The schedule for the 2015 version of the Canadian Championship has been released by the Canadian Soccer Association. The format remains the same as was used for the 2014 version with the two NASL sides meeting in a play-in round with the winner joining the MLS teams in the semi-finals.
The series between Ottawa and Edmonton will kick off the competition in Ottawa on April 22nd. The return leg will then take place a week later in Edmonton on the 29th. The winner after those two games gets the top seeded MLS team in the semi-finals. The three MLS teams were once again seeded based on their finishing position in the 2014 MLS season. That means that the Vancouver Whitecaps will meet the NASL winner while Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact will once again meet.
The difference from last year is that Toronto will be the higher seeded team this time around and as such will get to play the second leg at home. The first leg of the semifinals will be played in either Edmonton or Ottawa and Montreal on May 6th with the return leg once again following a week later on the 13th with those games taking place in Toronto and Vancouver.
The final is where things change from last year's format as that round has been pushed in to the summer months after the end of the Gold Cup. The two teams that advance will not meet until August 12th when the lower seeded team will host the first leg. There will be another small break before the second leg which is scheduled for August 26th.
The winner of this year's event will get a place in the 2016/17 version of the CONCACAF Champions League as the place in this summer's competition was determined based on league finish last year. That shift was made to allow for the Voyageurs Cup competition to make a shift in to the summer months and eventually expand the competition field.
The changes to the scheduling will certainly be a welcome move for the MLS clubs as they will now have less fixture congestion to deal with early in the summer. For TFC even a return to claiming the title would only mean adding two addition games in May and two more in August which is certainly manageable.
With Toronto FC opening the newly renovated BMO Field on May 10th the second leg against Montreal will be just the second home game of the season for the club.