Canada Soccer unveiled the format and schedule for the 2020 Canadian Championshipon Wednesday, bringing the annual tournament into focus. Canada Soccer also indicated that geography was taken into consideration when creating the 12-team bracket.
There’s only one new team of note as Master’s FA will feature as 2019 League1 Ontario champions, while the Ottawa Fury (semifinalists in 2019) are absent after closing up shop last month.
Let’s take a look at some scintillating, potential matchups we could see in the 2020 Canadian Championship.
Pacific FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Quarter-finals (July 2020)
Pacific FC is lined up to face Vancouver Whitecaps in the quarter-finals – all they have to do is beat FC Edmonton in Round 1 – in what could be the first all-B.C. match contested in the Canadian Championship.
This tie was also in place last year, but Pacific fell in the opening round to Cavalry FC – a team that would go on to beat the Whitecaps famously in the first CPL-MLS upset in CanChamp history. Cavalry could be Vancouver’s path again next year, as they have a bye to the quarter-finals on the same side of the bracket.
Pacific supporters will be licking their lips at an away trip across the Georgia Straight, as will the players. Remember how many former Whitecaps were on Cavalry’s squad last year? Pacific has a much stronger connection to that club, making an even greater redemption narrative to look forward to.
Cavalry FC vs Vancouver Whitecaps (Semifinals, August 2020)
Could it happen again?
As previously mentioned, Cavalry FC could face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the semifinals this August, with a repeat of last year’s famous upset still fresh in the memory.
Could they really do it again? Who knows. But the seal has been broken in a way. It’s possible, which is enough to get excited about. Of course, this tie would also decide a spot in the final.
Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC – Quarter-final (July 2020)
Ah, this one will be civil, right?
Finals 2019 foes Forge FC and Cavalry FC are prime for a Canadian Championship rematch in the quarter-finals. Receiving a bye after finishing a semi-finalist last year, Cavalry awaits the winner of Forge and Valour FC from Round 1.
Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC – Semifinal (August 2020)
Speaking of rough and tumble matchups.
Last year’s finalists Montreal Impact and Toronto FC were unveiled on the same side of the bracket for 2020, setting up a potential 401 Derby semifinal tilt.
Montreal took last year’s title on penalties, the first to be awarded as such in the CanChamp. Toronto FC will feel slighted from that second leg, specifically, thanks to several missed opportunities to win before spot kicks and a few missed calls.
This 401 Derby promises to be as fiery, with the theoretical winner entering the finals as favourites.
A.S. Blainville vs. Montreal Impact – Quarter-final (July 2020)
Please scroll down, HFX Wanderers supporters.
A.S. Blainville is set to appear in their third CanChamp in a row after becoming Première Ligue de soccer du Québec champions this Fall. Set to play the Wanderers in Round 1, Blainville will have their eyes on an all-Quebec quarter-final with the defending champion Montreal Impact. A quick drive onto Montreal Island would make for one heck of an away travel group.
Just like British Columbia, there has never been a CanChamp tie contested between two Quebec teams. More history to be made.
Now, are we getting ahead of ourselves? Maybe. But for a semi-professional side, Blainville is packed with talent – something they proved via a slim one-goal on aggregate loss to York9 FC last year. Halifax was decent in the competition last year, too, dispatching Vaughan Azzurri and Valour FC before coming losing to the Ottawa Fury.
York9 FC vs. Toronto FC – Quarter-final (July 2020)
Onto the “Ontario corner” of the bracket (sorry, Forge).
York9 FC is set to face League1 Ontario winner Master’s FA in the first round, but that’s not what you’re reading this for, right?
If York9 win, they’ll draw seven-time champion Toronto FC. Early July could bring the first match between two GTA-based professional clubs in over 25 years. A sea of green at BMO Field. A massive swath of red up north at York Lions Stadium. Chills.
This GTA derby has been patiently waiting to happen. The 20-odd kilometres between each club’s home base is the shortest between any professional clubs by quite a margin. Connections run deep between the two. Chris Mannella looking for revenge on his former club? What about Ryan Telfer and Manny Aparicio?
It’s one of many stories waiting to be written during the 2020 Canadian Championship.