CF Montreal players hoist the Voyageurs Cup after beating  Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship soccer final in Montreal, Sunday, November 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Toronto FC could face Montreal in semifinals of 2021 Canadian Championship

Toronto FC could face Montreal in semifinals of 2021 Canadian Championship

CF Montreal and Toronto FC, finalists in 2021, could meet in the semifinals of the 2022 Canadian Championship while Wednesday’s draw gives the Vancouver Whitecaps a largely home road to the final.

The first round will see Winnipeg’s Valour FC at the Vancouver Whitecaps, FC Edmonton at Cavalry FC, York United FC at Atletico Ottawa, Quebec PLSQ winner CS Mont-Royal Outremont at Hamilton’s Forge FC, and League1 Ontario champion Guelph United FC at HFX Wanderers FC.

Mont-Royal Outremont opted not to host a match.

The 2022 edition of the 13-team tournament runs May 10-12 through July with an exact date yet to be set for the final. The quarterfinals are set for May 24-26 and the semifinals June 21-23.

As defending champion, Montreal received a first-round bye, as did 2021 tournament runner-up Toronto and CPL champion Pacific FC.

Vancouver’s first-round date with Valour FC means a reunion with former Whitecaps assistant coach Phillip Dos Santos, who is now Valour’s coach and GM. The winner will face the battle of Alberta victor.

Should Vancouver keep winning, it would play three of all four matches at home with only a quarterfinal against Alberta opposition on the road. The Whitecaps lost to CPL opposition last year, beaten 4-3 by Pacific in the first round.

Pacific will host either Athletic Ottawa or York in the quarterfinal while Montreal will entertain CS Mont-Royal Outremont or Forge. Montreal needed a penalty shootout to dispatch Forge in last year’s semifinal.

Toronto will visit either Guelph or HFX Wanderers in the quarterfinal. If it advances, it would host the semifinal and play the final on the road.

CF Montreal is the defending champion, having defeated Toronto 1-0 in the Nov. 21 final. If Montreal advances, it would play the semifinal and final on the road.

Former Canadian internationals Dwayne De Rosario and Patrice Bernier assisted at the televised draw.

The 2020 tournament was postponed due to COVID and then eventually whittled down to a one-off game between then-CPL champion Forge and Toronto, which posted the best record in a mini in-season tournament with Montreal and Vancouver when MLS resumed play in 2020 with Canadian teams playing among themselves.

Canada Soccer had hoped to stage the game in the first quarter of 2021 but it never happened. Canada Soccer announced last week that the 2020 final will take place June 4 at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field.

The winner of the 2022 Canadian Championship will hoist the Voyageurs Cup and qualify to the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the elite club competition in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The Champions League winner advances to the FIFA Club World Cup.

Since 2008, the Canadian Championship has featured 16 different Canadian teams. Toronto FC has won the competition seven times, Montreal five times, and Vancouver Whitecaps once.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2022

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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