Did FC Edmonton Just Leak The 2021 Canadian Championship?
Canadian Premier League side FC Edmonton may have just leaked that the 2021 Canadian Championship will taking place this year.
While Canada Soccer has remained quiet about the domestic cup competition, the fact that both MLS and CPL teams are returning to home markets has created optimism in Canadian soccer circles that a full form of the cup competition can safely take place this year.
FC Edmonton may have inadvertently confirmed as such today, with the Alberta-based side including a Canadian Championship match against Cavalry FC in an e-mail blast sent to season ticket holders:
In the original 2020 Canadian Championship plans, the Eddies were due to face Pacific in a preliminary qualifying round, with Cavalry FC getting a bye right into the quarter-finals. Since the two teams appear to be set to play eachother on Sunday, August 15, it’s clear the potential shape of this year’s domestic cup is quite different.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced last year’s Canadian Championship to be restructured into a one-off cup final between Toronto FC, who qualified through cumulative league results against Vancouver and Montreal, and Forge FC, who were the 2020 Canadian Premier League champions.
This cup final was delayed several times, and with the 2021 Champions League approaching the decision was eventually made to give Toronto FC a berth to the premier continental competition whilst handing Forge FC the rights to host a belated 2020 Canadian Championship final at Tim Hortons Field, giving the team some much-needed gate revenue.
The 2019 Canadian Championship is still the last iteration of the tournament to run to completion, with CF Montreal hoisting the trophy after a penalty shootout at BMO Field. It was the last appearance in the cup by now-defunct Ottawa Fury, with Cavalry FC making history by becoming the first CPL team to beat MLS opposition.
It brought out a lot of curiosity from Toronto FC, with Michael Bradley commenting that the MLS side was looking forward to travelling to play in some Canadian Premier League venues. This was set to happen last year before the COVID-19 pandemic nixed the original shape of the tournament.
Given that the full form of the cup also historically includes League1 Ontario and PLSQ opposition, Northern Tribune had reached out to both Master’s FA and AS Blainville a week ago to see if they had any updates – though neither team replied.
While the official status of the 2021 Canadian Championship is still unconfirmed, the fact that FC Edmonton appears to have leaked a cup-based Al Classico matchup is certainly food for thought.
The Canadian Premier League is set to return to home markets at the end of the month, marking the first time seven of the league’s teams have played at home since 2019. For expansion side Atletico Ottawa, this will mark their first time playing at home at all.