Montreal Impact aim to conquer Canada

There is only one way into the CONCACAF Champions League for Canadian soccer teams, and it's by winning the Canadian Championship. The semifinals of the tournament begin tonight with the Montreal Impact squaring off against Toronto FC.

Montreal Impact take on arch rival Toronto FC in the first round of the Canadian Championship

Didier Drogba will be available to play as the Montreal Impact open the 2016 Canadian Championship in Toronto on Wednesday. (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

There is only one way into the CONCACAF Champions League for Canadian soccer teams, and it's by winning the Canadian Championship.

The tournament begins tonight with the Montreal Impact squaring off against Toronto FC in the first leg of the semifinals. The Vancouver Whitecaps will play the Ottawa Fury in the other semifinal.

Montreal is looking to reclaim the Canadian title after losing it last year to Vancouver.

CONCACAF Champions League

The winner of the Canadian Championship will qualify for the 2017-2018 CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament to decide the best team in North and Central America. 

Montreal has reached the Champions League tournament three times in its history. The most recent was in 2014-2015 and that year the Impact advanced all the way to the final before losing to Mexican side Club America.

In 2013-2014 Montreal were eliminated in the group stage and in 2008-2009 they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by another Mexican team, Santos Laguna.

Donadel Out 

The Impact will be without midfielder Marco Donadel for at least the next four weeks due to an ankle injury.

Donadel suffered the injury in the first half of the team's 3-2 win over the L.A. Galaxy at Stade Saputo on Saturday.
Montreal Impact's Marco Donadel has an ankle injury and is expected to be out at least four weeks. (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Montreal will also be without defenders Laurent Ciman, Ambroise Oyongo and Donny Toia. Ciman and Oyongo are away on international team duty and Toia is out with an injury. 

On the plus side, however, Didier Drogba has made the trip with the team to Toronto for the game and there is a good chance he will play in Wednesday night's game. 

Giovinco Questionable

Toronto, on the other hand, could be without its top player, Sebastian Giovinco. 

Giovinco is listed as day-to-day after suffering an abdominal injury in a game against the New York Red Bulls last Saturday.
Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco is questionable for leg one of the Canadian Championship semifinals after suffering an abdominal injury. (Aaron Vincent/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Toronto will also have to make due without stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. 

Altidore is out with a hamstring injury and Bradley is with the United States national team. 

The first leg of the semifinal between Montreal and Toronto kicks off tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Game two is the following week on Wednesday, June 8, at Stade Saputo in Montreal. 

List of past Canadian Champions

  • 2008: Montreal Impact
  • 2009: Toronto FC
  • 2010: Toronto FC
  • 2011: Toronto FC
  • 2012: Toronto FC
  • 2013: Montreal Impact
  • 2014: Montreal Impact
  • 2015: Vancouver Whitecaps