In a strange turn of events, Forge FC (based in Hamilton) will be the hosts of the 2020 Canadian Championship Final. This is while Toronto FC will be the Canadian representative, without winning the Voyageurs Cup for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. The 2020 Canadian Championship has been delayed to a later date in a public statement by Canada Soccer. Winning the 2020 Canadian Championship means that the team won the Voyageurs Cup.
The 2021 Concacaf Champions League representative will be Toronto FC
Toronto will play against Club León in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. This will be TFC’s eighth appearance in the Concacaf Champions League and first since 2019.
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) March 11, 2021
Club León are the defending Liga MX champions, so TFC will have a tough match in its Round of 16 matchups. Furthermore, it is unlikely TFC will be able to play the home leg in Canada. Playing home games between countries have not been allowed in Canada because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This can be seen with other Toronto-based sports teams in U.S.-based leagues like the Toronto Blue Jays, and Raptors, who have been forced to play their home games in the U.S. Toronto will play in León on April 7th and Toronto will play their home leg on April 14th. It is unknown where Toronto will play on April 14th. Yes, it is great that Toronto is making their eighth Concacaf Champions League appearance. However, the chances of Toronto getting a Concacaf Champions League trophy is slim. Furthermore, the fact that Toronto has to win the Voyageurs Cup at Tim Hortons Field instead of BMO Field will put them at a disadvantage.
The date for the 2020 Canadian Championship is not known yet. What is known is that the final will take place at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
Hamilton benefits the most by hosting the 2020 Canadian Championship Final
It is important to note that Hamiltonians will feel like they were hard done by not making the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. It makes those losses against Arcahaie FC and C.D. Marathón in the 2020 Concacaf League sting a lot more for Hamiltonians. However, at the same time, it gives Hamilton the biggest chance to make history. It gives them the chance to be the first-ever CPL team to win the Voyageurs Cup. Something CPL fans would not expect so early on into their existence.
This chance for Hamilton does not come very often. It is unlikely the CPL will be given another chance like this one to win the Voyageurs Cup. Normally, the CPL teams would have to earn their right to the Canadian Championship Final. Of course, this is the same for MLS Canadian teams, but CPL has never made the Canadian Championship Final before this year. Furthermore, Hamilton will have the home advantage playing at Tim Hortons Field. This will play a big role and so expect the 2020 Canadian Championship Final to be a tight game.
2021 Concacaf Champions League and 2020 Canadian Championship Final Overview
Overall, Hamilton probably benefited the most from this decision even though it can be argued that Toronto benefited the most from this decision. Hamilton now has home advantage in the 2020 Canadian Championship Final to defeat an MLS-side in Toronto at Tim Hortons Field, which is a place that TFC has previously never played in.
Also, it should not be ruled out that fans could attend the game at Tim Hortons Field. Last year, Montreal Impact (now CF Montreal) fans attended games in small numbers against TFC and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in MLS Phase One. This was covered by Jeremy Trudelle of Last Word on Soccer last year.
There are two possible reasons for this decision to be made. One was that many members of Toronto FC tested positive to COVID-19 according to Michael Singh, Managing Editor of Waking the Red. The other is a public statement Forge FC owner Bob Young made to Canada Soccer.
Tim Hortons Field to host 2020 Canadian Championship Final
— Forge FC (@ForgeFCHamilton) March 11, 2021
This news probably helps Forge FC more than Toronto FC. It is hard for an MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League. Furthermore, TFC will have to start their season against the reigning Liga MX Champions Club León and also have to play their home games possibly outside of Canada. Yes, Hamilton loses out by not getting a chance to play in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. However, at the same time, Hamilton has a chance to make history on home territory. Hamilton has the chance to be the first-ever CPL team to win the Voyageurs Cup.