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Big night ahead for Major League Soccer’s Canadian sides

Montreal Impact v Sporting Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 05: Players Felipe Martins #7 and Sinisa Ubiparipovic #28 of the Montreal Impact celebrate after beating Sporting Kansas City 2-0 on May 5, 2012 at LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

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Two sides from Canada move closer to CONCACAF Champions League play tonight, when a pair of series are settled in the Amway Canadian Championship.

  • Toronto at Montreal, 8 p.m. ET
  • Edmonton at Vancouver, 10 p.m. ET

A lot is going right for Montreal at the moment. The MLS expansion side, coming off a big win in Round 9 of league play, now rides high in the driver’s seat in its two-leg series with Toronto, where absolutely zilch is going right. The teams meet tonight in Montreal, having fought to a scoreless draw last week at BMO Field in Toronto.

Increasingly embattled Toronto coach Aron Winter says his team has a “surprise” in store. But with his two best players, Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans, out with injury the real surprise will be Toronto still alive in the competition in about 12 hours.

That winner meets either Vancouver or Edmonton in the Canadian Championship final. Put your toonies and loonies on the Whitecaps going through, as Martin Rennie’s club carries a healthy 2-0 lead into tonight’s return leg along Canada’s West coast.

For Canadian clubs, claiming the country’s professional soccer championship represents the easiest pathway into CONCACAF Champions League play, which begins later this summer.

Here’s a preview from the Whitecaps on tonight’s match. (One of the speakers is Omar Salgado, the No. 1 draft pick from 2011, who is playing along the left for Rennie and really starting to look like a No. 1 draft pick.)