TORONTO, Canada—As was announced last month, the Canadian U-23 National Team is set to return to competitive action in March as Concacaf confirmed the schedule for 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Friday afternoon.
The competition is slated to run Mar. 18 - 30 down in Guadalajara, Mexico, with two noteworthy venues playing host to the matches: the Jalisco and Akron Stadiums.
Last year, the eight participating teams were drawn into two groups of four as follows:
Group A: Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, and Dominican Republic
Group B: Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and Haiti
After round-robin play, the first and second place finishers in each group will advance to the semifinals.
Both semifinal matches will be played on Mar. 28, at the Jalisco Stadium. The semifinal winners will qualify for the final of this competition, and each earn a spot to represent their country at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament at the Tokyo Summer Games.
Canada’s path to qualifying is an interesting one. On the one hand, their group is clearly the weaker one, increasing the likelihood of a semifinal berth; on the other, however, in order to qualify for the Olympic Games, they’ll likely have to overcome one of either Mexico or USA as only the finalists punch their ticket to Tokyo 2021—which by the way, is still up in the air as a result of the pandemic.
The Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifiers were initially scheduled for Mar. 2020, but due to the pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, they were rescheduled for 2021.
Canada last played an international match Jan. 15 vs. Iceland and hasn’t qualified for a Summer Olympic Games since 1984. The team did just have its first camp in about a year, with several youngsters—including Toronto FC’s Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty—becoming eligible to partake in the 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship.
For those interested in watching, the tournament will be available on OneSoccer.
The Canadian women, by the way, have already qualified for the Olympic games.
FULL CONCACAF MEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING SCHEDULE
Group Stage (All times listed in EST)
Thursday, March 18 – Jalisco Stadium
17:00/15:00 USA vs Costa Rica
19:30/17:30 Mexico vs Dominican Republic
Friday, March 19 – Jalisco Stadium
15:30/13:30 Honduras vs Haiti
18:00/16:00 Canada vs El Salvador
Sunday, March 21 – Akron Stadium
19:00/17:00 Dominican Republic vs USA
21:30/19:30 Costa Rica vs Mexico
Monday, March 22 – Akron Stadium
18:00/16:00 Haiti vs Canada
20:30/18:30 El Salvador vs Honduras
Wednesday, March 24 – Jalisco Stadium
19:00/17:00 Costa Rica vs Dominican Republic
21:30/19:30 Mexico vs USA
Thursday, March 25 – Jalisco Stadium
19:00/17:00 El Salvador vs Haiti
21:30/19:30 Honduras vs Canada
Sunday, March 28 – Jalisco Stadium
18:00/16:00 1B vs 2A
21:00/19:00 1A vs 2B
Tuesday, March 30 – Akron Stadium
21:00/19:00 Winner Semifinal 1 vs Winner Semifinal 2