USA to face Canada in CONCACAF opener

MIAMI, March 8 (Reuters) - The United States will face rivals Canada in their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener while holders Mexico kick off their title defense with a mouth-watering clash against El Salvador.

The tournament for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, which runs from June 5-25, features 12 teams in three groups of four with the top eight teams advancing to the knockout quarter-finals.

Five times winners Mexico were drawn in a tough Group A with El Salvador, Costa Rica and Cuba.

Mexico's opener against Salvador on June 5 is expected to attract a massive crowd at the Dallas Cowboys' 100,000-seat, state-of-the-art venue in suburban Arlington that also played host to this year's Super Bowl.

Honduras, who qualified for last year's World Cup in South Africa, are strong favourites to top Group B where they will face Guatemala, Jamaica and Grenada.

Coach Bob Bradley's United States club, four-times Gold Cup champions, should have little trouble emerging from a relatively easy Group C that includes Canada, Panama and Guadeloupe.

The Americans will face their northern neighbours at Ford Field in Detroit on June 7.

The tournament, played in 13 stadiums and 11 cities across the United States, climaxes with the final on June 25 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. 


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