The Canadian Championship is back! Well, it's been back since mid-May, but MLS teams are about to enter the competition for the first time on Wednesday night.
With the inaugural Canadian Premier League season underway, the Canadian Championship has a new format with new teams. The tournament had featured the three Canadian MLS teams, USL side Ottawa Fury and provincial champions from Ontario and Quebec. Now, it's expanded with the seven CPL teams bringing this year's Canadian Championship total to 13 sides.
The third qualifying round is upon us – one stop before the semifinals – and the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps embark upon their journey in the tournament. As defending champions, Toronto FC got to skip this round and await their opponent in the semifinals.
The winner of the tournament still gets a place in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League and each matchup is part of a two-leg series.
All caught up? Cool. Here's a quick look at the two matches including MLS sides on Wednesday night:
York9 FC vs. Montreal Impact | 7:30 pm ET | OneSoccer.ca
The Impact, fresh off back-to-back league defeats, are intent on winning this tournament.
“I think that this is also why everyone in this planet can love football,” head coach Remi Garde told reporters. “I had the chance to win (a domestic cup) in Lyon. You play in games that you remember your whole life because they are not league games where everything is set in order.”
Magic of the cup!
York9 finished in sixth place of the spring season in CPL. They advanced past A.S. Blainville and then FC Edmonton to reach this round.
Cavalry FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | 9:30 pm ET | OneSoccer.ca
Last year's runners-up get underway on Wednesday against Cavalry FC.
The Whitecaps lost a wild final to Toronto last year by an aggregate of 7-4 and return to the competition with a brand new team following full roster upheaval this past offseason. They've won the Voyageurs Cup once, back in 2015.
Vancouver gets underway against Cavalry FC, who topped the CPL's inaugural spring season with eight wins in 10 matches. They saw past Pacific FC and Forge FC to advance to the third qualifying round, just one series away from the semis.