Vancouver Whitecaps fans finally had some confirmed fixtures to look forward to for this coming North American season.
Although the NASL/USL League fixtures are still overdue and eagerly awaited, a press conference this morning announced the fixtures for the 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
The coveted CONCACAF Champions League spot at stake, along with increased rivalries and the stink that surrounded last season’s final game debacle, should set the scene for the 2010 version of the Voyageurs Cup to be the best and most competitive yet.
This year’s Championship will take place over six consecutive Wednesday nights from late April to early June, with each of the games getting covered live by Rogers Sportsnet – a first for the tournament and a sure sign that it has really whet the appetite of the general Canadian football loving public.
I know that these are the games that I look forward to most each season. Even when the Whitecaps go MLS next year, the Voyageurs Cup games will still be the ones that hold the most appeal to me personally.
There’s nothing like a Cup game to get the juices flowing and midweek, night-time games are all the more special. Looking back on my football watching life so far, many of my happiest memories have occurred in such surroundings and I hope many more yet to come.
The opening match of the tournament sees east coast rivals Toronto FC and Montreal Impact battle it out at TFC’s BMO Field on April 28th.
Vancouver Whitecaps enter the fray on May 5th and our first two games of the competition will be on the home soil of Swangard Stadium, scene of last season’s heroics which we all hope to see repeated.
The folding Frenchies of Montreal come a calling on the 5th, with TFC making the visit two week’s later in what could, by that stage of the competition, be a pivotal match in deciding the final outcome.
The schedule has both good and bad points from a Vancouver fans point of view.
The chance to get our two home games in first, should hopefully see Swangard become a fortress, bringing us six points and a healthy halfway point. If that happens then the rest of the tournament is in our own hands and we play the final two games of the competition on May 26th at Montreal’s Stade Saputo and June 2nd at BMO Field, Toronto.
We’ll know what we have to do to get the job done and dusted and we won’t have to suffer the danger of the Impact adding to their reputation of being Canada’s shame by disrespecting their fans, the competition and Canadian football.
One disappointing aspect of the fixtures is that with the tournament now being in it’s third year in this format, it was thought that Vancouver would host the final game, with Toronto and Montreal having had that honour in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Clearly not! As we mentioned above, this might actually work more in the Caps favour anyway.
The 2010 Voyaguers Cup will be Vancouver’s last chance to take on Toronto FC as underdogs from a lower league set up. It’s clearly a position the fans relish and the players rise to the occasion for. In the previous two years, the Caps record against TFC is played four, won two, drew one, lost one, being unbeaten at Swangard Stadium.
More of the same this year? Let’s hope so. I’m counting down the days already!