Nutrilite Canadian Championship starts at Stade Saputo

Just eight days after opening its doors for the first time, Stade Saputo will host the first match of the new Nutrilite Canadian Championship. The Impact de Montréal will face Toronto FC in the first of six matches in the three-team tournament. On the line – a spot in the brand new CONCACAF Champions League™.



The Impact de Montréal is a veteran of the United Soccer Leagues First Division, most recently winning the league playoff title in 2004. The Impact, who have been in operation since 1993, just moved into the new Stade Saputo for the team’s 2008 home opener on 19 May.

Just eight days after opening its doors for the first time, Stade Saputo will host the first match of the new Nutrilite Canadian Championship. The Impact de Montréal will face Toronto FC in the first of six matches in the three-team tournament. On the line – a spot in the brand new CONCACAF Champions League™.



The Impact de Montréal is a veteran of the United Soccer Leagues First Division, most recently winning the league playoff title in 2004. The Impact, who have been in operation since 1993, just moved into the new Stade Saputo for the team’s 2008 home opener on 19 May.



Toronto FC, meanwhile, is in just its second season of operation. Toronto FC, however, plays one level up in Major League Soccer. Toronto FC is the first MLS team to play the Impact.



“The motivation will be high because it’s a different championship for us,” said Impact head coach Nick De Santis. “There is also a pride factor for us to play an MLS team and to do so at home. We have to try to win this home game because we will have to play on the road too. We are facing a club at a different level with players that can hurt you at any point. They are doing very well right now and they have a lot of confidence but we have to stay focused and play with concentration.”



The Impact, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps are the three teams competing in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Each team plays four matches – two at home and two on the road. The first-place will win the Voyageurs Cup and join CONCACAF Champions League for the 2008-09 season. The CONCACAF champion (out of 24 teams) will advance to the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup.



Coming into the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, the Impact have a 2008 USL1 record of two wins, four draws and one loss. Toronto FC, meanwhile, have a 2008 MLS record of four wins, three draws and two loses.



“Within minutes of the game finishing on Saturday against (DC United), I stressed the importance of this game,” said Toronto FC head coach John Carver. “I told the players to ask the Canadian boys how important this game is. On a scale of one to 10, it’s 10. We’re here to win it. It’s an opportunity for us to get some silverware and to go on and progress against very good quality opposition. We’ll put our strongest team possible out and hopefully be successful.”



The Nutrilite Canadian Championship runs 27 May to 22 July. On 17 June, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC will visit Montréal and on 25 June the Impact will play the return match at Swangard Stadium. The last three matches then take place in July: the Canada Day tilt between the Whitecaps at Toronto FC at BMO Field (1 July), the return match with Toronto FC visiting Vancouver (9 July), and the final match featuring the Impact at Toronto FC (22 July).

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