Get ready for an expanded Gold Cup field.
CONCACAF announced on Monday that 16 teams will compete from the 2019 Gold Cup onwards, with the governing body from North, Central America and the Caribbean also saying that are exploring the possibility of hosting games outside of the United States of America.
Here’s more from CONCACAF in the release.
“The confederation is also exploring a pan-regional footprint for the 2019 Gold Cup, which would include matches being played outside of the United States, including the possibility of matches in Central America and the Caribbean.”
The Gold Cup, in its current format, has been held since 1993 and each time the tournament has been hosted in the USA with Mexico twice hosting games (1993 and 2003) and Canada also hosting games alongside the U.S. in 2015.
Expansion plans approved will see the number of teams increase from 12 to 16, while the qualification format for the 16 teams will also be refreshed.
Is this a good idea?
Taking games during the tournament to Costa Rica, Mexico and maybe even Panama would certainly be long overdue. Could CONCACAF create a similar vibe to the European Championships which are usually held in one host nation (except for 2020) or joint hosts a la 2000 and 2012?
It seems like the majority of Gold Cup games will remain in the U.S. for the foreseeable future.
Expanding the field to 16 teams will see plenty of the smaller Caribbean nations included and there is a danger that there could be plenty of lopsided scorelines.
The USMNT are the current Gold Cup champions and they have six titles ahead of Mexico’s record-breaking seven, but giving another nations home field advantage seems to be the right idea from CONCACAF.
In future years, maybe Panama and Costa Rica could be joint hosts? Or maybe Mexico could be the sole hosts of the tournament?