Schedule release day is always a good day. Canadian Premier League observers received the 2020 league schedule in full on Friday, giving loads of dates, matches, times, opponents, and combinations to feast on and analyze. Year 2 is full of prime talking points: a balanced schedule, fewer midweek games, an earlier start on April 11, and less travel overall for CPL clubs. Right, you see the numbers start to line up, don’t you? Supporters learned of their club’s home openers on Thursday – but that’s one thing. Seeing an entire 28-match run on a page is something entirely different. Here are some crucial numbers that tell the tale of the 2020 Canadian Premier League schedule. RELATED READING: CPL announces balanced schedule, new league and playoff format for 2020
4 – Longest away runs bookend seasons for Y9, Ottawa

Atlético Ottawa and York9 FC have the longest road runs in 2020, battling through four-match stretches at the beginning and end of their respective seasons. Ottawa’s opening road trip – which will see them play Forge FC, HFX Wanderers FC, Valour FC, and York9 – gives the club extra time to prepare to open TD Place on May 16th against HFX. It will be a welcome breathing space for Jeff Hunt and the Atlético off-field staff. Players, however, may say otherwise, especially as another four-match run will come in July. Jimmy Brennan, meanwhile, better hope he's not chasing a playoff spot come Labour Day. The Nine Stripes will wrap up their home slate on the holiday Monday before facing four-straight away dates to HFX Wanderers, FC Edmonton, Valour FC, and Pacific FC to close out the regular season.
64 (Melrose Ave North, Hamilton, Ont.) – Forge hosts season opener at Tim Hortons Field

Forge FC will do the honours in 2020 – just as they did in the CPL's inaugural season – as they host the opening match of the season at Tim Hortons Field against Cavalry FC. Those who ventured to 64 Melrose Avenue North in Hamilton throughout 2019 saw many thrilling games, none more so than when the Cavs came to town. Remember the Canadian Championship? How about that late Nico Pasquotti winner? Oh, and Leg 1 of Finals 2019?
432,000 – Kilometres to be travelled by clubs

I hope you’ve been saving up your air miles (kilometres?), CPL fans. The 432,000-odd kilometres the clubs are scheduled to log in 2020 has been reduced from last year, believe it or not, with an average of 54,000 kilometres over a 14-match away docket. Clubs averaged over 60,000 kilometres last season, for a 10 per cent reduction overall. The schedule announcement also showed an evenly-spread slate of matches, avoiding the "four-match fortnight" horror stories we saw from clubs in Year 1 with a lack of midweek encounters. RELATED READING: How the 2020 CPL schedule reduces travel and impacts clubs
35 – Days before Atlético Ottawa plays a home opener

Atlético Ottawa supporters have to wait over a month to see their club in action at TD Place, as their home opener against HFX Wanderers on May 16 comes 35 days after the season kicks off. Of course, the extra lead time will be of use to Jeff Hunt and the Ottawa staff who only officially launched the club last week. But that’s a long run on the road for an expansion side who has yet to sign a player. Will they arrive home battered and bruised without a win? Part of that early road-swing will see Mista and his group travel to Halifax on April 25.
21 – Friday night games in 2020

Friday night football is coming to the Canadian Premier League. A total of 21 matches on Fridays are set to bring fans to CPL stadiums in an unofficial weekend kickoff. York9 will host the bulk of these affairs with 10 of their 14 home slots set for Friday evenings. After counting midweek summer matches, only two Y9 games will kickoff on weekend afternoons. In a 24-week regular season, we’ll see only a handful of Fridays not occupied by matches. For context, only one CPL match took place on a Friday in 2019: Cavalry hosted FC Edmonton in a forgettable Al Classico stalemate. RELATED READING: 2020 CPL regular season: 10 matches to mark on your calendar
3 – Teams make the playoffs

The two-team dominance that fans witnessed in 2019 won’t happen this year as an end-of-season playoff brings a third team into the post-season picture. It’s simple: Second-place plays third-place in a playoff, with the winner taking on the team who topped the single-table regular season. Makes sense? It’s a marked change from the split-season format we saw last season and one that allows more teams to fight for a championship by October. If implemented last season, York9 FC would have faced Forge in the 2 vs. 3 game, and the battle for third would have been tight, with FC Edmonton and Pacific FC just two and three points behind Y9, respectively. A more exciting lead-in to Finals 2020? Count us in.

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