It’s time. In just a couple weeks, the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which serves as Women’s World Cup qualifying, will begin in Cary, North Carolina and Edinberg, Texas. The United States Women’s National Team’s road to France will officially begin as they take to the field in Cary for 3 group stage matches. The top two in each group will head to Frisco, Texas for the semifinal and final. At stake: a spot in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. The top 3 finishers in CONCACAF will advance to the tournament, while 4th place will enter a 2-legged playoff with Argentina to determine the final spot.
Since the USWNT won the 2015 Women’s World Cup, they have been itching for a chance to defend their title. Now, the road to that opportunity is set to begin, and the games count. They’re ready, and now that there are no more matches between now and the start of the qualifying tournament, it’s time for all fans to get behind them as they take center stage.
They enter the tournament playing pretty well, their most recent loss coming in last year’s Tournament of Nations to Australia. In fact, their only draws since then were against Canada last November, against France in this year’s SheBelieves Cup in March, and against Australia in this year’s Tournament of Nations. They’ve beaten some of the best teams in the world, and now they’re ready to conquer CONCACAF.
Now, despite their #1 ranking and their solid play over the last year, qualification isn’t a given. One only has to look back to the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where the USWNT almost failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup that they eventually finished as the runners-up. In that tournament, they lost to Mexico in the semifinal and needed to defeat Costa Rica in the 3rd place match just to make the inter-confederation playoff against Italy. They won that playoff 2-0 on aggregate to make the World Cup, but for a few weeks, they were this close to being left at home while the world partied in Germany.
2017’s failures for both the MNT (World Cup qualifying) and the WNT (losing SheBelieves Cup and Tournament of Nations) are the most recent examples that we have that we cannot take qualification for granted. To their credit, the USWNT players have been diligent in not looking past their next match or opponent to next summer in France. They have remained steady on the course and never underestimating the opponent in front of them. Now, it’s time for them to go get a CONCACAF title and qualify to defend their title.
Here is the schedule for the group stage matches for the USWNT:
WNT vs. Mexico - Thursday, October 4th
WNT vs. Panama - Sunday, October 7th
WNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago - Wednesday, October 10th
Yes, the USWNT will play Trinidad and Tobago exactly one year to the day after the USMNT’s Catastrophe in Couva. This year, we seek to take October 10th back from the Soca Warriors.
Should the women finish 1st or 2nd in the group, they advance to Frisco for the semifinal on Sunday, October 14th—where they would meet whoever advances from a Group B featuring Canada, Jamaica, Cuba, and Costa Rica—and the 3rd place match or final on Wednesday, October 17th. Should they reach the final, they will clinch their spot in the Women’s World Cup.
So, everyone has a job to do. Get to Cary, North Carolina or get to Frisco, Texas to fill the stadium and cheer on the women in person. Pack your local bars. Let the USWNT feel the love and the support. Let’s get excited. The United States Women’s National Team is set to begin its quest to add a fourth star. Let’s join them on the journey!