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Toronto FC cries foul at CONCACAF Champions League qualifying change

Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley dribbles the ball during the first half against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium, on March 4, 2017.

Russell Isabella/USA Today Sports

When Toronto FC won the Canadian Championship last year, the spoils of victory included a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Now it has been told that it must clear another hurdle. Toronto has to win this year's Canadian Championship or, if it fails to do so, beat the team that does win it to secure the CONCACAF tournament invite it thought it already had.

The Canadian Soccer Association, which made the change, says it was necessitated by a revamped CONCACAF tournament format.

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Previously the CONCACAF club championship ran August through April. But starting next year, MLS teams won't enter the competition until February with the event wrapping up in May.

That created a logjam with Toronto and another possible qualifier emerging from this year's Canadian championship vying for one spot in the revamped 2018 CONCACAF tournament.

The CSA decided to institute the one-off playoff – this August in Toronto if needed – to get down to one qualifier and correct the pathway from one tournament to the other as soon as possible.

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