Former USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann called the CONCACAF Nations League “a waste of time.” However, with Gold Cup qualification in the balance, current boss Gregg Berhalter cannot afford to be so cavalier regarding the nascent regional tournament.
So, what exactly is the CONCACAF Nations League and should we care about?
What is the CONCACAF Nations League
The CONCACAF Nations League determines which countries qualify to compete in the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is the regional championship that determines who qualifies from CONCACAF for the FIFA World Cup.
Regardless, like with the UEFA Nations League, there is confusion over the purpose of this competition. So let’s take a crack at easing some of that confusion.
All 41 CONCACAF countries are taking part in the inaugural Nations League. CONCACAF is the official governing body of soccer for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The League is divided into three groups with a champion to be crowned in each.
The tournament will also determine which national teams qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and will feature promotion and relegation between the leagues.
A total of 12 countries will make up the top tier, Group A, led by the Gold Cup Final six, the Hexagonal, or Hex. The US, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and Honduras are joined by qualifiers Haiti, Canada, Curacao, Martinique, Bermuda, and Cuba.
The 12 teams in the top tier (League A) have been broken into 4 groups of 3. There are lower ranked teams in tiers as well (League B and League C).
|A||United States, Canada, Cuba|
|B||Mexico, Panama, Bermuda|
|C||Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, Honduras|
|D||Costa Rica, Haiti Curacao|
What is the CONCACAF Nations League match schedule?
Group A Schedule (home teams listed first)
Trinidad and Tobago vs Honduras
7pm – Halsey Crawford Stadium
Haiti vs Costa Rica
9pm – Thomas Robinson Stadium
USA vs Cuba
7pm – Audi Field, Washington D.C.
Bermuda vs Mexico
9pm – National Sports Center
Costa Rica vs Curacao
8pm – Alejandro Moreno Soto
Honduras vs Martinique
10pm – Olimpico Metropolitan
Canada vs USA
7:30 pm – BMO Field, Toronto.
Mexico vs Panama
9:30 – Azteca, Mexico City
Where Can I Watch the CONCACAF Nations League?
The upcoming U.S. games can be seen on FoxSports 1, TUDN, and Univision.
Mexico’s matches available on Univision or TUDN.
Concacaf has signed a deal with FloSports to stream over 200 CONCACAF Nations League matches on FloFC.com.
Who are top players to follow at the CONCACAF Nations League?
So, will top players be on display for this months games? The US is sending a first choice side, although striker Jozy Altidore will miss out due to yet another injury. But Gregg Berhalter will have most of his regulars, led by Christian Pulisic, who finally saw time again for Chelsea this past weekend, producing a nice assist last week against Southampton.
USA opponent Canada augments its MLS heavy lineup with a foreign-based contingent led by Bayern Munich prospect Alfonso Davies. Before Sergino Dest there was Jonathan Gonzalez, and the former U.S. youth international will be part of Mexico’s Nations League effort. Mexico will be counting on Atletico Madrid’s Hector Herrera, Napoli star Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, and Porto’s Jesus Corona for inspiration.
Costa Rica will be difficult to beat with PSG’s Keylor Navas between the sticks. Navas is joined by a familiar group featuring the likes of former Arsenal man Joel Cambell and Brian Oviedo, late of Everton, now lining out for Copenhagen.
Where to Bet CONCACAF Nations League
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
While no CONCACAF Nations League lines have been posted yet, check back tomorrow (October 10th) as the US game should be made available by then.