Major League Soccer's three Canadian clubs will resume their regular seasons in home markets, beginning Aug. 18, the league announced Thursday. The Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps will play each other three times for a total of six games each in the first phase of the regular season restart.
The decision to have the Canadian teams face off against each other in this phase of the schedule was made as a result of the Canada-U.S. border being closed for non-essential travel until Aug. 21. Last week, MLS announced the schedule for the league's 23 U.S.-based clubs to resume their season in home markets, complete with comprehensive health and safety protocols.
All clubs will play a total of 23 regular-season games in 2020, culminating in Decision Day on Nov. 8 before the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs begin on Nov. 20. MLS plans to announce the balance of the regular season schedule in early September as they continue to work with infectious disease experts, league and club medical personnel, and government officials in all markets.
Schedule for Canadian teams
- Tues., Aug. 18: Toronto vs. Vancouver (8 pm ET)
- Fri., Aug. 21: Toronto vs. Vancouver (8 pm ET)
- Tues., Aug. 25: Montreal vs. Vancouver (8 pm ET)
- Fri., Aug. 28: Montreal vs. Toronto (8 pm ET)
- Tues., Sept. 1: Toronto vs. Montreal (8 pm ET)
- Sat., Sept. 5: Vancouver vs. Toronto (9:30 pm ET)
- Wed., Sept. 9: Montreal vs. Toronto (8 pm ET)
- Sun., Sept. 13: Vancouver vs. Montreal (9:30 pm ET)
- Wed., Sept. 16: Vancouver vs. Montreal (9:30 pm ET)
In addition to the games being part of the MLS regular season standings, the Canadian team that earns the most points against the other Canadian clubs during this first phase of the revised regular-season schedule will qualify for the 2020 Canadian Championship Final. The Canadian Championship Final will be a one-match winner take all final against the winner of the eight-team Canadian Premier League Island Games. The winner of Canada’s Battle of the North will lift the Voyageurs Cup and qualify for the next edition of the Concacaf Champions League.
Health and safety
The same strict protocols, including regular testing of players, coaches and essential staff for COVID-19, outlined for the U.S.-based clubs will apply to the three Canadian clubs. All players, technical staff, and essential club staff with Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps will be tested every other day, including the day before each match. Guidelines to avoid the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 during time away from club facilities will also be provided to players, coaches and staff.
The schedule was designed to minimize travel for the three clubs. Teams will take chartered flights and matches between Montreal and Toronto will see the visiting club arrive in the host market on matchday and depart after the game. Due to the long distance between Vancouver and the other two clubs, the Whitecaps will open their schedule with a road trip in which the club will play matches in Toronto on Aug. 18 and 21, and in Montreal on Aug. 25.
Where to watch
All nine matches involving the Canadian clubs will be aired in Canada on TSN and all six Montreal Impact matches will air on TVA Sports. All games will air in the U.S. on ESPN+.