It’s that time of the year.
The 2015 Amway Canadian Championship is underway after FC Edmonton beat fellow NASL side Ottawa Fury 3-1 in the first leg of the preliminary round.
The two teams will face each other once again on Wednesday, April 29 and the winner of the two-leg series will then go on to meet Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the semifinal – the first-seed ‘Caps will host the second leg on May 13 at BC Place.
So what is the Canadian Championship anyway and what does it mean for Whitecaps FC?
Here’s a brief primer:
Formed in 2008, the Canadian Championship is a Canadian Soccer Association-sanctioned competition between each of Canada’s professional soccer teams. It started as a three-team tournament between Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal Impact, but Edmonton and Ottawa are now also participants.
The winner of the tournament claims the Voyageurs Cup as the top professional Canadian club. Though this tournament has only been in existence since 2008, the Voyageurs Cup has a longer history, dating back to 2002. A trophy created by Canadian supporters group the Voyageurs, the Cup was formerly awarded to the top Canadian team playing in the second division.
Canadian Championship results have no bearing on the MLS standings. Rather, the winning team, in addition to claiming the Voyageurs Cup, earns Canada’s lone entry into 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 then qualifies for the annual FIFA Club World Cup, where they compete against the top teams from Asia, Africa, South America, Oceana, and Europe.
Real Madrid are the reigning Club World Cup champions.
In each round of the Canadian Championship, teams play a two-legged home-and-home series. The team that scores more combined goals between the two games advances. If the aggregate score is even, then away goals are used as a tiebreaker.
Canadian Championship seeding is determined by the final standing of the three MLS clubs in league play the previous year.
Montreal won the first edition of the tournament as well as the most recent one. That’s how the Impact qualified for the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League. In fact, the Impact are set to meet Club America tonight in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.
Toronto FC are the most successful team in Canadian Championship history with four titles, while the ‘Caps are still searching for their first championship (though they did qualify for the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League as a result of a temporary change in format).
Will this be the year?
Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are now on sale. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.