The Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact will face off again tonight [Simon Fudge, WhitecapsFC.com]in USSF Division II play. The game has plenty of on-pitch implications, as Vancouver (2-1-2) and Montreal (2-1-1) are the top two clubs in the NASL Conference so far, but it also carries a significant off-field component. The rivalry between the teams is long-running, but it took on extra heat last year when Montreal's lopsided loss to Toronto FC cost Vancouver a CONCACAF Champions League berth, and again when the Impact beat the Whitecaps in the USL final.
This year, the two clubs battled to a 1-1 draw in the Voyageurs' Cup last Wednesday. Montreal was officially announced as the newest MLS team (joining in 2012, one year after Vancouver) on Friday [Paul Attfield, The Globe and Mail], so this will be the first time the two clubs face each other since that, but hardly the last; Vancouver will travel to Montreal to face the Impact in another Nutrilite Canadian Championship game on May 26, and they'll have further league games against Montreal on June 30 and Sept. 24. Tonight should be another exciting instalment in the rivalry. The webcast of the game can be seen on the Whitecaps' website, and I'll be live-blogging it from the Swangard Stadium press box starting at 7:45 p.m. Pacific (10:45 p.m. Eastern), so come swing by then!