Guelph United’s big night in the Canadian Championship is just hours away, so here’s a quick overview of everything you need to know before the game gets under way.
The two teams
Halifax Wanderers were founded in 2018 as the third confirmed team to be joining the Canadian Premier League, which kicked off the following year.
Stephen Hart is the man at the helm and guided his team to a runners-up finish in the 2020 CPL season which was staged on Prince Edward Island in a tournament bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They currently sit fourth out of eight teams in the CPL having won twice, lost twice, and tied once since the 2022 season which started in early April, and they head into the Canadian Championship game after a scoreless tie with Valour on Saturday.
Meanwhile Guelph United will need little introduction having very quickly made their mark in the Men’s Premier Division last season.
Led by associate head coaches Justin Springer and Keith Mason, Guelph won the league’s Championship Final in their inaugural season to book their spot in tonight’s round of cup fixtures.
Guelph (1-1-1) were defeated 3-2 by ProStars at the weekend and sit 12th in League1 Ontario after the opening three games.
The big players
Jace Kotsopoulos finished last season as the league’s Golden Boot winner with 15 regular-season goals and the Championship Final MVP. The former Forge and York9 (now York United) striker will be looking to add to his tally against HFX Wanderers after he netted his first of the season at the weekend.
Meanwhile defenders Armado Oakley and Devante Walker have both been selected in the L1O Team of the Week already this season, and Ukrainian goalkeeper Svyatik Artemenko could feature in the game having recently returned from serving his country in their war with Russia.
Cory Bent has netted twice for the Wanderers this season, and their other goals have come from Samuel Salter, Akeem García, and João Morelli who was the CPL’s top scorer last season with 14 goals – a new league record. Morelli won’t feature tonight though, he injured his ACL injury in April and has been ruled for the remainder of the season.
Fullback Zachary Fernandez currently leads the Wanderers in both tackles and interceptions, so Guelph will need to get past him if they want to book their place in the next round.
The key details
The game kicks off at 7pm at Alumni Stadium. It is a one-legged affair meaning tonight’s winner will face Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC in the tournament’s last eight, while the other is eliminated.
Tickets can be purchased in advance from guelphunitedfc.ca/shop for $20 for adults and $10 for youths. They will be more expensive at the gate.
Today is expected to be sunny with highs of around 21 degrees Celsius in Guelph, cooling to around 16 degrees for kickoff.
If you can’t attend tonight in person, OneSoccer will be live streaming the game on their YouTube channel.
You can also get involved in the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #CanChamp, #UnitedFront, or #WeAreUnited.