Vancouver Whitecaps to join Toronto FC, CF Montreal in playing at home next month

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Major League Soccer says all three Canadian teams will host August matches in their home stadiums.

Toronto FC has already held two matches at BMO Field this month with CF Montreal staging one at Saputo Stadium. The Vancouver Whitecaps have continued to play out of Sandy, Utah, because of scheduling conflicts at B.C. Place Stadium.

The Whitecaps open August with three straight road games before hosting Los Angeles FC on Aug. 21 and Real Salt Lake on Aug. 29. The LAFC match comes 539 days after the last game at B.C. Place.

"We are very, very excited to finally return home and play in front of our amazing supporters at B.C. Place," Axel Schuster, the Whitecaps sporting director and CEO, said in a statement. "A number of our players haven’t experienced the joy of playing in Vancouver with fans, so this will be a special moment."

Toronto's next home game is Aug. 1 against Nashville SC. Montreal host Atlanta United on Aug. 4.

The league says players and staff on teams coming north will have to be fully vaccinated to avoid quarantine. Everyone will have to undergo COVID-19 testing before travel and upon arrival in Canada.

"MLS remains in communication with the Canadian government regarding plans for MLS Canadian teams to host their remaining home matches in Canada pursuant to a National Interest Exemption," the league said in a statement.

That exemption would allow non-vaccinated players and staff to undergo a modified quarantine in crossing the border.

The league says all three Canadian teams will be allowed fans in the stands "in compliance with all national and regional guidelines."

Current public health guidelines for outdoor events in Quebec allow a maximum capacity at 5,000 spectators. Toronto attendance was capped at 7,000 for the first match back home, rising to 15,000 last time out. The August matches at BMO Field will also have a maximum attendance of 15,000.

There was no immediate word on Vancouver attendance guidelines.

Montreal also hosts the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 14 and Toronto on Aug. 27. TFC entertains New York City FC on Aug. 7 and the New England Revolution on Aug, 14.

Toronto and Montreal started the season in Florida, based out of Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, respectively.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2021

The Canadian Press

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