NEW YORK (Monday, 9 March 2009) – The 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup™ will be played in a record 13 different U.S. cities, opening at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles on Friday, 3 July and concluding with the championship match Sunday, 26 July at Giants Stadium outside New York.
The 13 cities are more than twice than the number previously used for the continental championship and shy of only the 1982 FIFA World Cup™ in Spain and the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, which used 10 venues each in Japan and Korea Republic. The 1994 FIFA World Cup™ in the USA was played in nine different venues.
“By expanding the Gold Cup to 13 venues, it will give fans more opportunity to experience the championship in person,” said CONCACAF President Jack Warner.
The Gold Cup will make its first appearance in four cities: Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Philadelphia and Washington. A Gold Cup quarterfinal will be the first sporting event to be played at the Dallas Cowboys New Stadium.
Each venue will host one doubleheader except for the final at Giants Stadium, with the quarterfinals set for Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (Saturday, 18 July) and Dallas (Sunday, 19 July), and the semifinals at Soldier Field in Chicago (Thursday, 23 July).
Besides Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus (7 July), RFK Stadium in Washington (8 July) and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (12 July), other first-round venues include: Qwest Field in Seattle (4 July), Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California (5 July), Reliant Stadium in Houston (9 July), FIU Stadium in Miami (10 July), and Gillette Stadium in the Boston suburb of Foxborough, Massachusetts (11 July).
“While 13 cities create logistical challenges, we think the benefits of reaching out to more venues are clearly worthwhile,” CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer said. “The ability of so many people to see national teams play we feel is well worth the effort.”
The tournament will use the same format as in 2005 and 2007, with the 12-team field divided into three, four-team groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals along with the two best third-place teams.
The three first-round groups for the qualifiers: Canada, Mexico and the USA from the North Zone; Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua from Central America; and Jamaica, Grenada, Guadeloupe and Haiti from the Caribbean, and schedule will be announced at a later time.
The Gold Cup was played in six different cities in its two most recent editions, including two stadia in Los Angeles in 2005 (the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and The Home Depot Center).