Whitecaps Reached Out To CPL Teams For Preseason Friendlies
All three Canadian Major League Soccer sides have found themselves in a tough spot this preseason: north of the border, it hasn’t been easy to piece together a preseason game plan that includes friendlies ahead of the MLS regular season.
Speaking with media today, Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos revealed that his side reached out to Canadian Premier League teams for some potential preseason bouts, but was told it wasn’t possible as those sides weren’t beginning preseason until mid-March.
To that end, no Canadian Premier League side has fully disclosed its intended preseason start date. During the resumption of training last year, the Halifax Wanderers were able to resume first based upon local health regulations. It is unclear what may be the case this time around.
The Whitecaps also reached out to both Toronto FC and CF Montreal for a BC-based preseason, with the latter pulling out of the idea following the departure of head coach Thierry Henry and the former being unable to leave Ontario due to an upcoming Canadian Championship Final against Forge FC.
That domestic cup final still doesn’t have a date, though TFC head coach Chris Armas floated Saturday, March 20 as a potential match day. TFC began its preseason a little early with the cup final in mind, while Forge FC has yet to begin its own training camp at Tim Hortons Field.
While Armas states that he has all the respect in the world for Forge FC, Toronto FC is an expected favourite in what will be a historic Canadian Championship Final against CPL opposition. Still, the head coach wonders what international duty after the cup bout may mean for the Champions League legs that would follow a hypothetical Voyageurs Cup win, suggesting that not all TFC players called for national team duty may actually be released.
What happens after the Olympics? Those games are done, can those guys come back into our team? Because if we win, we have the CCL and then they might not be able to be with us due to mandatory quarantining.Chris Armas
The Vancouver Whitecaps have adopted a drastically different approach, with head coach Marc Dos Santos stating that the club would release any players called up for national team duty, be that for the Concacaf Olympics Men’s Qualifier or the senior national team.
The Whitecaps preseason is set to take place in Vancouver, with the side set to begin a week-long segment of voluntary on-field training sessions with technical staff. The MLS squad will train each morning, with afternoon gym workouts, aerobic exercises, and three intra-squad matches in lieu of traditional friendlies against other teams.
If Thomas Hasal should find himself deposed of a starting role, there is the distinct possibility that he could be loaned to a Canadian Premier League side, too.
There’s still the potential for preseason matches, but that’s unconfirmed for the moment. The 2021 MLS regular season will begin on April 17.
In 2019, Cavalry FC made history by becoming the first CPL team to beat MLS opposition in the Canadian Championship. York United came a last-gasp crossbar away from that feat in a match against the Montreal Impact from the same round.
It’s fair to say that Canadian Premier League clubs would have relished the opportunity to play against Major League Soccer competition as a preseason campaign, but it appears that such an idea will have to wait for the time being.