Voyageurs Cup Defence Begins

Toronto meets Montreal on Wednesday in the first leg of Amway Canadian Championship semifinal.

Photo: Nick Soolsma holds aloft the Voyageurs Cup at BMO Field on July 2, 2011.

On Wednesday night, Toronto FC will begin its third title defence of the Amway Canadian Championship – the Voyageurs Cup – against Montreal and it might just be what the Reds require (Sportsnet Ontario, 8 p.m. ET).

Toronto has been unable to gain a point in MLS through seven games this season. Not for a lack of trying, Reds have scored four goals in the last two games only to concede six.  A spirited performance on Saturday in one of the toughest venues in the league was eradicated by a stoppage time winner from Real Salt Lake’s Jonny Steele.

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Where nothing seems to be going right in MLS, the Canadian Championship allows Toronto players to hit a metaphorical reset button. TFC has a chance to reassert its dominance in a tournament where it hasn’t lost a match since June 2, 2009.

The 2009, 2010 and 2011 Voyageurs Cup champion, Toronto has enjoyed the opposite of its MLS disrepute in this and its subsequent competition, the CONCACAF Champions League. The Reds parlayed a nail-biting Voyageurs Cup Final win against Vancouver last July into becoming the first Canadian team to reach the Champions League semifinals.

What Toronto achieved in the 2011/12 CCL was no small feat. They won six against three draws in 12 Champions League matches before suffering a second half shock in Torreon versus Santos Laguna, with the continental final within 45-minutes of its grasp. Along the way Toronto disposed of MLS representatives FC Dallas and LA Galaxy in some of the most memorable matches in club history.  

None of that would have been made possible if TFC hadn’t won the Voyageurs Cup first. A chance to realize Champions League glory for 2012/13 starts again in Wednesday's Canadian Championship semifinal first leg at Olympic Stadium.

Toronto FC will train at home on Tuesday before departing for Montreal. The Reds host the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup semifinal on Wednesday, May 9 (8 p.m. ET) at BMO Field.

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