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CONCACAF announce 2012 Olympic qualifying draw

Caleb Porter’s US Under-23 squad learned their path to the 2012 London Olympics on Tuesday afternoon.

CONCACAF announced the groups and schedule for Olympic qualifying after the draw, which took place at the federation’s headquarters in New York.

Group A Group B
 USA  Honduras
 Canada  Mexico
 Cuba  Panama
 El Salvador  Trinidad & Tobago

Porter’s Yanks were drawn into Group A along with Canada, Cuba and El Salvador. Group A play will take place at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., home of several US national team contests over the past half-decade.

"Obviously it's very exciting to finally know our matchups in group play, which allows us to concentrate our preparation even further," Porter said in a statement. "Although our primary focus right now is on our own process, this will give us even greater insight into how we will plan for qualifying, especially as the games get closer.

"We have been gathering information on all of our potential opponents, and now we can isolate our scouting even further. The path to reaching our goal of qualifying for the Olympics is a lot clearer."

Group B’s draw pitted defending champions Honduras against Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. Those games will take place in Carson, Calif., at the Home Depot Center.

The semifinals and final will be played at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., and the two finalists will advance to the Olympics. The qualifying tournament will run from March 22 through April 2, with the exact schedule expected to be announced by the end of the week.

The US are looking to qualify for the Summer Games for the 14th time. Their best finish was at Sydney 2000, when they finished in fourth place. According to US Soccer, Porter will soon announce his roster for a domestic training camp to be held in Sarasota, Fla., from Dec. 15-28.

"I'm excited," said FC Dallas star Brek Shea in a USSF statement. "The Olympics are one of the coolest events you can be a part of, and the chance to qualify is something we are taking very seriously. I'm looking forward to playing for Caleb Porter and trying to help our team qualify for London. There's a lot of talent available to the U.S. team, so there will be a lot of competition for spots on the roster."

The London Olympics will run from July 27 through August 12, 2012.