The dial has just turned over to start a shiny new year, and already fans of the Vancouver Whitecaps have been treated to plenty of news to ease the ennui of the never-ending MLS offseason.
Earlier this week the Caps released their 2016 Major League Soccer schedule, and earlier on Friday the club followed up by announcing the schedule for the 2016 Amway Canadian Championship, or the Voyageur's Cup as we prefer to call it around here.
So, in no particular order, here are three reasons to get excited about the 2016 Voyageur's Cup:
1. For the first time in forever, the 'Caps will defend the Cup
- Apologies for the blatant Frozen ripoff, but admit it - you were singing it in your head before I even pointed it out. On a serious note though, the thought of the Whitecaps defending and *gasp* perhaps even winning back-to-back Voyageur's Cups is enough to wake this supporter out of his offseason hibernation.
2. The matches that really matter to Whitecaps FC fans will all be decided in June
- Remember last year how it was nearly two months between the semifinal second leg against FC Edmonton and the first leg of the final in Montréal? Ok, that obviously was a result of scheduling issues that arose because BC Place was playing host to the FIFA Women's World Cup, but it will be nice to have the 2016 winner of the Amway Canadian Championship decided by the end of June. So guys, please do me a solid and don't crash out in the semis, ok?
3. With plenty of talent and depth in the first team and at WFC2 there are plenty of options for Carl Robinson
- Over the past few seasons many first team regulars have logged, often in a losing cause, several extra matches and travel in an attempt to bring the trophy to Vancouver. Is this the year we'll see guys like Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, Sam Adekugbe, and perhaps even Victor Blasco rise to the occasion? We'll find out soon enough.
Here is the entire 2016 Amway Canadian Championship schedule:
May 11, 2016
Preliminary round - first leg
FC Edmonton v Ottawa Fury FC
May 18, 2016
Preliminary round - second leg
Ottawa Fury FC v FC Edmonton
June 1, 2016
Semifinal 1 - first leg
Ottawa Fury FC/FC Edmonton v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Semifinal 2 - first leg
Toronto FC v Montreal Impact
June 8, 2016
Semifinal 1 - second leg
Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Ottawa Fury FC/FC Edmonton
Semifinal 2 - second leg
Montreal Impact v Toronto FC
June 21 or 22, 2016
Final - first leg
June 28 or 29, 2016
Final - second leg