ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina dribbles the ball against Miguel Layun #7 of Mexico during a international friendly at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

What you need to know before the Copa America Centenario draw

The Copa America Centenario draw is tonight and the talk is that this will be the biggest soccer tournament taking place inside the United States since the 1994 FIFA World Cup. And that isn’t hyperbole. The amount of talent and the teams that are coming to the United States, that statement is 100% accurate.

Lionel Messi’s Argentina, Neymar’s Brazil (if Neymar doesn’t go to the Olympics), Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, Arturo Vidal’s Chile and James Rodriguez’s Colombia among the rest of CONMEBOL join the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and other CONCACAF nations for this special 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL and the Copa America.

In the 16 team tournament, we already know where four of these teams are playing in the group stage. The United States, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are in pot 1 and are placed in groups A, B, C and D respectively.

The United States, in group A, will play in Santa Clara (San Francisco), Chicago and Philadelphia. Group B has Brazil as they travel to Pasadena (Los Angeles), Orlando and Foxborough (Boston). Mexico goes to group C and will go to Glendale (Phoenix), Pasadena and Houston. And last but not least, Argentina is going to play in Santa Clara, Chicago and Seattle being in group D.

The rest of the draw hasn’t been decided yet, but we do know what teams are in which pots. Pot 2 has the highest ranked CONMEBOL teams other than Brazil and Argentina. This means Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay are going to be in pot 2. There really isn’t anyone in this pot who is a gimme so it’ll be tough regardless. Chile and Colombia seem like the absolute most difficult opponents so if you needed to have any of these teams in your group, Ecuador and Uruguay are probably it.

Pot 3 consists of the remaining CONCACAF teams in the tournament. Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica and Panama are in this pot and the one team you would want to avoid is Costa Rica. Jamaica and Panama could prove to be difficult but Costa Rica in your group will all but confirm that you are in the most difficult group in the tournament. Haiti will be the team everyone will want as they are the lowest ranked team in the tournament.

Pot 4 contains the final four CONMEBOL teams and while these are the lowest ranked teams in the region, they still will be formidable opponents. Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela are the teams and if there is anyone to most avoid here, it would be Paraguay. Paraguay has had recent World Cup experience and while they won’t be fighting for the title, could sneak some results in the group stage. Venezuela is probably the easiest of the pot as turmoil has engulfed that team.

So if you are a fan of the United States (or another team for that matter) you are rooting for a group that consists of Ecuador, Haiti and Venezuela and dreading a group consisting of Chile, Costa Rica and Paraguay. The draw is tonight at 8 PM ET and 32 Flags will have someone at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City to provide updates and livetweet the draw @32flags

Phillip Bupp

About Phillip Bupp

Managing editor for 32 Flags, news editor for The Comeback and staff writer for Awful Announcing. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me @phillipbupp, @32flags as well as @MLSTitleBelt, a project where the title holder must defend the title in every MLS game.