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Canadian men to open Gold Cup this summer with three games in Kansas City

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Canada will open this summer's Gold Cup in Kansas City with games against Martinique, a qualifier and the United States.

CONCACAF announced Thursday the schedule for its championship tournament, which features a new preliminary stage. The 16th edition of the Gold Cup will be played in 11 stadiums across eight cities from July 2 to Aug. 1.

The Canadian men, ranked 70th in the world, will open Group B play July 11 against Martinique, which is unranked because it is not a member of FIFA, before facing a team from the preliminary qualifying competition on July 15 and the 20th-ranked Americans on July 18. All three games are at Children's Mercy Park.

Should Canada move on, it will face one of No. 45 Jamaica, No. 50 Costa Rica, No. 136 Suriname and a qualifier.

The Group B winner advances to face the Group C runner-up in the quarterfinals while the Group B runner-up meets the Group C winner.

It will be a busy summer for the Canadian men, who already face World Cup qualifying matches June 5 and 8 against No. 205 Aruba and Suriname, respectively, and a potential second-round playoff series June 12-15.

The Gold Cup's preliminary round, scheduled for July 2-6 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., features 12 teams that qualified through the CONCACAF Nations League. Three will advance to complete the 16-team group stage, which includes World Cup host Qatar as an invitational side.

The group stage runs July 10-20 with the knockout stage going July 24 to Aug. 1.

The confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will play host to quarterfinal doubleheaders on July 24 and 25.

The semifinals will be played July 29 in NRG Stadium in Houston and the new Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. The final set for Aug. 1 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Mexico, the top-ranked team in CONCACAF at No. 11, is defending champion.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2021.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press