Three CanPL sides get first-round byes in new Canadian Championship format By Steven Sandor Posted on January 10, 2019 1 0 750 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Get your seeds! Everyone, come get your seedings! Greenhouses don’t have as many seedings as the new, improved Canadian Championship will have in 2019. With the addition of the Canadian Premier League teams, there will be 13 teams who will vie to take the title this year, which more than doubles the size of the competition. How do you make an odd number of teams fit into a bracket? Well, here we go: ROUND THE FIRST PLSQ winners AS Blainville and League1 Ontario champs Vaughan Azzurri will be entered into the draw with four CanPL sides — Cavalry FC, Pacific FC, Halifax Wanderers and York 9. From these games, three survivors will emerge. As well, Canada Soccer will ensure that the two division-three teams cannot play each other in this round. So two of the four CanPL teams will be facing L1O ir PLSQ opposition, while the remaining two will draw each other. ROUND THE SECOND The three survivors of the first round will join the three remaining CanPL sides — FC Edmonton, Valour FC and Forge FC. In this round. FCE, Valour and Forge were all granted higher seeds and byes into the second round by Canada Soccer; it wasn’t an arbitrary decision. Because FCE is an existing club and has previously competed in the competition, the Eddies get into this round. And, because Forge FC and Valour FC were the first two clubs announced by the league and received their sanctions a year before the rest of the league, they also get the pass. Three teams will survive this round. ROUND THE THIRD The USL’s Ottawa Fury join MLS sides Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps in this round, plus the three survivors of round two. Note that the USL team received a higher seed than the Canadian Premier League franchises. I will leave it to you to fight that out on the message boards. I’m only the messenger, here. ROUND THE FOURTH Toronto FC, as defending champion, gets a bye all the way to the semifinals. The three survivors from round three join them. ROUND THE FIFTH The final, contested on the 18th and 25th of September. All of the ties will be done over two legs, with the away-goals rule. If the score is tied over the second leg, there will be no extra time — just like the CONCACAF Champions League. Teams will now go directly to kicks. Canada still has just one spot in the CONCACAF Champions League. That spot will go to the winner of this tournament.