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Canada to open inaugural women’s Gold Cup in February in Houston

The inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup will be held next year in Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Carson, Calif., CONCACAF announced Tuesday.

Games will be played at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles and Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., as well as Houston’s Shell Energy Stadium and San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium, which will host the final.

The 10th-ranked Canadian women have already qualified for the tournament, scheduled to run from Feb.17 to March 10. The third-ranked Americans, No. 9 Brazil, No. 22 Colombia, No. 31 Argentina, and No. 49 Paraguay have also booked their ticket to the group stage.

While the draw is set for Dec. 11, CONCACAF says Canada will be based out of Houston to start with Group C games Feb. 22, 25 and 28. The Canadian men played two games at the same venue in July at the Gold Cup.

The U.S. will play in Group A in Carson, Calif., with Brazil in Group B in San Diego.

The Americans qualified by defeating Canada 1-0 in the final of the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship in July 2022 in Mexico. Olympic champion Canada secured its spot by defeating Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate in September’s Olympic qualifying playoff.

The four South American teams were invited to participate.

The tournament will open Feb. 17 with a preliminary round at Dignity Health Sports Park Track and Field Stadium.

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The six participating teams in the preliminary round will be the three League A runners-up and three League B winners in Road to CONCACAF W Gold Cup qualifying play. They will be divided into three pairings according to the CONCACAF ranking as of December 2023.

The three single-match elimination winners will advance to the group stage, as will the three League A group winners from Road to W Gold Cup qualifying play.

El Salvador, ranked No. 115, is the only team to have already secured a place in the prelims by finishing first in Group B of League B of the Road to W Gold Cup.

Eight other teams — five for the preliminary round and three for the group stage — have yet to be determined.

Format

The group stage, consisting of eight CONCACAF and four CONMEBOL entries, will see teams split into three groups of four for round-robin play Feb. 20-28.

Group A will play out of Dignity Health Sports Park, Group B at Snapdragon Stadium and Group C at Shell Energy Stadium. The group winners, runners-ups and the two best third-place finishers will advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals.

The knockout stage will start with the quarterfinals at BMO Stadium on March 2 and 3, followed by the semifinals and final at Snapdragon Stadium on March 6 and 10, respectively.

The quarterfinal pairings will be determined by the group stage standings, with the team accumulating the most points facing the side with the least (No. 1 versus No. 8, No. 2 versus No. 7, No. 3 versus No. 6, and No. 4 versus No. 5).

CONCACAF covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

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