CPL champion to advance to 2020 Canadian Championship final vs. MLS representative

Canada Soccer announced on Thursday that the 2020 Canadian Premier League champions will advance to this year’s Canadian Championship where it will face the top team from Major League Soccer in the tournament finals.

Canada’s three MLS teams – Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps – will compete in a first phase of the revised MLS regular season schedule with home matches from Aug. 18 to Sept. 16. The club with the most points during this first phase will qualify for the 2020 Canadian Championship final, where it will meet the CPL champion.

The winner of the 2020 Canadian Championship between the CPL champion and the top MLS side will get to hoist the Voyageurs Cup, and also qualifies for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. Canada Soccer said that full details about the Canadian Championship final have yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.

This year’s Canadian Championship was scheduled to kick off on June 16, with four rounds of two-legged knockout ties and a final set to be played in mid-September.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Canada Soccer to delay the start of this year’s competition, and now Canadian soccer’s governing body has again retooled the format, after rejigging it the first time back in June.

The CPL’s regular season kicks off on Thursday with the first match of The Island Games, a multi-stage competition in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The format of The Island Games breaks down like this:

  • An opening group stage (28 games) where every team will play each other once. The top four teams advance to a second round-robin group.
  • A second group stage (six games) where every team will play each other once. The top two teams advance to the finals.
  • A winner-take-all, one-match finale with the North Star Shield at stake.

The winner of the Island Games will be crowned league champions and awarded the North Star Shield. The winner will also qualify for the 2021 Concacaf League, and now advances to the finals of the 2020 Canadian Championship.