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TFC, Vancouver battle for Canadian championship, CCL berth

TFCVan (Getty Images)

For the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC, the Voyageurs Cup is there for the taking at BMO Field Wednesday night. 

The two clubs square off in the second leg of the Canadian championship final (8 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet), with one earning domestic bragging rights and a place in this summer's CONCACAF Champions League. TFC's 0-9-0 start in league play can be mitigated to a tremendous degree if the Reds can hold off the Whitecaps. Toronto currently has an away goals edge after the clubs played to a 1-1 draw at BC Place last week and is positioned to capture its fourth straight Canadian title at the Whitecaps' expense.

If not for Eric Hassli, Vancouver would be in an even bigger hole, but his highlight-reel volley in stoppage time salvaged a draw and made the Whitecaps' task in Toronto a bit easier. The big question is, will coach Martin Rennie start his French striker? Rennie has opted to use Hassli has a substitute in recent matches, giving the likes of rookie Darren Mattocks and Etiene Barbara starts up top instead. With Vancouver needing goals, the first-year coach might be better served testing TFC's beaten up back line with the bruising Hassli. 

Who do you see winning the Canadian title? Would you have a problem with winless TFC clinching a berth in the CCL? Which players do you think Rennie should start across his front line?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m gonna have to disagree with socceroo. According to information recently disseminated by the Caribbean Football Union, CONCACAF now requires CCL participants to be professional clubs. Amateur clubs are not allowed to participate.

    All of which is to say that if a club lower than USLPRO were to pull off a miracle and win the USOC, they would NOT be allowed to play in the CCL.

    Of course, that is according to the CFU, so take it for what it’s worth. I’m way too lazy to have verified it with a more erhg. uhm reputable source (and don’t laugh just because I used the word “reputable” when discussing something related to CONCACAF and the CFU).

  2. Why don’t they quit running from and instead embrace Koeverman’s comments sarcastically, drop the odd Bank of MONTREAL sponsorship, and set themselves up as THE LEAST COMPETITIVE TEAM IN THE WORLD, sponsored by Dos Equis.

  3. question 1 could they enter the CCL the obvious answer is yes they could if they won the US Open Cup.

    The tougher question becomes what players would they use if they made it that far. Not sure how NCAA rules or NAIA rules apply but the PDL team could use other players if the college players were not allowed to do both. Champions league rules do not say you have to use the same players that you qualified with so they could pick up players that are avaliable if needed for a Champions league run.

  4. If Winter wants to save TFC’s season (pretty much already gone at this point) and his job, he needs to bench Koevermans for the Vancouver cup match. A losing team is one thing, but a circular firing squad is another. Winter needs to send a message that inside and outside the dressing room, these guys are one team, one family. An “us against the world” mentality is exactly what they need to foster right now.

  5. Can someone explains something to me?

    If a PDL team won the US Open Cup, could they take a CCL spot? PDL teams are short season summer entities in general, populated by local NCAA players. CCL is basically a year round competition. In the extremely unlikely event of a PDL winning the USOC, could they even enter the CCL?

    Just curious.

  6. Aron Winter’s TFC have proven a better team in Champion’s League play than league play. Obviously anything is better than 0-9, but I wouldn’t be so quick to write them off if they earn a CCL berth.

  7. There’s talk of expanding the Canadian Championship sooner than later; modeling it after the US Open Cup. That will lend it more credibility, IMO.

  8. It isn’t much of a competition, but that just reflects the reality of pro soccer in Canada at this time. Montreal made it to the quarters in 09 and Toronto to the semis this year, so Canadian reps have hardly embarassed themselves.

    As more NASL teams come on board (Ottawa pending, likely more to come) the tournament will have more validity.

  9. So if Cal FC, or TB Rowdies win the US Open Cup, does that make the tourney a joke? When Portsmouth won the FA Cup and played in Europa League did that make the FA Cup a joke? Sometimes lower quality teams win these tournaments. That is why they are interesting.

    Pro soccer is still small in Canada. Ottawa will be joining the NASL soon, and there has been talk of another GTA team and a team in Quebec City down the line. Currently, with only 4 pro teams, the tourney is small and will see an under-achiever win the final on occasion. For whatever reason PDL, CSL and other semi-pro/amateur clubs are not invited to participate in the CCL like they are in the States.

    With all that said, I’d be surprised in the Whitecaps don’t win this one.

  10. I can see Toronto stepping up to beat Vancouver, then crumbling against Philly at home. Winter needs walking papers after tonight, win or lose.


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