The inaugural Canadian Champions League resumes Tuesday night when the Montreal Impact host the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Canadian rivals battled to a goalless draw a month ago in a USL First Division regular season game, the first contest played at Montreal's Saputo Stadium, but this time the stakes will be much higher
Spot in FIFA tournament at stake
The Canadian Champions League is a three-team round-robin tournament involving Toronto FC (Canada's lone representative in the 14-team Major League Soccer), the Impact and the Whitecaps, who compete in the USL First Division (one level below MLS).
The competition also serves as the Canadian qualifying tournament for the CONCACAF Champions League.
The qualifying competition runs through July 22, with each team hosting two games. The top team in the final standings will be Canada's representative at the CONCACAF Champions League, an international club competition that crowns the best pro team in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The CONCACAF Champions League winner then goes on to play at the FIFA World Club Championship in Japan in December 2009 against continental champions from Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. Italian giants AC Milan won the 2008 FIFA World Club Championship.
The Canadian Champions League kicked off on May 27 when Toronto FC earned a 1-0 victory in Montreal over the Impact.
The Impact and Whitecaps are hardly strangers — they are considered among the best teams in the USL First Division — and they also share something else in common.
The current Whitecaps team has three former Impact players in central defender Adrian Cann, midfielder Martin Nash and striker Eduardo Sebrango.
The Impact have four former Whitecaps players in strikers Charles Gbeke and Joey Gjertsen, and midfielders Sita-Taty Matondo and David Testo.
Gjertsen, Matondo and Testo were all members of the Whitecaps team that won the 2006 league championship.
The next game in the Canadian Champions League sees the Impact take on the Whitecaps in Vancouver on June 25. Toronto's next Champions League contest is on July 1 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3 p.m. ET) when it hosts Vancouver.