Concacaf is taking its Gold Cup final to Sin City.
Las Vegas's Allegiant Stadium has been selected to host the 2021 competition's title game, marking the first time the city will have ever hosted a Gold Cup match. The venue, which is the home of the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders, is an indoor stadium, which will alleviate some concerns raised about hosting an Aug. 1 match in the city's summer heat.
“At Concacaf we are very excited about this summer’s Gold Cup and we know that Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium will provide a great host city and venue for the final,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said in a statement. “2021 is Concacaf’s 60th anniversary year, making this edition extra special for players and fans. The federations and their teams are looking forward to this tournament with great anticipation and it is fitting that the regional champion will be crowned in such an outstanding venue and famous city."
The tournament, which will feature VAR for the first time, will kick off with a preliminary round that's held at Inter Miami's stadium July 2-6 and will determine the final three qualifiers to a field whose groups are already set. 2022 World Cup host Qatar is a guest nation and part of the 16-team field for the tournament proper, which kicks off on July 10:
Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao and Preliminary Round Winner
Group B: USA, Canada, Martinique and Preliminary Round Winner
Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname and Preliminary Round Winner
Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada and Qatar
The remaining locations and dates will be announced in the near future, while the final will increase Las Vegas's profile in the U.S. soccer discussion after being name-dropped by MLS commissioner Don Garber as a potential location for the league's 30th franchise after Sacramento's recent setback.
Mexico is the competition's most successful team, with eight titles, followed by the USA's six. Canada has one title, won in 2000.
The Gold Cup caps a busy stretch of regional action, with last month's U-23 Olympic qualifying tournament being followed by the completion of the region's first Nations League. The USA will play Honduras in one semifinal, while Costa Rica and Mexico compete in another on June 3 before the June 6 final. The site for those matches, which will also utilize VAR, has yet to be announced with Denver and Chicago reportedly being under consideration.
The U.S. will tune up for the Honduras match by playing Switzerland in a friendly in St. Gallen on May 30 before heading home.
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