The final round of the 10th edition of the Canadian Championship will kick off Wednesday, 21 June at 7:30 ET between the defending title holder Toronto FC and rival Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. The second leg of the final will be held June 27 at BMO Field in Toronto. Both matches will be available to fans coast to coast on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 and RDS, the official broadcaster of the Canadian Championship.
“The Battle of the North comes down to two teams that are familiar foes and true rivals, so we are expecting a real fight for Canadian bragging rights, and a shot at international glory,” said Canada Soccer President, Steve Reed. “With the Canadian Content rule established for the 10th anniversary, all Canadians will have something to cheer about when a minimum six Canadians start in this final round.”
The final round was set between the rivals after Toronto FC overtook Ottawa Fury FC 5-2 over two matches and Montreal Impact won it’s two-leg 2017 semi-final series 5-4 over the Vancouver Whitecaps at the end of May.
“We have to be prepared to defend the Canadian Championship,” said Raheem Edwards, Toronto FC’s 21-year old midfielder from Mississauga, Ontario. “There is always a rivalry between us and Impact, so any game whether it be MLS or the Canadian Championship, you know it is going to be a good one.”
The two sides last faced each other in the 2016 MLS Eastern Conference final, a memorable two-leg playoff series in which Toronto FC advanced to the MLS Cup. The two sides have also met in successive years in the Canadian Championship since 2012, but only in 2014 did they meet head-to-head in the final when Montréal lifted their most recent Voyageurs Cup. Since the Canadian Championship was inaugurated in 2008, Toronto have won five Canadian titles, a most of any team, while Montréal have won three.
“There is a history between the two cities that is always there,” said Patrice Bernier, the Impact Montréal FC captain from Brossard, Québec. “When I am on the pitch against Toronto, there is a warrior’s mentality that takes over.”
Due to the launch of the new CONCACAF Champions League format which places the Canadian representative in Phase II beginning in March 2018 should the Montreal Impact win the 2017 Canadian Championship, a special one-match Canadian playoff between Toronto FC, last year’s winner, and the Montreal Impact will be played on 9 August in Toronto to determine who will advance.
The only path for Canadian clubs to reach international competition, the Canadian Championship stands alone as the conduit to the CONCACAF Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, one of the most distinguished club level trophies in soccer which pits the winners of CONCACAF Champions League against the winners of the five other continental championships. Since 2008, three Canadian winners have reached the Quarter-final stage or further in CONCACAF Champions League: Toronto FC once (Semi-finals in 2011-12), Impact Montréal FC twice (Quarter-finals in 2008-09 and Final in 2014-15), and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Semi-finals 2016-17).
Two distinguished trophies will be presented to at the conclusion of the 2017 Canadian Championship, the Voyageurs Cup, which has been awarded to the Canadian Championship winner since 2008, and the George Gross Memorial Trophy which recognises the Canadian Championship’s most valuable player. The Trophy is named after the late George Gross, a respected journalist and honoured member of the Soccer Hall of Fame. Last year’s winner was Benoît Cheyrou of Toronto FC.
The 10th edition of the Canadian Championship featured five clubs from across three professional leagues: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS), FC Edmonton (NASL), Toronto FC (MLS), Ottawa Fury FC (USL), and Impact Montréal FC (MLS).