CONCACAF to change World Cup qualifying schedule

CONCACAF World Cup qualifying
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The United States men’s national team will have a new World Cup qualifying schedule as CONCACAF deals with continued fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

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CONCACAF will postpone matches set for the October and November international windows, which would not have included the United States men, but the reschedule dates will change when the USMNT starts its phase of qualifying.

The first round will now begin in March, and Sports Illustrated says the final stage will not start until after the 2021 Gold Cup (July 10-Aug. 1)

From a CONCACAF release:

“Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision. Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult.”

Presumably, the order of fixtures drawn Aug. 19 will not change, rather the Yanks’ first matchday.

The winter World Cup does give CONCACAF some leeway to fit in all the matches while also allowing time for the inter-confederational playoff between its fourth-place qualifying finisher and an opponent from another confederation.

The confederation could also opt to add match days for the first stage, which could affect club availability for players like Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies and Curacao brothers Leandro Bacuna (Cardiff City) and Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield Town).

Originally scheduled for June 2021, here is the order of matches before CONCACAF rescheduled its final stage.

June 2021 — Window 1 — AWAY to A/F winner;  HOME v. B/E winner

June 2022 — Window 2 — AWAY to Honduras; HOME v. Jamaica

Sept 2021 — Window 3 — AWAY to C/D winner; HOME v. Costa Rica

Oct 2021 — Window 4 — HOME v. Mexico; AWAY to Jamaica

Nov 2021 — Window 5 — HOME v A/F winner; AWAY to B/E winner

Jan 2022 — Window 6 — HOME to Honduras; AWAY to Mexico

March 2022 — Window 7 — HOME to C/D winner; AWAY to Costa Rica