Given the nature of the quality of teams in the Copa America, there was never going to be such thing as an "easy" group for the United States, especially given the USMNT's struggles over the past year. But despite the admittedly gracious set-up the U.S. received, they found themselves facing a near worst-case scenario during Sunday night's draw, earning themselves a match against the toughest team from Pot 4, the toughest team from Pot 3, and one of the two elite sides from Pot 2.
The United States will begin group play on June 3 at Levi's Stadium, most recently the site of Super Bowl 50, against Colombia, one of the toughest non-seeded tournament teams along with Chile. The USMNT will follow up that dramatic tournament opener with a trip to Soldier Field on June 7 where they will play Costa Rica, the toughest possible Pot 3 CONCACAF team. Then the U.S. will close group play on June 11 at Lincoln Financial Field with a match against Paraguay, the toughest Pot 4 CONMEBOL team.
While things went wrong for the United States, Philadelphia Union fans will be happy to see goalkeeper Andre Blake's Jamaican side land on their feet a bit. While some Union fans may have enjoyed the novelty of Blake goalkeeping against the U.S., Jamaica did manage to draw the USMNT's main CONCACAF rivals in their Copa America group. Joining Jamaica and Mexico in Group C will be Uruguay and Venezuela.
While the June 11 U.S.-Paraguay match will grab all the local headlines, there are other group stage matches that will be held at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles. On June 9, the controversial Luis Suarez and his fellow Uruguayans will come to the Linc to play Venezuela, one of the (relatively) weaker South American sides if not the weakest. Philadelphia's part in the Copa America Centenario will conclude on June 14 when Copa America 2015 champions Chile featuring Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez take on rising CONCACAF power Panama featuring MLS star Blas Perez. Specific times of these matches will be announced at a later date.
Full draw results:
Group A: United States (A1), Colombia (A2), Costa Rica (A3), Paraguay (A4).
Group B: Brazil (A1), Ecuador (A2), Haiti (B3), Peru (B4)
Group C: Mexico (C1), Uruguay (C2), Jamaica (C3), Venezuela (C4)
Group D: Argentina (D1), Chile (D2), Panama (D3), Bolivia (D4)