USMNT learns Gold Cup draw

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Bruce Arena is aiming for his third Gold Cup as USMNT boss, and on Tuesday learned the first three nations which stand in the way.

The U.S. will face Panama, Martinique, and either Nicaragua or Haiti depending on the playoff between the Caribbean zone and Central American zone sides.

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The U.S. plays Panama on July 8 in Nashville, Martinique on July 12 in Tampa, and closes off the group stage on July 15 in Cleveland.

The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals, with the two top third place teams also moving onto the knockout rounds. The 2017 Gold Cup winner qualifies for the 2019 CONCACAF Cup, and advances to the 2021 Confederations Cup if it wins the 2019 Gold Cup.

Mexico is in Group C and Costa Rica in Group A. Mexico can avoid the U.S. and Costa Rica until at least the final by winning Group C.

Last summer saw the Yanks miss the proverbial podium for the first time since 2000 and just the third time in history, finishing fourth in a tournament that helped spell doom for Jurgen Klinsmann as USMNT boss.