Tuesday, November 06, 2007

US to host Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The U-23 US men's team will have home filed advantage as they try to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. US Soccer will host the eight-team tournament March 11-23 with matches taking place in Carson, Ca. (The Home Depot Center), Tampa, Fl. (Raymond James Stadium) and Nashville, Tn. (LP Field).

It appears the eight teams will be divided into two groups of four, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the playoff stage. Since three Concacaf teams will advance to Beijing, the two teams playing in the Championship match are in no matter what while the third place game means a great deal. Both of these games, as well as the semifinals, will take place in Nashville.

So far, five teams have already qualified for this tournament (US, Mexico, Canada, Cuba and Haiti). The final three teams will come from Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador) and will be decided later this year.

US U-23 head coach Peter Nowak will call together a weeklong training camp starting 2 December. The team will then fly to China for a nine-day tour that includes two matches against China's U-23 squad.

The US failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, after qualifying for six straight games from 1980 to 2000.

Exact schedule and ticketing information has not been released, however, here is the basic information.

Date Matches Venues Kickoff Times
March 11 Group Stage Tampa, Fla. 5:30 & 8 pm ET
March 12 Group Stage Carson, Calif. 5:30 & 8 pm PT
March 13 Group Stage
Tampa, Fla.
5:30 & 8 pm ET
March 14 Group Stage Carson, Calif. 5:30 & 8 pm PT
March 15 Group Stage
Tampa, Fla.
4:30 & 7 pm ET
March 16 Group Stage Carson, Calif. 3:30 & 6 pm PT
March 20 Semifinals Nashville, Tenn. 5 & 8 pm CT
March 23 Third-Place
and Championship
Nashville, Tenn. 1 & 4 pm CT

So each date is a double header and I'm guessing the US will be in the Carson, Ca., group while Mexico will be in the Tampa, Fl. one.

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