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USWNT drawn with Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico for Olympic qualifying

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Before the United States defends their Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Games in Rio, they have to qualify for the tournament first. Now they know their path to doing just that, with CONCACAF having conducted the draw for their qualifying tournament, which placed the Americans with Mexico, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico for the group stage.

The draw was unkind to the U.S., at least as unkind as CONCACAF draws can be. Mexico is the third best team in CONCACAF and Costa Rica is relatively competitive as well. Still, the Americans should cruise to the top of Group A and watching Puerto Rico will be interesting because they don't ever get this far in qualifying for any competitions.

Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana are in Group B.

The U.S. is hosting the qualifying tournament, with the Group A matches in Dallas and the Group B matches in Houston. The Americans will play on February 10, 13 and 15. The top two teams in the group then advance to the semifinals, which will be played on February 19 in Houston, and the semifinal winners will qualify for the Olympics.