Toronto FC advance to final of 2017 Canadian Championship
Canada Soccer – It will be a Toronto-Montréal final to decide the 2017 Canadian Championship. With Montréal already through on Tuesday night, Toronto FC joined them via their Wednesday 4:0 win at BMO Field, completing their two-leg series 5-2 over visiting Ottawa Fury FC.
The Canadian final will kick off on 21 June at Stade Saputo in Montréal when the Impact host Toronto FC in the opening leg. The return leg will be six days later on 27 June at BMO Field in Toronto. Both matches will kick off at 19.30 local can be watched live on TSN, the official broadcaster for the 2017 Canadian Championship.
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 while Montréal have won three.
In the 31 May semi-final return leg at BMO Field, Toronto FC scored two goals on either side of the break. After an own goal opened the scoring, Tsubasa Endoh, Marky Delgado, and Sebastian Giovinco all scored for the home side.
In the flash of a moment before half time, Toronto FC reversed their 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 series lead. On the first play, Canadian Jordan Hamilton played in Endoh who then crossed to Justin Morrow at the back post. Before Morrow could get a touch on the ball though, the cross knocked off defending Eddie Edward for an Ottawa own goal.
Just a minute later, Endoh struck on a header from inside the box, with Victor Vázquez providing the service from the left side.
In the last 10 minutes, Toronto FC added those two more goals through their substitutes. In the 80th minute, Morrow made a cross from the left that was knocked in by Delgado. In the 86th minute, Vázquez was again the provider as he fed Giovinco through for the last goal of the series.
As the only all-Canada competition that leads to the international stage, including the CONCACAF Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup, the Canadian Championship is viewed as a prestigious event unparalleled in Canada.
New Canadian Content rules introduced by Canada Soccer in 2017 include the requirement that a minimum of three Canadians are in the starting lineup for all Canadian Championship matches which will result in more Canadian players taking the pitch than in any previous editions of the competition’s 10-year history.
In the 31 May match, 10 Canadians dressed for the two sides. Toronto FC started Jonathan Osorio, Jordan Hamilton, and Tosaint Ricketts while Ashtone Morgan and Jay Chapman dressed but did not feature. Ottawa Fury FC started Callum Irving, Eddie Edward, and Jamar Dixon while Andrew MacRae and Aron Mkungilwa dressed but did not feature.
The Battle of the North
“We’re calling this competition The Battle of the North because it really is the pinnacle of Canadian club soccer, and the only competition that gives Canadian professional clubs an opportunity to advance to the international stage,” said Peter Montopoli, General Secretary for Canada Soccer. “Canadian clubs have come close to securing a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup in the past, including the Montréal Impact in 2015. We are confident we’ll see some world-class soccer in each of these upcoming Canadian Championship matches.”
The Path to the FIFA Club World Cup
The path to the FIFA Club World Cup started with the Qualifying Round, with Ottawa Fury FC now joining Canada’s three MLS teams for home and away Semi-final series. The home and away Final round will culminate with the final match on 27 June where the winner will be crowned 2017 Canadian Champion and raise the Voyageurs Cup. A special one-match Battle of the North playoff between the 2016 Canadian Championships winners Toronto FC and the 2017 winners will be played on 9 August in Toronto to determine who will advance, unless Toronto FC repeats as Canadian winners.
The winners of the Battle of the North will have earned its spot to compete in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the region’s most prestigious club tournament, that qualifies its champion directly to the FIFA Club World Cup.
One of the most distinguished club level trophies in soccer, the FIFA Club World Cup pits the winners of CONCACAF Champions League against the winners of the five other continental championships: Asia’s AFC Champions League, Africa’s CAF Champions League, South America’s Copa Libertadores, Oceania’s OFC Champions League, and Europe’s UEFA Champions League. The competition also features the host nation’s national champions.
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