Why Wednesday's match against Montreal could have implications beyond Major League Soccer
VANCOUVER, BC – There’s always a lot to play for in games between Vancouver Whitecaps FC and longtime Canadian rival Montreal Impact. And when the two teams meet this Wednesday at BC Place, there will be a little more importance than usual.
Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto FC are each vying for a berth in the 2015/2016 CONCACAF Champions League – the Canadian MLS team with the most points at the end of the season will earn that right.
That’s a result of some changes to the format of the Amway Canadian Championship, the tournament that usually decides Canada’s entry into the CONCACAF Champions League.
It was announced earlier this year that the Canadian Championship, usually held in May and June, is being transitioned to a new summer timeframe in June and July.
“Canada Soccer recognizes that the transition may be confusing in the short term, but we’re confident it will benefit the competition in the longer term,” Canada Soccer president Victor Montagliani said at the time. “This new format will allow the Amway Canadian Championship to grow, becoming even more of a Canadian showcase of professional soccer as our sport continue to evolve.”
In 2015, however, the Canadian Championship will be held in July and August to respect the FIFA Women’s World Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup dates. As a result, the tournament will not be held in time to designate the Canadian representative for the 2015/2016 CONCACAF Champions League.
As such, it was agreed upon by all participating clubs that the highest-ranked Canadian MLS team at the end of this season would take on that role.
As it stands, Whitecaps FC are in pole position with 21 points from 13 games – though Toronto FC are only two points back with two games in hand.
The Impact, meanwhile, are at the bottom of the table with 10 points.
Whitecaps FC have yet to appear in the CONCACAF Champions League – a 24-team competition between the top clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifies for the annual FIFA Club World Cup, where they compete against the top teams from Asia, Africa, South America, Oceana, and Europe.
Budesliga giants Bayern Munich are the reigning Club World Cup champions.
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($220), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.