Earlier today, CONCACAF held the group draw for the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Championship, which will be hosted by the United States. As hosts, the United States Women’s National Team were placed in Group A. The USA’s opponents in Group A are Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti. Group B, headlined by Canada will consist of Mexico, Jamaica, and Saint Kitts & Nevis.
The four pots for the draw were as follows:
- Pot 1: United States (host), Canada
- Pot 2: Mexico, Costa Rica
- Pot 3: Jamaica, Panama
- Pot 4: Haiti, Saint Kitts & Nevis
One minor storyline from this draw is CONCACAF’s decision to use the FIFA Women’s Rankings for these pots, instead of their own CONCACAF Women’s National Team Rankings (CONCACAF.com). Based on those (outdated) rankings, Haiti (2105 points) would have been in Pot 3, while Panama would have dropped to Pot 4. Given the gulf in points between those teams, it is unlikely that updated ranking numbers would have moved Panama ahead of Haiti.
As Panama and Haiti are both in the same group, which could have happened if the CONCACAF WNT Rankings were used, this potential controversy is essentially moot. However, from a governance and transparency perspective, a public explanation of CONCACAF’s rationale for this decision would be most welcomed.
From a competitive standpoint, having Panama in Pot 3 with Jamaica was arguably for the better, because it avoided a potential Group of Drama scenario with both those teams plus Mexico or Costa Rica. As discussed earlier in the Olympic Draw speculation article, a potential group that had three of those four teams should be considered a toss-up as to which team would be most likely to finish in the runner-up spot behind the United States or Canada.
Quick Thoughts: The draw results were not the best that the USA could hope for, as they have a tougher potential semifinal should Mexico finish second in their group. The potential of Canada finishing second in Group B and facing the United States is also a higher possibly as Canada has to play both Jamaica, who qualified for the last Women’s World Cup, and Mexico. If Canada would happen to tie with Mexico and/or Jamaica on points, whoever has the biggest blowout against minnow Saint Kitts & Nevis will likely win on the first tie-breaker, overall goal difference, which could lead to an upset finish.
A replay of the Official Draw is available on YouTube. The actual draw begins around the 9 minute mark.
Group A Matches: BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas
Group B Matches: H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas (stadium website)
Semifinals and Final: Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California*
*Formerly known as the Home Depot Center and StubHub Center
GROUP A: United States, Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti
GROUP B: Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Saint Kitts & Nevis
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 (Group A)
Costa Rica vs Panama
USA vs Haiti
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 (Group B)
Mexico vs Jamaica
Canada vs Saint Kitts and Nevis
Friday, January 31, 2020 (Group A)
Haiti vs Costa Rica
Panama vs USA
Saturday, February 1, 2020 (Group B)
Saint Kitts and Nevis vs Mexico
Jamaica vs Canada
Monday, February 3, 2020 (Group A)
Panama vs Haiti
USA vs Costa Rica
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 (Group B)
Jamaica vs Saint Kitts and Nevis
Canada vs Mexico
Friday, February 7, 2020 (Semifinals)
Semifinal #1: 1B vs 2A
Semifinal #2: 1A vs 2B
Note: If the USA finish second in their group, their match should still be the second of the double-header.
Sunday, February 9, 2020 (Championship)
Final: Semifinal winners