05/01/2014 03:35 EDT | Updated 07/01/2014 05:59 EDT

Impact set to face NASL's FC Edmonton in Amway Canadian championship

MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact insist they won't take FC Edmonton lightly when they meet in the Amway Canadian Championship next week.

The Eddies, as they are known, play in the NASL, one level below Major League Soccer where the Impact have struggled to find victories this season.

"There are no easy games," Montreal coach and former Greek league striker Frank Klopas said Thursday. "I've been in many games like that as a player in Europe.

"It's a great tournament because it gives you a chance to play against some of the higher teams."

Edmonton will play host to defending champion Montreal in one semifinal while Toronto FC receives the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first legs next Wednesday. The venues reverse for the second legs on May 14.

The winners will play for the Voyageurs Cup in the two-game final round May 28 and June 4. The champion advances to the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Eddies posted a 3-1 win over fellow NASL club the Ottawa Fury on Wednesday night on a pair of goals from Daryl Fordyce and a goal and two assists from 17-year-old Hanson Boakai. The teams drew 0-0 in Ottawa in the first leg.

Montreal would probably have preferred to see Ottawa win, as it would be a two-hour bus ride instead of a four-hour flight to Edmonton.

But the Fury may have been just as dangerous because they would have bragging rights to battle for. Ottawa is led by former Impact coach Marc Dos Santos and have some ex-Impact players, including Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Tony Donatelli.

Either way, the Impact will be the favourite. Now it remains to be seen what sort of starting 11 they send onto the Clarke Stadium pitch.

In the past, MLS teams have used the Canadian championship to give playing time to reserve players.

"We have to see where everyone is at and put the strongest team out possible," said Klopas. "We're not thinking ahead at all."

He watched Edmonton play and was impressed.

"We have to be very focused and serious because we're playing against a good team," he said. "It's a team that's good in transition. They have pace outside. They have some quality players and they're organized defensively. We're not taking any opponent in a light way."

The Impact won the inaugural Canadian championship as a lower-division side in 2008 and went on to the CONCACAF quarter-finals. They won again last year, but were ousted in the group stage of CONCACAF play.

Striker Marco Di Vaio played against lower-league clubs during his long career in Italy's Serie-A.

"It's not an easy game," said Di Vaio. "We're not lucky this year. We have to make a longer trip, but that's life. We'll be prepared for the game."

The Impact (1-4-3) are on a bye week in MLS after posting their first win, 1-0 over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. After travelling to Edmonton, they return home to play Sporting Kansas City on May 10.

The Impact's struggles on the field are mirrored in Di Vaio's troubles in finding the back of the net.

A 20-goal scorer in 2013, the 37-year-old Italian has scored once in five starts after missing the first three games of the regular season with a suspension. He is sixth in MLS with 25 shots, including eight on target.

"For me, the most important thing is to create chances and be dangerous during the game," he said. "I'm not worried."

In 33 appearances last season, the Impact were 10-2-3 in games in which Di Vaio scored a goal and 4-11-3 when he didn't score. They drew 1-1 in Philadelphia when he scored his lone goal so far this season.

"I know I have to score, it's my job," said Di Vaio. "But every year is different. Some years you score and you don't even move and in others you move a lot and you don't score.

"I have a lot of experience and what's most important is to be dangerous in the game. After that, the goals will come."