2020 Canadian Championship -- Final Forge FC vs. Toronto FC June 4, 2022 at 7 p.m. ET Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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The Voyageurs' Cup will be in the building at Tim Hortons Field on Saturday.

For the first time ever, a Canadian Premier League team will play in the Canadian Championship Final, as Forge FC host Toronto FC to decide the winner of the 2020 competition, which was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forge qualified for this match by winning the 2020 CPL championship, defeating HFX Wanderers FC 2-0 in the final of the Island Games to claim their second league title in as many years. That 11-game sprint in Prince Edward Island seems like ages ago, with a lot of football played since, but this particular match has remained on the minds of Bobby Smyrniotis and co. for about a year and a half now.

Toronto, meanwhile, booked their place in the 2020 Final by topping a mini-table of the three Canadian MLS teams based on matches between the sides during the 2020 season. TFC played both Vancouver Whitecaps and CF Montréal three times, and their record of four wins, two losses was better than either of their foes, giving them the right to play the CPL champion.

This contest comes at a time both sides have begun improving their league form after a rocky start to the 2022 campaign. In the CPL, Forge have climbed up to fourth place thanks to winning their last two games; they banked a hard-earned three points on Tuesday night in a 4-3 comeback victory at FC Edmonton. They profited from a Tristan Borges hat-trick to claw back from being down a goal twice, ultimately claiming the spoils on a tough night at Clarke Stadium.

RELATED: Beyond the Pitch: Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley || 2020 CanChamp Final: One-on-One with Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis

TFC have also seen their form start to improve; they broke a six-game winless streak in MLS matches this past Saturday, when a pair of second-half goals from Alejandro Pozuelo helped them erase a deficit and defeat the Chicago Fire at home. They currently sit 12th in the league's Eastern Conference with four wins, three draws, and seven losses so far this season.

"I think (Forge) are a well-coached team," TFC coach Bob Bradley said of his opponent for Saturday. "I like the fact that they try to play football; they play from the back, they play through the midfield, some of their attacking ideas in terms of movement are actually similar to things we try to do. I have respect for what they're all about. We also mentioned to the team that they're a CPL team, but they have a lot of experience, when we consider Concacaf League, and then what it took to get into the Champions League, so they've played international games and they're an experienced CPL team and it shows with the way they play."

The Reds are dealing with a few injuries at the moment; Jonathan Osorio is unavailable (though, if healthy, he would have been at Canadian national team camp anyway), and defenders Chris Mavinga and Shane O'Neill are out too, as are a handful of others. Forge, similarly, have a handful of players dealing with knocks. Smyrniotis said Friday that Jonathan Grant and Chris Nanco remain unavailable, and of course Daniel Krutzen continues to recover from his long-term injury.

This contest will be a special one for all involved, although perhaps none more so than Forge left-back Ashtone Morgan; the 31-year-old played 168 games for Toronto FC over 10 seasons at BMO Field, lifting the Voyageurs' Cup five times -- as well as the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield in 2017. He's sixth all-time in appearances for the club, and he was a stalwart for them through thick and thin over an extended period. Now, he'll be up against many of his former teammates in an attempt to lift the trophy one more time.

"It's an interesting one for sure," Morgan said Friday. " I've said before, I never expected to be on this side of things, but I'm excited. I'm a Forge footballer right now, and I have a job to do and a trophy to win, and when there's a trophy to win, no matter what team you play for, what colour your kit is, that's what you want to do."

RELATED: 2020 CanChamp Final: One-on-One with Forge FC's Ashtone Morgan || 'I never thought I'd be on this side of it': Ashtone Morgan readies to face Toronto FC in 2020 CanChamp Final

Unlike in most years, the winner of the 2020 Canadian Championship Final will not receive a spot in the Concacaf Champions League -- Toronto played in the 2021 CCL representing Canada, as this match couldn't be scheduled before. Forge are, therefore, hosting the 2020 Final at Tim Hortons Field.

If the match is tied at 90 minutes, we'll proceed directly to a penalty shootout -- not an area where either side has had much recent success, with Forge bowing out in the 2021 Canadian Championship semifinal in an 11-round shootout against CF Montréal, who also beat TFC in the 2019 Final on penalties. Nonetheless, in such a high-pressure situation, expect both sides to be well-prepared should it come to that.

Saturday's Final will, at last, close the book on the 2020 Canadian soccer campaign. Will it be Forge lifting the trophy for the first time? Or, instead, will Toronto claim their eighth?

ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS: Forge FC's Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson || Toronto FC defender Lukas MacNaughton || Forge FC forward Emery Welshman

All CPL and Canadian Championship matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980.


