Expansion Vancouver FC to play CPL home opener against Cavalry FC on May 7

The game ball sits on a pedestal ahead of the inaugural soccer match of the Canadian Premier League between Forge FC of Hamilton and York 9 in Hamilton, Ont., Saturday, April 27, 2019. Aaron Lynett/THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO — Expansion Vancouver FC will open with three games on the road before hosting Cavalry FC on May 7 in its Canadian Premier League home opener.

Vancouver will play its home games at Willoughby Community Park at the Langley Events Centre.

The league announced the full schedule for its fifth season on Monday. It had previously unveiled the fixtures for its opening weekend.

Vancouver will visit B.C. rival Pacific FC on April 14 before playing at York United FC on April 22 and HFX Wanderers FC on April 29.

The two B.C. teams share the same ownership in SixFive Sports & Entertainment, whose lead investors are former Canadian internationals Rob Friend and Josh Simpson and entrepreneur Dean Shillington.

The 112-match CPL season will see the eight teams play a 28-match schedule. Each club will play all seven opponents twice at home and twice on the road over the course of the season.

Atletico Ottawa, Forge FC and York United will also host opening-round games April 14 to 16 against HFX Wanderers FC, Cavalry FC and Valour FC, respectively.

Valour opens at home schedule during the second round on April 22 when Phil Dos Santos’ side hosts reigning regular-season champion Atletico Ottawa at IG Field in Winnipeg.

The third round sees a return home to Wanderers Grounds for new head coach Patrice Gheisar’s side, as Halifax hosts expansion on April 29. Cavalry also has it home opener the next day, against Valour at ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows.

The 2023 regular season, the fifth in CPL history, will wrap up the weekend of Oct. 6-7.

The club that finishes first will be crowned the regular-season champion and earn a financial prize equal value to that going to the triumphant playoff team. A new trophy honouring the regular-season champion will be introduced this year.

The regular season champion will also earn one of the CPL’s two spots in the new expanded CONCACAF Champions League, with the CPL’s other berth going to its playoff champion. The expanded Champions League kicks off in 2024 with 27 clubs taking part.

The league remains at eight teams with Vancouver filling the void left by the demise of FC Edmonton.

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