Canadians play role in Amway Canadian Championship

Second leg of the semi-final round on 8 June

Canadians continue to play an important role in the Amway Canadian Championship, with the upcoming second leg of the semi-final round on 8 June set to decide which two clubs will advance to the national final. Both home teams will need to be at their best, with Vancouver Whitecaps FC trailing 0-2 against Ottawa Fury FC and Impact Montréal FC trailing 2-4 against Toronto FC.

This past Wednesday, Carl Haworth provided the spark on the attack for both Ottawa Fury FC goals while Toronto FC duo Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton were each two times on the scorer’s sheet for the winning side.

Already this year, 34 Canadians have dressed in the 2016 preliminary series and opening leg of the semi final series, with potentially one or two more ready to join Canada’s playoff battle for the Voyageurs Cup when the semi finals conclude on 8 June.

Now in its ninth year, the Amway Canadian Championship is Canada Soccer’s professional competition featuring clubs from Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal. The national champion lifts the Voyageurs Cup and wins Canada’s lone spot in CONCACAF Champions League on the road to the FIFA Club World Cup.

Of the 34 Canadians in this year’s Amway Canadian Championship, 31 of them have played in Canada Soccer’s national program, including 28 of whom have played for Canada’s national youth teams. The collective group of 28 players have benefited from more than 2,000 days in Canada Soccer’s national youth program, with nine of them still eligible for international youth competition through to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019 and Olympic Football Tournament in 2024.

This year’s Canadian contingent ranges in age from 15 to 36, with two-time national winner Patrice Bernier of Montréal the elder statesman now in his fifth Championship run. Only Russell Teibert of Whitecaps FC has participated in more Championships, every year since 2011 including a national title run in 2015.

Teibert, last year’s George Gross Memorial Trophy winner, wore the captain’s armband for the Whitecaps first leg on Wednesday 1 June. After the first 90 minutes in the series, however, the Whitecaps trail by two goals against Ottawa Fury FC, with Teibert’s former Canadian national youth teammate Haworth playing a role in both first-half goals.

In just the third minute in Ottawa, it was Haworth who cut across the park to set up Jonny Steele for a left-footed missile and 1-0 lead. Then just three minutes from the half-time whistle, it was a Haworth header that forced goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi to make a diving save and concede an opportune rebound, one which Paulo Júnior quickly converted for the 2-0 lead.

Of the six teenagers in this year’s professional competition, Alphonso Davies of Whitecaps FC is the youngest player in the competition’s nine-year history. Just one year ago, Davies was featuring in a different national competition: the Canada Soccer U-15 Showcase.

Just past his teenage years, Toronto FC’s 20-year old Jordan Hamilton scored two goals and recorded one assist as a 2016 Championship debutant. While he dressed for two matches in 2015, the Wednesday 1 June win was in fact Hamilton’s first chance to make a different in Amway Canadian Championship.

After teammate Jonathan Osorio scored a first-half brace, Hamilton followed suit with a brace of his own to give the Toronto side a 4-0 lead through 80 minutes. Montréal managed to fight back with two goals in the dying minutes, with now only 90 minutes dividing a place in the national final for either side.

On Wednesday 8 June, both Amway Canadian Championship semi finals wrap up before a two-week break to the national final. Both 8 June matches will be broadcast live on TSN2. The Montréal-Toronto match kicks off at 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT (19.30 local at Stade Saputo) while the Vancouver-Ottawa match kicks off at 22.00 ET / 19.00 PT (19.00 local at BC Place).

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