- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 27, 2008
- 2 Comments
- CONCACAF Champions League, Montreal Impact, Nutrilite Canadian Championship, Stade Saputo, Vancouver Whitecaps
I usually wouldn’t care about a CONCACAF Cup qualifier but now that things are shifting into a Champions League in CONCACAF I feel like its time to start taking a little more interest in things. Tonight up in newly opened Stade Saputo in Montreal, MLS side Toronto FC will battle USL side Montreal Impact.
This is the first of a few round-robin type games between Montreal, Toronto and another USL side Vancouver for the lone Canadian bid into the region’s club championship. This little group even as a sponsor, the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
Both sides know the importance of this and will want to put their best foot forward. Its nice that the stadiums are new and will be packed between these two clubs. I think even when they travel to Vancouver there will be some solid interest there as well for this.
Toronto’s coach John Carver has put a lot of importance in this one as he wants his club to be able to cash in on the tournament.
“There’s a pot of gold at the end of this tournament,” said the Reds coach. “We’ll get extra money by getting into the Champions League, but it’s also a chance for the players to go up against the best teams in CONCACAF. As a player you thrive on wanting to play against the best in the world, not just the best in your own league. So that adds to the excitement.
“It would be great if this becomes like the FA Cup in England. You have to start somewhere, and in years to come, it would be great to have lots more sides involved in the competition. It would be a fantastic situation for the game in this country if that ever happened.”
I honestly love that CONCACAF is giving Canada a bid for this Champions League. Sure they only have three clubs but I think CONCACAF realized just how well supported each club is.
There’s also a nice sub-plot here with the two USL sides who’s owners are wanting to get into MLS sometime soon. You have to get a feeling that if one of them end up winning this group that their city will have a solid chance of earning that bid with a little more cash in the bank from this competition. Not to mention the bragging rights in the country.
For the game tonight, I’m going with a 1-1 draw between the two sides. I don’t follow Montreal enough to know what they bring to the table but I do know they have some MLS-level talent on their roster. It could be interesting!