With the 2nd round of the Voyageur’s Cup complete, and another important league qualifier match out of the way, the route to the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League is clearing up
I’ve written two articles on this topic so far. In the first article, I outlined the two paths for the Canadian Premier League teams to reach the CONCACAF Champions League. In the second article, I provided an update on which teams were eliminated from either route.
As most are aware, the most direct route lies through the Canadian Championship, which is (currently) 5-rounds of two-legged matches. The winner of the Voyageur’s Cup automatically qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League. With Canada’s reputation in that league, this team is the #4 seed.
The long way around involves only 3 CPL sides: FC Edmonton, Forge FC, and Valour FC. These three teams will meet each other twice in the early-Spring Season, and the team that fares the best will qualify for the preliminary round of the 2019 CONCACAF League. The top-6 clubs in the 2019 CONCACAF League will qualify for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.
Voyageur’s Cup Update
The second round of the Voyageur’s Cup is now complete. With it, three additional sides have been eliminated from the race for automatic qualification to the 2020 CCL. Joining Pacific FC on the sidelines are Forge FC, FC Edmonton, and Valour FC.
The battle between Forge & Cavalry will be the match to talk about for ages to come. With the first leg ending in a 1-1 draw and a lot of drama, a rivalry between the CPL’s top-2 clubs is really starting to form. It’s almost enough to make a Pacific fan hope for Forge to win the fall season just so we can see these two face off in the CPL Playoffs. The second leg was Cavalry’s to lose, as a scoreless draw would have been enough to see them through to the next round. The 2-1 scoreline quenched the Forge, and Cavalry now move ahead to face the Whitecaps.
The Caps have been performing relatively well in the MLS this season. Cavalry are top of the CPL. Side-by-side, this is going to be a top-calibre series that no one is going to want to miss. Traditionally, the Caps have not given the Voyageur’s Cup competition much value, but we can expect that to change with MDS at the reigns. Cavalry will be hard-pressed, and this will be a stellar series.
HFX Wanderers and York9 FC both managed what many thought were impossible tasks: they won their way through their second round of the competition. After shaky showings in the first round, both teams managed their opponents handily, with HFX advancing over Valour 1-4 on aggregate, and Y9 sending Yorky on a rabbit hunt and coming back with a 2-3 aggregate victory despite losing the 2nd leg.
The Wanderers are in for a challenge as they match up against USL’s Ottawa Fury. There is no question the Fury will be fielding their top-players, as they feel a need to “prove” that the USL is superior to CPL. The Fury are having their best season in USL history, making this the strongest side they have ever fielded in the competition.
Halifax, having already defeated two challenging opponents to get to this point, will need to be injury free and running hot in order to challenge the well-established team from Ottawa. Due to Ottawa’s consistent anti-CPL rhetoric, every CPL team is eager to demonstrate the poor decision from the capital. Much like the Cavalry/Whitecaps series, this is going to be something to watch.
The next round will likely end York’s run as they face off against the Montreal Impact. Montreal are having a good year in MLS action, so unless they underestimate Y9 and send a B-team to both legs, we’re likely to see them sweep. It’s also likely if people have the time to only watch two series, this is the one they’ll skip. Thanks to OneSoccer, you can catch a reply whenever you like (so long as you aren’t using an android phone, as they’re still having issues with the playback).
2019 CONCACAF League Qualification Update
We are now 4-matches into the 2019 CONCACAF League Qualification, and there’s a clear leader: Forge FC.
Forge have played 2, and won them both by 2 goals. The +4 GD is going to be difficult for FC Edmonton and Valour to overcome.
FCE’s loss to Valour FC actually extended a lifeline to the Peg. Any other result would have eliminated the team outright.
Two matches remain:
- Forge vs Valour on June 15th
- FC Edmonton vs Forge on June 26th
Forge will need to lose both of those matches, by at least 4 goals total, in order for Valour or FCE to advance. It could happen, and would make for a dramatic way to end it.
It is also possible we have a 3-way tie. But I’m not going to bother ruminating on that until after the match on the 15th.
In the CONCACAF League, the CPL team will need to first defeat Antigua GFC in the preliminary round, and then Olimpia in the round of 16 in order to have a chance of qualifying for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League. If they make it to the quarterfinals, they’ll need to face a second team from either Honduras (Marathon) or Guatamala (Communiciones or Guastatoya).
Only the top-6 qualify for the 2020 CCL, so whichever side advances to the CONCACAF League will have a lot of work cut out for them.
With the first two rounds of the Voyageur’s Cup complete, and the first four CPL qualifying matches out of the way, we’re really beginning to narrow the field.
We’ll know who advances to the 2019 CONCACAF League by month’s end (or likely this Saturday).
We’ll be back mid-July with a CPL Path to 2020 CCL update.