NEW YORK – Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps may have two more meetings to stoke their new MLS rivalry after the new format for the 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship was unveiled on Friday.
TFC will meet FC Edmonton and the Whitecaps will face the Montreal Impact in two-legged semifinal series that will take place on April 27 and May 4. The clubs that advance to the final will do battle for the Voyageurs Cup over two legs on May 18 and May 25.
The four teams involved in the tournament were seeded based on their division and their placement in 2010. Toronto FC, the lone MLS Canadian team in 2010, were made the No. 1 seed. By virtue of their superior finish in the USSF D-2 last year, Vancouver took the No. 2 spot while Montreal slotted in at No. 3. FC Edmonton are entering their first season in club history as members of the NASL and were the No. 4 seed.
The higher seed of the teams that qualify for the championship final will determine whether it hosts the first leg or second leg.
Aron Winter and Toronto FC enter the 2011 edition as two-time defending champions, having captured the Canadian Championship in 2009 and 2010.
The new format will remove the controversy surrounding the old round-robin format, in which goal differential weighed heavily in determining the winner of the three-team group. The formation of FC Edmonton allowed for a move to a four-team semifinal stage and a home-and-home format.
Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps will meet twice during the 2011 MLS regular season. Empire Field will be the site of the Whitecaps’ first-ever MLS home game against TFC on March 19 with the grudge match to be held at BMO Field on June 29.
The Montreal Impact are set to join MLS as the league’s 19th club in 2012.
The winner of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship will qualify for the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League. Four other MLS clubs have already qualified for the Champions League: The LA Galaxy (Supporters’ Shield winners), Seattle (US Open Cup winners), Colorado (MLS Cup champions) and FC Dallas (MLS Cup runners-up).
NUTRILITE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINALS
April 27, 2011 (SEMIFINAL FIRST LEGS):
Montreal Impact vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (Stade Saputo, Montreal)
FC Edmonton vs. Toronto FC (Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton)
May 4, 2011 (SEMIFINAL SECOND LEGS):
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact (Empire Stadium, Vancouver)
Toronto FC vs. FC Edmonton (BMO Field, Toronto)