Over the next month, 16 North, Central American and Caribbean nations will square off for continental glory at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
The United States men’s national team and Mexico have alternated titles in the past four competitions, but only one of the past four finals has featured both Concacaf rivals.
Jamaica enters the 2019 tournament as a two-time finalist, while Panama is looking to reach the final for the second time after advancing to the ultimate game in 2013.
The on-field improvement of smaller Concacaf nations has made the Gold Cup less predictable in recent years, but the USMNT, Mexico and Costa Rica still are viewed as the kings of the continent.
The 2019 Gold Cup will be different from previous years since a few tweaks were made, including the expansion from 12 to 16 teams.
Below is everything you need to know about the competition, which begins on Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Gold Cup Groups
Group A: Mexico, Canada, Martinique, Cuba
Group B: Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Bermuda
Group C: Honduras, Jamaica, El Salvador, Curacao
Group D: United States, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana
Gold Cup Schedule
|Saturday, June 15||Canada vs. Martinique||7:30 p.m. ET||FS2, Univision Deportes||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.|
|Saturday, June 15||Mexico vs. Cuba||10 p.m. ET||FS2, Univision Deportes||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.|
|Sunday, June 16||Haiti vs. Bermuda||4 p.m. ET||FS2, Univision Deportes||Estadio Nacional de San Jose, San Jose, Costa Rica|
|Sunday, June 16||Costa Rica vs. Nicaragua||8:30 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||Estadio Nacional de San Jose, San Jose, Costa Rica|
|Monday, June 17||Curacao vs. El Salvador||7 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica|
|Monday, June 17||Jamaica vs. Honduras||9:30 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica|
|Tuesday, June 18||Panama vs. Trinidad and Tobago||7:30 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Allianz Field,
St. Paul, Minn.
|Tuesday, June 18||USA vs. Guyana||10 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Allianz Field, St. Paul, Minn.|
|Wednesday. June 19||Cuba vs. Martinique||8 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver|
|Wednesday, June 19||Mexico vs. Canada||10:30 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deporters||Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver|
|Thursday, June 20||Nicaragua vs. Haiti||7 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas|
|Thursday, June 20||Costa Rica vs. Bermuda||9:30 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas|
|Friday, June 21||El Salvador vs. Jamaica||7 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston|
|Friday, June 21||Honduras vs. Curacao||9:30 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston|
|Saturday, June 22||Guyana vs. Panama||5:30 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland|
|Saturday, June 22||USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago||8 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland|
|Sunday, June 23||Canada vs. Cuba||6 p.m. ET||FS2, Univision Deportes||Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.|
|Sunday, June 23||Mexico vs. Martinique||8:30 p.m. ET||FS1, Univision Deportes||Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.|
|Monday, June 24||Bermuda vs. Nicaragua||6:30 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.|
|Monday, June 24||Haiti vs. Costa Rica||9 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.|
|Tuesday, June 25||Jamaica vs. Curacao||8 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles|
|Tuesday, June 25||Honduras vs. El Salvador||10:30 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles|
|Wednesday, June 26||Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guyana||6:30 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Children’s Mercy Park , Kansas City, Kan.|
|Wednesday, June 26||USA vs. Panama||9 p.m. ET||FS1, UniMas||Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kan.|
The most noticeable change to the Gold Cup is the move from 12 to 16 teams.
The increase in participants means the top two teams from each group will move on to the knockout round, and unlike previous years, no third-place squads will advance.
Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and the USMNT qualified for the Gold Cup through their participation in the Hexagonal round of 2018 World Cup qualifying.
The other 10 participants were added to the tournament through Concacaf Nations League qualifying.
In addition to the increase in teams, there are two venues outside the United States in use. Costa Rica and Jamaica will host the first set of games in their respective groups.
In most years, the USMNT and Mexico would be the clear-cut favorites to win the Gold Cup, but both teams come in weaker than previous years.
Mexico’s roster has been depleted by injuries to some of its top stars. Among the notable names missing from the El Tri squad are Javier Hernández, Carlos Vela, Jesús Corona, Hirving Lozano, Miguel Layún and Héctor Herrera.
Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s side still has an immense amount of talent. Raúl Jiménez leads the forward line after a successful season in England with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Andrés Guardado, Diego Reyes and Rodolfo Pizarro are some of the other recognizable names on the roster.
The USMNT is in shambles as it enters its first Gold Cup under Gregg Berhalter. The Americans fell to Jamaica and Venezuela in their two pre-tournament friendlies, and they received a blow earlier this week with Tyler Adams leaving the squad due to injury.
This could be the year for Costa Rica to break through and make the Gold Cup final, a goal the Ticos missed by losing in the semifinals in 2017.
The Ticos bring an experienced squad led by Bryan Ruiz, Celso Borges, Giancarlo González and Kendall Waston to the tournament, and they have a favorable group schedule to build up confidence ahead of the knockout round.
Fresh off its win over the USMNT in Washington, D.C., Jamaica is in line to contend for its third straight Gold Cup Final.
Bermuda used wins over Sint Maarten, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic in Concacaf Nations League qualifying to secure its spot in the Gold Cup.
Forward Nahki Wells, who played at Queens Park Rangers this past season, is one of a few players on the Bermuda roster based in England.
Bermuda could be in a good position to advance out of the group stage if it puts together some strong results in Group B.
Group B is viewed as the weakest of the three groups, with Haiti and Nicaragua accompanying Bermuda in the fight for second place behind Costa Rica.
Guyana will be a considerable underdog in Group D against the USMNT, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Golden Jaguars used wins over Belize and the Turks and Caicos, as well as a draw with Barbados, to secure its spot in the top 10 of the Concacaf Nations League qualifying, which clinched its Gold Cup status.
Guyana has a diverse collection of players based across the world, but its one Major League Soccer player won’t be at the Gold Cup. In the days leading up to the tournament, the Philadelphia Union’s Warren Creavalle suffered a broken foot and was ruled out of the competition.
We all know about the upper echelon in the hierarchy of Concacaf, but with quality improving across the region, one or more teams could make a surprising run deep into the knockout round, especially with the USMNT and Mexico not at full strength.
This will be our first chance to see Alphonso Davies on the North American stage since he made his big-money move from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Bayern Munich. He could emerge as the playmaker of the tournament.
In addition to Davies, Besiktas forward Cyle Larin, who tore up MLS when he was with Orlando City SC, is going to be a handful for opposing defenses.
Canada is more than capable of taking second place in Group A behind Mexico, which would presumably set it up for a clash with Costa Rica in the quarterfinals.
El Salvador will be locked in a battle with Jamaica, Honduras and Curacao for Group C supremacy, but it does have recent form on its side.
La Selecta has racked up wins over Guatemala, Jamaica, Peru and Haiti in 2019, with its only defeat coming in a friendly against Japan.
In order for El Salvador to make some noise in the group stage, forwards David Rugamas and Nelson Bonilla must be able to find the back of the net in a group where the smallest of margins could decide who advances.