Canada to host Cuba in September to kick off Nations League play

Atiba-Hutchinson

Canadian player Atiba Hutchinson. (Salvador Melendez/AP)

TORONTO — Canada will open CONCACAF Nations League play against Cuba in September before facing the U.S. in October and November.

The 78th-ranked Canadian men will host No. 174 Cuba on Sept. 7 with the return away match Sept. 10 in Group A play in League A of the inaugural competition covering North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Canada will then entertain the 24th-ranked U.S. on Oct 15 with the second leg Nov. 15. The Americans will host Cuba on Oct. 11 with the return match Nov. 19.

Locations have yet to be announced.

"It’s an important time for Canada to get two matches against USA, which on top of being derby matches they provide us with the chance to test ourselves, to learn, and to develop against the reigning CONCACAF champions," Canada coach John Herdman said in a statement.

"We also get to face Cuba and we know that they will give us a tough test, home and away, but particularly the away leg will test the resolve and resilience of this team."

League A consists of four pools of three with the winner of each group advancing to the tournament semifinals. The bottom team in each pool will be relegated to League B for the next edition of the tournament.

The tournament championship is scheduled for March 2020.

League B has four groups of four teams. The group winners will be promoted to League A while the bottom team in each pool will go down to League C.

League C is made up of three groups of three teams and one group of four. The group winners will be promoted to League B.

Canada finished second, behind Haiti on a tiebreaker, in the 34-team CONCACAF Nations League qualifying play. The qualifying round decided which of the three tiers — League A, B and C — that teams would be placed in.

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