The CONCACAF Champions League represents the top clubs throughout CONCACAF. Canadian Premier League teams are eager to show how they measure up against the greats (and not so greats) within the region, but they need to first qualify for the competition.
As you may recall from my previous article, there are two paths for Canadian Premier League teams to reach the CONCACAF Champions League.
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 contender will actually be the #4 seed, behind the top-3 Mexican entrants (but ahead of all 4 US-entrants).
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 first round of the Voyageur’s Cup is now complete. With it, three sides have been eliminated from the race for automatic qualification to the 2020 CCL. Thankfully, only one of those sides is in the CPL: Pacific FC.
The Isle has had a very rough start to the season, which has greatly affected their ability to perform in the Canadian Championship. After dropping a two-goal decision against Cavalry FC in Langford, they went on to a 1-0 loss in Calgary. As a result, Cavalry FC will now be facing up against Forge FC, who are middle-of-the-pack in league play.
In the other two match-ups, HFX Wanderers managed to fend off League1 Ontario’s Vaughan Azzurri. The Div-3 side showed great resilience in the first match, but ultimately lost is 3-2 to vising HFX as a result of a late PK. The trip to Halifax sealed the deal with a 1-0 defeat of the home team bringing the two-leg series down to away-goals. As a result, the Haligonians will be facing off against Valour FC in the next round.
PLSQ’s AS Blainville gave York 9 FC a real run for its money. Following a hard-fought 0-0 draw on Blainville’s home turf, it all came down to the 2nd leg. It was a hard fought affair, with a single goal by Telfer of York 9 FC deciding the series. As a result, the Nine will be facing off against a strong FC Edmonton side.
2019 CONCACAF League Qualification Update
FC Edmonton, Forge FC, and Valour FC have all played at least one match in this round robin qualification. As a result, the table has already begun to take shape, and there’s one side that is almost eliminated: Valour FC
With a single match played, Forge are top of the table with 3 points earned and a GD of +2. FC Edmonton also have 3 points and are right on their heels with a GD of +1.
In contrast, Valour FC have played twice, and lost twice. With a -3 Goal Differential, they have a large mountain to climb. Not only will they need to win their next remaining two matches against Forge & Edmonton, they will need to make up the goal gap and hope their opponents only manage draws.
The opposition within the preliminary round is also starting to take shape. So far, the winner of this round robin is looking at facing one of: Santa Tecla (El Salvador), Panama 3*, Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), Marathon (Honduras), Guatamala 2*, or AS Capoise (Haiti).
(* Team yet to be decided)
Edited 23 May 1:57pm – Updated CONCACAF League opponents based upon info released at noon.
With the opening round of the Voyageur’s Cup complete, and the first third of the CPL qualifying matches out of the way, we’re one step closer to determining which team(s) will be representing Canada at the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.
We’ll be back mid-June with a CPL Path to 2020 CCL update.