The Gold Cup venues have been announced. It's a stark change from the past, where we've had some sites host more than one matchday. This time, a different approach is in place as 13 different cities will host games.
Perhaps the most surprising venue is the one in Dallas. The honor of being the first-ever sporting event held at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium will be bestowed on the beautiful game as a soccer event while christen the stadium.
The Gold Cup will kick off with a doubleheader at Home Depot Center on July 3 and will culminate with the final, in Giants Stadium on July 26.
Here is the full fixture dates (groups and teams and all that will be determined at a later date)
July 3 – The Home Depot Center (Los Angeles)
July 4 – Qwest Field (Seattle)
July 5 – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (San Francisco)
July 7– Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
July 8 – RFK Stadium (Washington)
July 9 – Reliant Stadium (Houston)
July 10 – Florida International University Stadium (Miami)
July 11 – Gillette Stadium (Boston)
July 12 – University of Phoenix Stadium (Phoenix)
July 18 – Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
July 19 – Dallas Cowboys New Stadium (Dallas)
July 23 – Soldier Field (Chicago)
July 26 – Giants Stadium (New York)
Now, as far as the games go, my guess is we'll see Mexico play on the third day of games, that is on July 5, 9 and 12 in San Francisco, Houston and Phoenix, respectively. I'm also guessing the US will play on the second days, the 4, 8 and 11 in Seattle, Washington DC and Boston. I'm also guessing that Mexico will play its quarterfinal in Dallas... well, that the path for Mexico will line up so if El Tri reaches the quarterfinals they'll play in Dallas.
I don't know how I feel about having the teams travel so much during the group stage and tournament in general. To have a team play in three different cities in three different states across several time zones seems extreme. Teams will adjust as they'll all face the same itineraries but that weaken the overall tournament as well.
I also think that this is too soon from the last time around, that the Gold Cup should be played every four years instead of every other year. The next edition should not be played until 2013, or 2012, and the tournament could be held four years after that and so on. That would build more anticipation and make it more of a real tournament. Not to say it isn't real but the US and Mexico are always aligned so that the likeliest place they will meet for the first time in each tournament is in the final.
Still, I'll be following the Gold Cup and probably will attend our lone matchday doubleheaders out here at HDC. This time around, though, I'll only have one date to circle on my calendar.