Country:
    United States
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  21. HomietheClown

    HomietheClown Member+

    Sep 4, 2010
    Club:
    --other--
    Sounds cool to me.
     
  22. Paul Calixte

    Paul Calixte Moderator
    Staff Member

    Orlando City SC
    Apr 30, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Country:
    United States
  23. Sebsasour

    Sebsasour Member+

    May 26, 2012
    Albuquerque NM
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Country:
    United States
    I wonder if the non FIFA members like Guadalupe and Martinique are eligible? Either way that's a huge chance for numerous CFU teams who realistically will struggle to ever make a World Cup
     
  24. HomietheClown

    HomietheClown Member+

    Sep 4, 2010
    Club:
    --other--
    I don't see why not. They should be eligible since it is not a FIFA related tournament. It is a CONCACAF and CONMEBOL concoction. They make the rules.
     
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