Jordan Hamilton
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC to open Canadian Championship defense vs. Ottawa Fury

Toronto FC will seek to lift the Voyageurs Cup for a second straight year and seventh time overall when they open defense of their Canadian Championship against the Ottawa Fury FC in a two-legged semifinal series beginning July 18.

It is the second consecutive year Toronto meets Ottawa in the semifinals. A year ago, Ottawa claimed a 2-1 victory at TD Place before Toronto FC won 4-0 at BMO Field in the second leg.

For the fifth time in the last eight years, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Montreal Impact will meet in either the semifinals or the final.

In last year’s tournament, the Whitecaps won, 2-1, at home before the Impact rallied to take the second leg, 4-2, at Stade Saputo.

Montreal host the opening leg on July 18, with the second leg being played at BC Place on July 25.

The winner of this year's Canadian Championship, which is in its 11th edition, will advance to the 2019 Concacaf Champions League as Canada’s lone representative.

Ottawa, out of the USL, advanced to the semifinals with a 2-0 aggregate victory over AS Blainville from the Première Ligue de soccer du Québec.

The opening leg will be July 18 in Ottawa with the second leg set for July 25 at BMO Field.

Sebastian Giovinco struck for a brace, including the decisive goal deep in second-half stoppage time to lead Toronto to a 2-1 win over Montreal in the second leg of the final a year ago, winning 3-2 on aggregate after the rivals tied 1-1 in Montreal in the opening leg.