Canada’s top clubs gear up for 2010 championship season

With three weeks to go before the official kickoff of the 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship, all three professional clubs will now be in league action as of this Sunday 11 April. Toronto FC plays its second league match of the 2010 Major League Soccer season this Saturday 10 April while Impact de Montréal and Vancouver Whitecaps FC both open their new USSF Division 2 seasons on Sunday.

With three weeks to go before the official kickoff of the 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship, all three professional clubs will now be in league action as of this Sunday 11 April. Toronto FC plays its second league match of the 2010 Major League Soccer season this Saturday 10 April while Impact de Montréal and Vancouver Whitecaps FC both open their new USSF Division 2 seasons on Sunday.



All three Canadian teams are on the road this Saturday and Sunday. Toronto FC (0-0-1) faces New England Revolution (Foxboro, MA), Vancouver Whitecaps FC face Minnesota Stars, and Impact de Montréal face Austin Aztek.



All three teams have spent the early part of this year preparing for their league competitions and the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Marc Dos Santos and Teitur Thordarsson are back as head coaches of Montréal and Vancouver, respectively, while Preki is the new head coach in Toronto.



The Impact de Montréal will of course be looking to rebound from a third-place finish in last year’s competition. The team scored only one goal in four matches in 2009, so it will need Roberto Brown and Eduardo Sebrango – both leading scorers during the 2008 Nutrilite Canadian Championship – to put the ball in the net in 2010.



In goal, 2008 Gross Trophy winner Matt Jordan is back for a third Nutrilite Canadian Championship. He was in fine form at the end of last year when the Impact defeated Whitecaps FC in the USL-1 playoff championship. Other key returning players are centre backs Cédric Joqueviel and Nevio Pizzolitto and midfielders Leonardo Di Lorenzo and David Testo.



New to the Impact this 2010 season is midfielder Tyler Hemming, who is 2009 made his international debut with Canada’s national team. Another key addition is Reda Agourram, who in 2009 won Canadian Soccer League Top Goalscorer honours before leading the Attak de Trois-Rivières to the CSL championship.



Vancouver Whitecaps FC have plenty of new faces in their 2010 lineup, most notably along the back line where incoming centre backs Nelson Akwari and Greg Janicki will hold the back line. In the midfield, Ricardo Sánchez and Jonny Steele are the two main off-season acquisitions.



In terms of familiar faces, goalkeeper Jay Nolly is back for a third Nutrilite Canadian Championship. He established a competition record last year with three clean sheets in four matches. Midfielders Martin Nash and Ansu Touré are also back, as is experienced striker Marlon James.



Young players to watch could be Philippe Davies and Randy Edwini-Bonsu, both members of Canada’s men’s U-23 Olympic program. Davies may have trouble cracking an experienced midfield, but Edwini-Bonsu could get playing time up front alongside James.



Defending champion Toronto FC, at last, may have just as many changes from the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Its turnover starts with the retirement of veteran players Danny Dichio and Jim Brennan, both now in management (Dichio as an assistant coach, Brennan as the assistant general manager). Also gone are midfielders Amado Guevara and Carl Robinson.



Returning TFC members include goalkeeper Stefan Frei, defenders Nick Garcia and Nana Attakora, and midfielders Sam Cronin and Dwayne De Rosario. In 2009, De Rosario won the Gross Trophy after leading Toronto FC to the championship on the final day of the competition. New to the 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship is midfielder Julian de Guzman, who like De Rosario is a former Canadian Player of the Year.



One of the new faces in Toronto this year could be defender Zach Herold, a second-round pick from the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Another new face to the Nutrilite Canadian Championship could be forward O’Brian White, the fourth-overall selection from the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.



The 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship runs six consecutive Wednesday nights from 28 April through 2 June in Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal. All six matches will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet. The champion of the three-team competition qualifies for CONCACAF Champions League.



Impact de Montréal, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC are the three teams competing in the third annual edition of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Each team plays four games – two at home and two on the road. In 2009, the three professional clubs played in front of an average capacity of 96% at Stade Saputo (Montréal), BMO Field (Toronto) and Swangard Stadium (Vancouver).



CanadaSoccer.com will once again be the official home of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Ticket information for the 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship is available through the respective home club websites and their ticketing agencies.



2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship

Impact de Montréal

Toronto FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC



2010 Match Schedule

28.04.2010 – 20.00 ET / 17.00 PT – BMO Field – Toronto FC – Impact Montréal

05.05.2010 – 22.00 ET / 19.00 PT – Swangard Stadium – Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Impact Montréal

12.05.2010 – 20.00 ET / 17.00 PT – Stade Saputo – Impact Montréal – Toronto FC

19.05.2010 – 22.00 ET / 19.00 PT – Swangard Stadium – Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Toronto FC

26.05.2010 – 20.00 ET / 17.00 PT – Stade Saputo – Impact Montréal – Vancouver Whitecaps FC

02.06.2010 – 20.00 ET / 17.00 PT – BMO Field – Toronto FC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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