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Concacaf picks a record 13 different host cities
by Paul Kennedy, March 10th, 2009 7:01AM

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[2009 GOLD CUP] Concacaf will hold the 2009 Gold Cup in 13 different U.S. cities -- a record for a continental championship and once less than the 14 different Spanish cities that hosted games for the 1982 World Cup, a record for an international championship hosted by a single country.

The tournament will feature 13 dates in 13 cities, beginning with a doubleheader at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on July 3 and concluding with the championship match on July 26 at Giants Stadium.

"By expanding the Gold Cup to 13 venues, it will give fans more opportunity to experience the championship in person," said CONCACAF President Jack Warner.

The Gold Cup will make its first appearance in four cities: Columbus, Ohio, Phoenix (suburban Glendale), Philadelphia and (surprisingly) Washington, D.C.

A Gold Cup quarterfinal will be the first sporting event to be played at the New Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

Each venue will host one doubleheader except for the final at Giants Stadium.

"While 13 cities create logistical challenges, we think the benefits of reaching out to more venues are clearly worthwhile," CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer said. "The ability of so many people to see national teams play we feel is well worth the effort."

The quarterfinals set for Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (July 18) and Dallas (July 19), and the semifinals at Soldier Field in Chicago (July 23).

Games will be played on modern synthetic surfaces in four stadiums: Qwest Field, FIU Stadium, Gillette Stadium and the New Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Grass will be laid over the existing surface for the final in Giants Stadium.

RECORD LENGTH. The tournament will extend a record 23 days. There are no games between the end of first-round play on the weekend of July 11-12 and the quarterfinals on July 18-19.

The tournament will use the same format as in 2005 and 2007, with the 12-team field divided into three, four-team groups.  The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals along with the two best third-place teams.

The three first-round groups for the qualifiers: Canada, Mexico and the two-time defending champion USA from the North Zone; Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and first-time entrant Nicaragua from Central America; and Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Grenada, the other first-time participant, from the Caribbean. The schedule will be announced at a later time.

SCHEDULE:
First Round
3 July - The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)
4 July - Qwest Field (Seattle)
5 July - Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland, Calif.)
7 July - Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
8 July - RFK Stadium (Washington)
9 July - Reliant Stadium (Houston)
10 July - Florida International University Stadium (Miami)
11 July - Gillette Stadium (Foxboro, Mass.)
12 July - University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)

Quarterfinals
18 July - Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
19 July - Dallas Cowboys New Stadium (Arlington, Texas)

Semifinals
23 July - Soldier Field (Chicago)

Final
26 July - Giants Stadium (New York)



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