For the fourth straight year, Toronto FC is going to have to go through the Montreal Impact if they want to win their first Amway Canadian Championship since 2012. Toronto FC were drawn into a two-leg semi-final against their rival Montreal Impact, who eliminated them on aggregate last year.
The Impact would ultimately lose to the Vancouver Whitecaps in the final, marking the third straight year that Toronto failed to win the competition that they dominated from 2009 to 2012. This was the first time the Whitecaps have won they competition, as their annual failure to win the trophy had become a sort of running joke.
This year's tournament kicks off on May 11 when the two NASL teams play in the preliminary round. The Ottawa Fury have never overcome FC Edmonton, and after making it to the Soccer Bowl final this year will be looking to finally make that happen.
FC Edmonton, for their part, will be looking for build off last year's tournament. The Eddies have come incredible close on several occasions to advancing past the semi-final round. This year, they will hope, will be the year they can finally overcome MLS opposition and advance to their first ever final.
For Toronto FC, the competition gets underway on June 1 when they host the Montreal Impact. They then travel to Montreal on June 8 to finish off the round. Toronto came close to beating the Impact last season, but a late goal from Dominic Oduro during the second leg at BMO Field saw the Impact advance.
One nice feature of this year's competition is that it will be mostly played within one month. Last year's Preliminary round began at the start of May, and the tournament's final concluded on August 26. In that way it completely took any momentum out of the competition that had been built.
With that, however, comes a negative: the competition will be played during the Copa America break. That means Toronto FC will not have Jozy Altidore or Michael Bradley for at least the second leg of the semi-final. There's a possibility they won't have them for the final or the semi-final first leg either.
Due to the Euro 2016 championships, whoever wins out of Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact could be missing their star player. Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco is expected to be called up by the Italian national team, while Montreal central defender Laurent Ciman has at least a fighting chance to make Belgian team.
Below is the full schedule for the competition. Times have yet to be determined, while dates for the final are not yet exact.
|Date||Round||Home Team||Away Team|
|11 May 2016||Preliminary Round - first leg||Ottawa Fury FC||FC Edmonton|
|18 May 2016||Preliminary Round - second leg||FC Edmonton||Ottawa Fury FC|
|1 June 2016||Semi Final 1 - first leg||Prelim Winner||Vancouver|
|1 June 2016||Semi Final 2 - first leg||Toronto FC||Montreal Impact|
|8 June 2016||Semi Final 1 - second leg||Vancouver||Prelim Winner|
|8 June 2016||Semi Final 2 - second leg||Montreal Impact||Toronto FC|
|21/22 June 2016||Final First Leg||Semi Winner||Semi Winner|
|28/29 June 2016||Final Second Leg||Semi Winner||Semi Winner|