The first thing that Pacific FC president and co-owner Josh Simpson looked for when the draw for the 2019 Canadian Championship wasn’t necessarily who his team would be taking on first.
“I noticed right away the Whitecaps were in our [bracket],” Simpson told the Times Colonist.
You can’t fault him. The prospect of a CPL vs. MLS matchup on Canada’s west coast was billed as one of the most intriguing – and, certainly, among the most desired – matchups that the Canadian Championship could offer.
Many of Pacific FC’s players have history with the Whitecaps’ academy system.
Others, like Marcus Haber, are from the Vancouver area, and would relish the opportunity to take on the giant in the region.
But to get to B.C. Place, Pacific FC will first need to dispatch Cavalry FC in the first qualifying round, before heading to Tim Hortons Field to take on Forge FC in the second round of home-and-away fixtures.
After that? Vancouver proper vs. Vancouver Island.
“That would be a fantastic matchup if it happened,” Simpson said. “But we’re only taking it one game at a time — and first up is Cavalry FC.”
Beyond a York9 FC vs. Toronto FC final, the only other regional rivalries possible in the 2019 edition of the Canadian Championship could occur in the Semi-Final Round, if FC Edmonton and Cavalry FC advance accordingly, or if A.S. Blainville advances past York9 and the Eddies to eventually meet the Montreal Impact.
A ‘401 Derby’ final would also be possible should Toronto FC and the Impact reach the final; York9 FC and Vaughan Azzurri could also set up a similar scenario in the final stage, though it would be the least likely outcome of the bunch.
The most immediate rivalry possible would be Pacific vs. the Whitecaps, setting up an intriguing prospect – and one that Simpson has previously expressed a desire to see come to fruition.
“We have a pretty good relationship with the Whitecaps and the banter’s already started,” Simpson told CanPL.ca last year. “We’re excited to get into those rivalries.”
This is the first chance Pacific has to realizing that potential matchup, and testing itself against the province’s oldest outfit.
“It’s a tough competition,” Simpson admitted to the Times Colonist, “But we are confident we are putting together a very good team.”