With the participants for the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be determined based on FIFA rankings at the conclusion of this tournament, Nations League’s matches have added significance for their impact on the rankings.
“It's an honor every time we have the privilege to host U.S. Soccer at Exploria Stadium, especially in games that have competitive importance like this Concacaf Nations League match,” said Alex Leitão, CEO of Orlando City Soccer Club. “We are excited to yet again showcase the incredible soccer supporters we have here in Orlando and put our beautiful stadium on global display. We can't wait for an exciting battle between the U.S. Men's National Team and Canada, and to perhaps see some of our Lions out there, as well.”
“We thank the US Soccer Federation for coming back to Orlando,” said Jason Siegel, CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission. “Being selected to host two USMNT games in the same year helps confirm what we know — that Orlando is a great soccer city. This provides another chance for our community to attend a tremendous international match as we welcome our North American World Cup partners from the North. It’s also a unique opportunity for us to host key leaders in our community as we continue to seek host city status for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”
The USA is joined by Canada and Cuba in Group A of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League A. Only the winner of the group will advance to the knockout stage, and Canada opened play with consecutive victories against Cuba by an aggregate score of 7-0.
The USMNT plays its inaugural match in the Nations League against Cuba next month on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C. Kickoff in the nation’s capital is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on FS1 (coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. ET), UniMas and TUDN. [TICKETS]
Four days after the opener in D.C., the USA takes on Canada at BMO Field in Toronto (7:30 p.m.; ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN)
Tickets go on sale to the public Friday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. ET through ussoccer.com and at ticketmaster.com. [Note: Tickets are not sold at Exploria Stadium except on the day of the event.] Groups of 20 or more can order directly at ussoccer.com starting on Monday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m. ET. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
The presale period for 2020 Orlando City Premium Season Ticket Members will begin on Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. ET. The presale for all other Season Ticket Members will begin on Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. ET.
Coaches Circle and Presidents Circle members supporting the U.S. Soccer Development Fund can receive individual customer support and concierge services for their ticketing needs. Click here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As the official payment technology sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Visa® has made special arrangements for Visa cardholders to participate in an advance sale of tickets for this match prior to sale to the general public. This advance sale will take place from Thursday, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m. ET until Friday, Sept. 27, at 8 a.m. ET through the purchase link at ticketmaster.com . [Note: ticketmaster.com will only list the Visa presale on its order page during the time frame listed above.] As the preferred card of U.S. Soccer, Visa will be the only payment method accepted during the Visa presale. Terms and conditions apply.
CANADA AIMING TO KNOCK U.S. OFF
With the top six teams in the FIFA rankings as of June 20 receiving entry into the group that will compete for Concacaf’s three automatic spots in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, these Nations League matches are critical since games in official competitions like the Nations League carry greater weight in the overall ranking. Canada currently sits in eighth place in the rankings table among teams in the region, thus results for them are absolutely vital to improve their standing.
Canada head coach John Herdman had this to say about the USA game on Oct. 15 in Toronto: “For us it’s a cup final. This is the game we have been waiting for, for 10-15 years. We want their best. We want the challenge. It’s our house and we have to make sure they feel that.”
This will be the USA’s sixth visit to Orlando and the third since the opening of Exploria Stadium. A near 20-year gap began following a 1-0 win against Sweden in 1998. Then in 2017, the United States returned to overwhelm Panama in a 4-0 World Cup Qualifying win in front of a sellout crowd of 25,303 fans. Most recently, an 81st minute strike from Gyasi Zardes earned the United States a 1-0 shutout victory on March 21 against Ecuador. With the win, Gregg Berhalter became the second USMNT head coach to begin his tenure with three straight victories.
NATIONS LEAGUE LAUNCH
The new tournament was created to maximize the quality, quantity and frequency of competitive matches for all of the confederation’s 41 Member Associations. There are three Leagues (A,B,C), with each League consisting of four groups.
At the end of the round-robin competition, the League A and B teams that finish last in their groups will be relegated to the lower league, while the group winners in Leagues B and C will be promoted to the higher league for the next edition of the competition.
The four group winners from League A will advance to the Knockout Round, where a semifinal and final will be played during the June 2020 FIFA international dates to crown the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League champion.
Additionally, the 2019-20 Nations League will serve as qualifying for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup. The top two finishers in each League A group, along with the group winners in League B will advance directly to the tournament, while the League C group winners will playoff against the League B second-place teams, before a second playoff against the League A third-place sides to determine the final four spots at the next confederation championship.
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