Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan (right) and Volkswagen Group Canada president Daniel Weissland hold up a soccer jersey at a CPL event in Toronto, Tuesday, Jan.29, 2019. VW signed on as the league’s first founding sponsor. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson

Expanded Canadian Championship draw for 2019 soccer tournament revealed

TORONTO — Calgary’s Cavalry FC will host Victoria’s Pacific FC in an all-CPL matchup in May in the opening leg of first-round qualifying play in the newly expanded Canadian Championship.

Vaughan Azzurri, champion of League 1 Ontario, will entertain Halifax’s HFX Wanderers while Quebec (PLSQ) champion AS Blainville will host York 9 FC in the other two first-round qualifying matches.

The first qualifying round opens May 15 with the return legs May 22.

The tournament draw was held Tuesday.

The addition of the seven Canadian Premier League teams make for a 13-team, 24-match schedule. Ottawa Fury FC of the USL and defending champion Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer fill out the field.

The Canadian Championship winner hoists the Voyageurs Cup and earns a place in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the elite club competition covering North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The CONCACAF Champions League winner advances to the FIFA Club World Cup.

The three winners move into the second qualifying round along with FC Edmonton, Hamilton’s Forge FC and Winnipeg’s Valour FC.

Edmonton gets a bye to the second round as a team returning to the Canadian Championship as a CPL member. Forge FC and Valour FC enter in the second round by virtue of acquiring their Canada Soccer professional club status in 2017.

The Blainville-York 9 winner faces FC Edmonton while the Cavalry FC-Pacific FC victor plays Hamilton’s Forge FC and the Vaughan-Halifax winner meets Winnipeg’s Valour FC. Those games go June 5 and 12.

Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver will face the second-round winners in the third qualifying round July 10 and 24, with TFC joining the field in the Aug. 7 and 14 semifinals. The final goes Sept. 18 and 25.

Toronto would not face MLS opposition until the final.

Each of the rounds will be determined by aggregate score over two legs. In the event of a tie, away goals will determine the winner. In the event that does not decide the outcome, the game will go straight to penalty kicks.

Canada could send two teams to the CONCACAF Champions League, with a CPL team granted entry in the newly expanded CONCACAF League, which serves as a feeder tournament for Champions League.

In 2019, the Canadian Soccer Association will use the home and away matches in the CPL regular season between FC Edmonton, Forge FC and Valour FC to determine who joins the CONCACAF League field.

Starting in 2020, the previous year’s CPL champion will earn a berth in the feeder CONCACAF League.

—-

Canadian Championship Draw

Qualifying Round 1

May 15

(Match 1) Vaughan Azzurri vs HFX Wanderers FC

(Match 2) Cavalry FC vs Pacific FC

(Match 3) AS Blainville vs York 9 FC

May 22

(Match 1) HFX Wanderers FC vs Vaughan Azzurri

(Match 2) Pacific FC vs Cavalry FC

(Match 3) York 9 FC vs AS Blainville

Qualifying Round 2

June 5

(Match 6) Winner Match 1 vs Valour FC

(Match 5) Winner Match 2 vs Forge FC

(Match 4) Winner Match 3 vs FC Edmonton

June 12

(Match 6) Valour FC vs Winner Match 1

(Match 5) Forge FC vs Winner Match 2

(Match 4) FC Edmonton vs Winner Match 3

Qualifying Round 3

July 10

(Match 7) Winner Match 6 vs Ottawa Fury FC

(Match 8) Winner Match 5 vs Montreal Impact FC

(Match 9) Winner Match 4 vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC

July 24

(Match 7) Ottawa Fury FC vs Winner Match 6

(Match 8) Montreal Impact FC vs Winner Match 5

(Match 9) Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Winner Match 4

Semifinals

Aug. 7

(Match 10) Winner Match 7 vs Toronto FC

(Match 11) Winner Match 8 vs Winner Match 9

Aug. 14

(Match 10) Toronto FC vs Winner Match 7

(Match 11) Winner Match 9 vs Winner Match 8

Final

Sept. 18

(Match 12) Winner Match 10/11 vs Winner Match 10/11

Sept. 25

(Match 12) Winner Match 10/11 vs Winner Match 10/11

(Highest seed remaining to choose home leg)

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