The Canadian Championship is back this Wednesday, as the three remaining Canadian Premier League clubs — HFX Wanderers FC, York9 FC, and Cavalry FC — head into unfamiliar territory for decisive away legs in Qualifying Round 3 of the competition. The Wanderers will be in the nation's capital looking to overturn a deficit against the USL's Ottawa Fury. York9 travels down the 401 to Stade Saputo, seeking a win against an MLS outfit in the Montreal Impact. Finally, Cavalry FC will round out the evening by taking on another MLS side, the Vancouver Whitecaps, taking a 0-0 scoreline to B.C. Place. There are a few scenarios by which the CPL clubs could advance to the CanChamp semi-finals, all of which are laid out here.
Canadian Championship — Round 3 (Leg 2) Ottawa Fury FC vs. HFX Wanderers FC (3-2 agg.) July 24 — TD Place Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET) Watch Live:

This tie shifts to the capital after USL side Ottawa Fury defeated HFX Wanderers FC 3-2 in the first leg back in Halifax. It was a back-and-forth affair, with HFX equalizing twice, but it's advantage Ottawa heading into the decisive second leg, especially since they've got three precious away goals in the bag from the first leg.

So, the Wanderers are in the toughest spot of the three CPL teams. The most plausible path to victory for Stephen Hart's side would be a win by multiple goals, giving them the tie outright on aggregate (although of course, a 4-3 win would do the trick as well). They'll need to turn their stock around quickly, having lost all three league games they've played in the two weeks since Leg 1.

Toronto FC awaits the winner of this tie, a tantalizing carrot dangled in front of HFX, who'd surely like the chance to take on an MLS side, just like Cavalry and York9.


  • Open the floodgates: HFX scored their first-ever road goal in the CPL on the weekend in their 3-1 loss to Pacific FC. That means they've finally thrown that particular monkey off their backs at perhaps the best possible time, since they'll need to score at least two away goals in Ottawa. Luis Alberto Perea has been absent for much of the Wanderers' road woes, but he's back now, having been a huge part of both HFX goals in Leg 1. Their attack should, ideally, flow through him (although it didn't, at all, on Saturday when he was limited to eight touches).
  • Stay sharp after scoring: Both times the Wanderers scored to equalize in Leg 1, they allowed Ottawa to go back in front within five minutes. They can't afford to have their hard work squandered like that; although the third goal conceded was a moment of brilliance from Maxim Tissot, HFX might still want to slow things down a bit immediately after scoring to try and settle back into the game, especially since they'll need to win by two.
  • Fresher legs? HFX has played three times since the first leg, including a road game in Hamilton and a trip out west to play Pacific just four days before this match. Meanwhile, the Fury had just two contests in between, both of which were at home (a 1-1 draw and, most recently, a 4-0 victory). The Wanderers' fatigue could be a factor here, with Hart admitting they'd likely spend the days leading up to Wednesday recovering from the weekend. However, with this game meaning a little more than most, the HFX players may be able to find a little extra in the tank.

Canadian Championship — Round 3 (Leg 2) Montreal Impact FC vs. York9 FC (2-2 agg.) July 24 — Stade Saputo (7:30 p.m. ET) Watch Live:

York9 FC shook the Canadian soccer world in Leg 1 as they came oh-so-close to an odds-defying win against the Montreal Impact. It's 2-2 on aggregate, but the late penalty conceded and Joe Di Chiara's last-gasp missed chance loom large as the Nine Stripes march into Stade Saputo.

Still, the fact that York9 could (should?) have beaten the Impact once suggests they can pull it off this time around. A win in any fashion would put them through to the CanChamp semi-finals, but a 0-0 or 1-1 draw would eliminate them on away goals, so Jimmy Brennan's side will need to pull firmly ahead.


  • While they're down: The Impact are limping into this match, having lost four on the bounce in MLS play. Since Leg 1, we've seen them in a lifeless 2-0 home loss to Toronto FC and a frustrating 2-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew. Head coach Remi Garde did rotate his squad slightly for the latter match, perhaps a sign of his respect for York9 ahead of Wednesday's clash. Still, it feels like the Nine Stripes are catching Montreal in a run of very poor form, so an upset is definitely still on the table.​
  • No gifts: Harsh as it may sound, Montreal didn't deserve either of the goals they scored in Leg 1 at York Lions Stadium. The first was gifted to Omar Browne by an errant Luca Gasparotto header in his own box, and the second was an unnecessary penalty caused by an over-eager Nathan Ingham. Although York9's defending has generally been good, they have been prone to a boneheaded giveaway here and there. With the margin for error so slim, and the opponents sure to punish any major mistakes, the York9 defenders must be on their toes for all 90 minutes.​
  • Just win: The good news for Brennan's men is that the objective is very clear heading into this one: all they have to do is win. Despite technically entering the game a step behind because of away goals, York9 can mentally approach this as though it's a one-game playoff starting at 0-0. Unlike HFX Wanderers, the Nine Stripes don't have a specific winning result that they need; that's one less thing they'll need to worry about.​

Canadian Championship — Round 3 (Leg 2) Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Cavalry FC (0-0 agg.) July 24 — BC Place (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT) Watch Live:

The late fixture in this CanChamp triple-header is the one with all the cards left on the table. Cavalry FC will stride into Vancouver after scraping a gritty 0-0 draw in Leg 1, refusing to allow the Whitecaps their desired away goal.

The Cavs have won three straight in the CPL, eking out 1-0 results against both HFX Wanderers and York9. They're still perfect in the Fall season, as they remain a cut above most of their competition in the league. Their Leg 1 draw didn't have any of the fireworks of York9's, nor the highlight-reel goals like Ryan Telfer's, but it was a tidy performance at home against a first-choice Whitecaps starting XI.

Just like Montreal, Vancouver's a little wounded right now; they've fallen to last in MLS's Western Conference, losing five straight and winless in nine across all competitions. Marc Dos Santos and his squad will be salivating for a little success, and they might see the CanChamp as their opportunity to turn things around (they'd definitely love to get their hands on the Voyageurs Cup after losing the final last year).


  • Early bird gets the worm: It's tough to play on the road anywhere, no less so in the cavernous house of an MLS team. Still, Cavalry is afforded certain luxuries by being the away side: namely, the pressure's on Vancouver to win the game outright. The best thing the Cavs could do here would be to score early, since every goal they score means the Whitecaps need two. That's the kind of mental hurdle that could be enough for Cavalry to keep Vancouver down.
  • Wing battle: Vancouver's designated-player left-back Ali Adnan is perhaps their greatest threat. His dribbling ability makes him one of the top fullbacks in MLS, and Cavalry saw what he can do in Leg 1 as he sliced open their backline with four key passes. Unfortunately for the Cavs, their typical first-choice right-back, Dean Northover, has been out of the lineup since that first leg, so the task of matching Adnan on the wing will likely fall to Malyk Hamilton. That wing is also where Nico Pasquotti often operates for Cavalry, so he'll have a job trying to find himself space against such a top-class fullback.
  • Grind it out: In recent games, the Cavs have demonstrated their ability to squeeze out a result, no matter how pretty. Their 1-0 wins against HFX and York9 were far from dominant, but they were able to do just enough to bank all three points. That might be what's called for here as well; if Leg 1 taught us anything, this won't be a gung-ho kind of game. Cavalry is confident enough to sit on a slim lead and try to pick out another goal or two on the counter; all they really need is one to go in, and Tommy Wheeldon Jr. likely doesn't care how. His side will work tirelessly to find a break in Vancouver's line, as they've done to many teams this year.

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