The road to the Nations League final and the 2024 Copa America kicks into high gear this week as the USMNT face Trinidad & Tobago. Along with the USMNT, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica are the other seeded teams facing Panama, Jamaica and Honduras. The non-seeded teams finished in the top two in group stage play and were chosen in order of finish to face the seeded teams by Concacaf Rankings. Despite the United States men’s national team winning the Nations League, they were not the top seeded Concacaf team due to the placing being based on the Concacaf rankings which have Mexico, the United States, Canada, and Costa Rica as the order of the seeded teams.
The winners of these two-legged ties will not only play for the Nations League final that the USMNT could win for the third consecutive time, but they’ll also get a chance to play in Copa America alongside the CONMEBOL teams in that tournament. Getting to face teams like Argentina and Brazil ahead of the 2026 World Cup will be a great learning experience for Concacaf sides, especially the youthful USMNT. The losers of the quarterfinals will then play a playoff to determine the final two teams to represent Concacaf, bringing the total number of teams from the federation in Copa America to six.
With the tournament taking place in the United States, it will provide a stage to prepare for hosting the World Cup in 2026. Host cities for the Copa America have yet to be announced but during the 2016 edition that also took place in the United States, games were played in Chicago, East Rutherford, Foxborough, Glendale, Houston, Pasadena, Philadephia, Santa Clara and Seattle.
Among those cities, Foxborough, East Rutherford, Houston, Pasadena, Philadelphia, and Seattle will all be host cities during the 2026 World Cup.
Nations League quarterfinal schedule
All times Eastern
Thursday, Nov. 16
United States vs. Trinidad and Tobago, Q2 Stadium (9 p.m., Paramount+)
Costa Rica vs. Panama, Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma (10 p.m., CBS Sports Network and Paramount+)
Friday, Nov. 17
Jamaica vs. Canada, Independence Park (7 p.m., Paramount+)
Honduras vs. Mexico, Estadio Jose de la Paz Herrera Ucles (9 p.m., Paramount+)
Monday, Nov. 20
Trinidad and Tobago vs. United States, Hasley Crawford Stadium (7 p.m., Paramount+)
Panama vs. Costa Rica, Estadio Rommel Fernandez Gutierrez (9 p.m., Paramount+)
Tuesday, Nov. 21
Canada vs. Jamaica, BMO Field (7:30 p.m., Paramount+)
Mexico vs. Honduras, Estadio Azteca (9:30 p.m., Paramount+)
Another chance to put Couva behind them
During this tournament, the United States will head to Couva to face Trinidad and Tobago with a spot in a knockout tournament on their side. While it’s a match that this edition of the USMNT shouldn’t struggle in under Gregg Berhalter, the memories of missing the 2018 World Cup will only fade completely by continuously taking care of business no matter where the USMNT play. They have a chance to do that in facing Trinidad and Tobago yet again. Pressure from knockout tournaments will only make the team better in the long run and getting past the historical significance of Couva provides an excellent springboard for the Copa America.
Can the USMNT win without their stars?
Without Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah for this window, Berhalter will have to get creative in attack. With the home match up first it does provide the USA with a chance to put a stamp on the match but if they’re to do that, . Likely taking over set plays without Pulisic in the squad, he will likely also be the creative force from open play. If Reyna can put his stamp on the international break, it will be hard to take him out of the starting XI moving forward.
Are Mexico back?
El Tri have been putting in improved performances, at least when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net, but they have come at the expense of their defense. Facing Honduras, Jamie Lozano’s men are expected to roll to victory and anything less than that will be a disappointment. With the strong form of Santiago Gimenez, Mexico will have what it takes to get past Honduras but these matches with high stakes have led to other results. Just like the USMNT, Mexico will look to make Copa America and go as far as possible and the time to build momentum is now.