And then there were five. The Canadian Championship will be moving to a summer schedule as of next year, and one of the reasons given was the possibility of expanding the tournament to more teams, which is something I very much look forward to. For now though, this is still a spring tournament, and growth is gradual, but now, with the advent of the Ottawa Fury, we have a 5 team tournament.
As per tradition, the tournament will end with some fresh new heartbreak for the Vancouver Whitecaps, and one of the other teams celebrating, but it starts with something brand new, a preliminary round to be played over two legs, this week and next. The winner of this tie between the two NASL teams goes on to take on the top seed, which fortuitously for them is the hapless Montreal Impact, so there's a genuine chance of making the final. That also means that if the Whitecaps are to be stopped, and obviously they are, then it's going to have to be Toronto that does it.
There's still a few weeks before we get to that of course, so what to expect today? Well, Ottawa have played exactly two competitive matches, losing 2-0 to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in their first game, before their home opener this weekend where they came close to getting a point but instead lost with a last minute goal against Minnesota United in front of a sold out crowd.
As for FC Edmonton, they've also got off to a slow start though they do at least have one point from 2 games, a draw with Tampa Bay Rowdies being followed by a defeat to the New York Cosmos. What with this being their 4th year, they should be heavy favourites for this one, and at the very least should claim their first ever win in this tournament.
I'm not going to pretend to know a whole lot about either team at this stage, but hey, it's the start of the Canadian Championship, so definitely worth paying attention to and hopefully by next week's second leg I'll be a bit more informed. I wrote this last night and was hoping by the time I woke this morning there'd be preview articles up from those who are more in the know about these teams, but alas, as of publishing there aren't. If you have any expertise to add, feel free to do so in the comments section. I can at the very least direct you to the annual Out Of Touch Voyageurs Cup Pool, very easy to enter, very easy to end up looking foolish, fun for all the family.