  • Forge seek to make history as first CPL club to win CanChamp: In the history of the Canadian Premier League, Forge FC have been first to a lot of things. They hosted the league's first game; they won its first championship; they were the first CPL side to play (and win games) in continental football, and to qualify for the Concacaf Champions League. Now, they'd like to add another feather to their cap -- and another trophy to their cabinet -- by becoming the first CPL club to lift our national cup. Although it's not exactly the conventional path to winning this trophy, and the Champions League spot is not on the line this time around, the significance of the Voyageurs' Cup itself is not lost on either side. Bobby Smyrniotis spoke Friday about his the previous accomplishments of his side have helped pave the way for this next test, and that his most experienced players will need to be leaders, drawing from their experience with the club. "It's always about what's next," Smyrniotis said. "I think that's the most important thing for a team; for the players who have lived a lot of those moments we've had over the past, those are moments that are important for matches like tomorrow. That's the experience that you drive on, and that's the experience that you need to relate to some of the new players who will be competing in a championship game for the first time as a player for Forge FC. That balance that we've had in the short history of the club helps us stay focused when it comes to games like this."
  • TFC leaning on lessons learned in Halifax: Just over a week ago, Toronto FC paid their first visit to a CPL stadium in the Canadian Championship, when they took on HFX Wanderers FC in Halifax. Although the Reds emerged victorious, thanks to Jonathan Osorio's late winner to send his side to the semifinals, they were seriously tested by the CPL opponent, who came very close to taking the lead on several occasions in the second half. After a gritty first half, TFC had to make a remarkable triple substitution at halftime to give themselves an edge, and even still they had trouble at times. Their head coach, Bob Bradley, explained on Friday that there were lessons to be learned from that game as his side goes into another CPL venue in this game. "The most important thing is to respect the game, respect your opponent, prepare the way you would for any other match," Bradley said. "We knew going Halifax how much it meant to the club, to the fans. We know that's absolutely true with Forge. I mentioned earlier today that for a CPL team they have an awful lot of experience playing against different competition, outside their league, playing in cups, and Bobby (Smyrniotis) has done a good job making sure that they're always ready, so we know it's gonna be a tough test and a good game."
  • Familiarity abounds in key battles: There are plenty of connections between these two sides, but more specifically there will be some very familiar faces going directly against each other in this game. In the middle, two former teammates will go directly head-to-head in duelling captains Kyle Bekker and Michael Bradley; the latter will likely be tasked with taking away space and preventing Bekker from creating with the ball. The two midfielders lined up side-by-side in a double pivot on many occasions at Toronto FC in the 2014 season -- Bradley's first at TFC, and Bekker's last. Elsewhere on the pitch, two players with good recent memories at Tim Hortons Field will now battle each other in different colours, as former Pacific FC teammates and 2021 CPL champions Terran Campbell (now with Forge) and Lukas MacNaughton (with TFC) square off. Last time MacNaughton played in Hamilton, he helped the Tridents win a trophy. This time, he'll be trying to stop his former striker from getting past him, hoping to win another piece of silverware at Tim Hortons Field. Of course, Ashtone Morgan has plenty of familiarity with most of the TFC squad from his time there, so he'll surely have some wisdom to impart on his Forge teammates.


First meeting between these teams.


"It's details. When we talk about the details, it's who wins the second balls, who's better in throw-ins -- it's a crazy thing in the game, but I think there's maybe 30 or 40 in the game and it's a possession moment. These are all the little moments where sometimes level of concentration can lower on players and that's where differences are made in these final matches -- how we defend in our own box, how sharp we are in the attack to make sure we're picking out the right moments when we're in their box." -- Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis

"Sticking to the game plan, sticking to our game plan and playing Forge football; whether you're an underdog or things aren't going right or perfect in a game, you have to rely on what we know as a team and what we know as a club, and I know the execution from us will be there." -- Forge FC defender Ashtone Morgan

"When you look back at some point at the end of your career on all your cup finals, it won't matter whether the 2020 cup final was played in 2022; it'll be a cup final. It's an opportunity at the end to hold up a trophy. So we've tried to make sure that everybody's on board with what it means for the club, what it means for the supporters, and it's something that can be special for (the players) in their careers." -- Toronto FC head coach Bob Bradley

"They're a good team, they've got a very good group of solid players. Even though they're maybe not doing so well in the league this year, they're always up for a big game and a big night... You just have to stay focused for 90 minutes because they have quality and they can create those moments of magic. If you score one, you're in it and you've got a chance."
-- Toronto FC defender Lukas MacNaughton

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