Eight-team field set for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament

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By JOEY SAMUEL

The field competing for CONCACAF's spots at the 2012 Summer Olympics is officially set.

Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba each recorded the results they needed Monday night to advance out of Caribbean qualifying and earn the final two spots in the 2012 CONCACAF Pre-Olympic Tournament.

North American nations Canada, Mexico, and the United States were each awarded automatic berths into the eight-team Olympic qualifying tournament.

In September, El Salvador and Honduras each won their respective three-team groups to qualify directly. Then, Panama outlasted Costa Rica over two legs in a matchup of the second-placed teams from those three-team groups to earn the third spot out of Central America.

Monday, Trinidad & Tobago thrashed Suriname, 9-1, while Cuba earned a 1-1 draw with St. Kitts & Nevis to round out the field. Cuba finished first, while Trinidad & Tobago finished second in a four-team group in the second round of Caribbean qualifying. Each team in that four-team group had already won a four-team (or in Cuba's case, three-team) group of their own in the first round.

While the draw to create two four-team groups hasn't yet taken place, the field is now set:

Canada, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, United States.

For reference, the 2008 edition of the CONCACAF Pre-Olympic Tournament held its draw on Feb. 25.

The tournament, which features U-23 sides only, will take place from March 22 to April 2. The United States will host the event. One first-round group will be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., while the other will take place in Nashville, Tenn., at LP Field.

The final, as well as the all-important semifinal round during which the two CONCACAF teams that advance to the Olympics will be determined, will be played at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City.

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What are your thoughts on this eight-team field? Do you see the United States having difficulty qualifying for the Olympics? Do you see a team other than Mexico and the United States advancing?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Canadian Soccer, CONCACAF, International Soccer, Mexican Soccer, Olympic Soccer, U.S. Men's Olympic Team. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Eight-team field set for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament

  1. Rory says:

    PLEASE let the US play in the Nashville group!

  2. drew says:

    Kansas City in March?

  3. JJ says:

    Will the US have to qualify sans any non-Scandanavia/MLS players?

  4. NC Jeff says:

    It … could … be warm. If not, maybe we’ll have another La Guerra Fria. In any case, as a USMNT fan, I would not rather see the games be limited to, say, LA, Houston, and Miami.

  5. KC fan says:

    END of March. Field is heated.

  6. away goals says:

    Are there any advantages to winning the final aside from the joy of beating mexico? Does it lead to a (potentially) easier draw in britain?

  7. hogatroge says:

    Hoping the same. It would be nice to double up on a family visit and some USMNT games. Hopefully Mexico will play in Carson.

  8. Henry Alvarado says:

    Nope there is no advantage

  9. Andy Zilis says:

    I can’t imagine they’d set it up any other way. They’ll have Mexico play in the group at the HDC, with the US in the other group.

  10. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure. The FIFA Olympic rule book says that ” The FIFA Organising Committee, in cooperation with the confederations,

    shall form groups and/or sub-groups for the men’s and women’s preliminary

    competitions by seeding and drawing lot”

    So, a high seed would, just like the World Cup, get you an advantage to advance to the knock-out rounds.

  11. PD says:

    the Finals should be in Hawaii. just sayin.

  12. Matt says:

    I don’t trust any organization that can’t spell the word “organizing” properly. Other than that small spelling error, I am sure FIFA is a classy and trustworthy organization.

  13. Goalscorer24 says:

    So if Mexico and the US end up in the same group, can only one of them qualify for the olympics?

  14. Ezra says:

    With International English, -ise and -ize are interchangeable. Some organizations use one form, some use the other.

  15. Andrew says:

    they could still both advance and play teams in the other groups. the problem would be if one came in 2nd in its group while the other came in 1st. then it would be a showdown for the olympics.

  16. Rory says:

    It snows in April sometimes. Not often… but sometimes. Meanwhile this part of the country always gets a warm spell for about a week in Feb. so go figure.

  17. Rory says:

    Which is what happened four years ago and Mexico missed the Olympics as we beat them in the semifinals.

  18. Allen23 says:

    If Mexico and the US are in the same group and they come in 1,2 in said group, they will not play each other in the all important Semi-Finals.

  19. Allen23 says:

    We beat Canada in the Semi-Finals in Nashville (I was there). Canada and Mexico tied with 1-1-1 records and Canada advanced on goal differential. The U went on to loose the Final to Honduras in extra time. Leaving the US and Honduras in the Beijing Olympics.

  20. T.Dot says:

    Does this stage of the qualifying tournament rotate through different CONCACAF nations each Olympic cycle or is it like the Gold Cup, always in the US?

  21. Paul Thomas says:

    If I remember rightly teams have to release under-23 players (but don’t have to release overage players).

    However, that’s not based on any specific remembrance.