The Voyageur’s Cup semi-finals are complete, and so is the preliminary round of the 2019 CONCACAF League.
The field of potential Canadian Premier League teams to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League halved this month, with only 1 side surviving an increasingly congested schedule to advance to their next round of competition.
Voyageur’s Cup Update
Cavalry FC faced off against their 2nd MLS opponent, Montreal Impact, in the Voyageur’s Cup semi-finals. Unlike the glacial melt caused by the Whitecaps’ tire fire, the Impact have been on-and-off all season in the MLS, and promised a more difficult challenge.
The first leg, hosted in Montreal, showed a poorly organized Cavalry FC caught flat-footed by a high-pressing Impact. Despite losing the match 2-1, Cavalry were able to obtain a much-needed away goal, giving them a sliver of hope that they may be the first non-MLS side to reach the finals since the Canadian Championship moved away from the round-robin format.
Last night’s sell-out in Calgary left Cavalry flattened beneath an Impact crater. Alright, that’s extremely harsh, especially considering how well Cavalry fought throughout the night. Both sides were shy a few key players due to injuries and suspensions, resulting in some odd-looking lineups for the match. As a result, there was a 1-goal match, from Montreal’s Anthony Jackson-Hamel in the 13′.
Impact advance to the finals with a 3-1 score on aggregate. They will face Toronto FC, who unsurprisingly toppled Ottawa Fury 5-0 on aggregate, in the Voyageur Cup finals next month.
2019 CONCACAF League Qualification Update
The preliminary round saw Forge FC face off against Guatamala’s Antigua GFC.
The opening leg in Hamilton witnessed several firsts for a Canadian Premier League team:
- First hosting of an International Match
- First conceded goal in International Play (33′)
- First Caution (Yellow Card) to a CPL Coach in International Play (45’+1)
- First Goal in International Play (46′)
- First Yellow Card to a CPL Player in International Play (60′)
- First Win in International Play
With Choinere’s goal in extra time, Hamilton came out ahead, 2-1, over Antigua GFC. This was a valuable advantage as they headed to Guatamala for the 2nd match.
By the time the team made it to Guatamala, there had been a pretty substantial change: the Welshman loan had come to an end. Thankfully, the team had managed to pick up David Edgar, an experienced defender. There were a number of questions about whether Edgar would be match fit and make the bench. Spoiler: he did & he replaced Choiniere at the 81′ mark.
The second leg ended with a 0-0 draw, which was good enough for Forge to squeak through to the Round of 16.
Although Antigua provided Forge with a challenge, they’ll face a formidable opponent in Olimpia on August 22nd & 29th. The chances of defeating the Honduran side are, in this author’s opinion, very slim. If Forge want a place in the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League however, they’re going to have to find a way to do it as only the top-6 teams from the CONCACAF League qualify.
The match will take place in Estadio Tiburcio Carías Andino, officially the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium) in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The stadium, built in March 1948, has a grass field and a capacity of 35,000. It also hosted last year’s CONCACAF League finals between Herdiano (Costa Rica) and Motagua (Honduras).
If Forge manage to advance to the quarterfinals, they will return to Guatamala to face the winner of Comunicaciones & Guastatoya.
With the Canadian Championship all wrapped up for the Canadian Premier League, there remains only 1 path to the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League. Forge FC will need to surprise everyone and defeat Olimpia in the CONCACAF League. If they manage that, we may just be able to think about celebrating the CPL’s first CCL berth next spring.
We’ll be back with another CPL path to the 2020 CCL Update following the CONCACAF League’s round of 16. Fingers crossed!