PREVIEW: Valour FC vs. York United — 2022 Match #73 (ComeOn! Match of the Week)

2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #73
Valour FC vs. York United
August 7, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m ET
IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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Can the third time be the charm for York United versus Valour FC?

They’re certainly hoping so, as after watching Valour win their first two games of the season series, York will be eager to get a one-up on the Winnipeg-based side, as both sides get set to do battle at Winnipeg’s IG Field on Sunday in the CPL’s ComeOn! Match of the Week. 

Especially after Valour were able to grab 87th-minute and 72nd-minute winners in those previous two matchups, breaking York’s hearts with some late goals, the impetus will be there for York to avoid similar heartbreak this time around. 

At the same time, Valour will be eager to repeat the feat on Sunday, as not only will they want to maintain their dominance over York this season, but are looking to keep pace in the playoff race, sitting just six points back of the playoff line as of writing thanks to a massive 2-0 win over Cavalry FC in midweek. 

Having gone on a bit of a summer run that has seen them nab four wins and one draw in their last seven games, with two of those wins coming against top four teams in Cavalry and Forge FC, Valour have really found their legs as a team as of late. 

Led by some strong defence, as they’ve now climbed to third-best in goals against, balanced out by some strong offence, which has seen them rise to fourth-best in goals for, they’re getting the job done at both ends right now, and that has them right back in the thick of the playoff race. 

“I think that the team is confident right now,” Valour head coach, Phil Dos Santos, said. “We’re fully aware of the challenge that’s ahead of us this weekend, and we’ve prepared the team for that.”

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Meanwhile, on York’s side, they’re currently in do-or-die mode, as their playoff hopes currently sit on life support after a tough summer slump. Sitting 12 points off the playoff line, it’d take a minor miracle for them to climb back into the picture, especially given that they’ve scored a league-low 14 goals this season. 

At the same time, they’re not going to go out quietly, something that they showed this past week, when they picked up a crucial 4-2 win over the Halifax Wanderers, the first time all season they were able to score three in a game. 

Therefore, while it might be easy for them to look ahead to next year and start focusing on what that could bring them, they want to at least try and make things interesting this year, as they chase their third win in their last four matches (which would be more than they had in their previous 15 encounters). 

Having recently shifted to a new-look-back three-formation, one that has seemed to give the team some offensive life, things are looking up for York, and they’ll want to keep those good vibes rolling into this matchup.

“Yeah, it’s been a work in progress in some ways,” York’s manager, Martin Nash, said of his team’s growth and formation change. “But I think it seems to suit the players we have, as we’re just trying to find a way that we can be more effective offensively, which I think we are.”

“Now, we need to get a little bit better defensively as a unit, but I think it’s been good, I like the way it’s shaping up, I think it’s causing a lot of problems for teams, so I’m happy with the way it looks and it’s something that we’ve just got to keep getting better with.”

Plus, while Valour has the edge in this rivalry so far this year, typically the games have been close between these two teams in the past, too, and given how they had to leave things late in both of those previous encounters, it shows that this game should be relatively even and hard-fought. 

Given what’s at stake for both teams, that should make for an exciting clash, one that can either continue Valour’s unlikely summer playoff push, or keep York’s faint hopes alive. Either way, those aren’t bad outcomes to have at stake, making it one to watch, much like the previous two clashes.

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  • Can York stay hot offensively? If York are to have any glimmer of hope for the playoffs, maintaining their recent four-goal offensive outburst against the Wanderers is a must ahead of this Valour clash, as they finally showed signs of the offensive potential that appears to be there for Nash’s side, but hasn’t always revealed itself. Of course, it’s a tall ask to suggest that they go out and score four again, as before that game, that accounted for 40% of their previous season total, but it showed what they can do on their day, especially when they get going in transition. Plus, as hasn’t always been the case this season, they saw some goals from depth players, which is key. Of course, it’s great that Osaze De Rosario was able to nab a brace, pushing him to eight goals on the season (which represents 57 percent of his team’s total goals), but goals from Jordan Wilson and Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio are equally just as important, if not more, as it was no secret that goals have been hard to come by from those not named DeRo this year. Against a solid Valour defensive line, they’ll need more of the same, and will look to maintain that as they get set for Sunday. “I thought we pressed them well off the ball,” Nash said of what worked for his team in their recent offensive outburst. “I think we didn’t give them time and space, which I think was big for us, and then we caught them in timely moments. I thought we defended really well as a team, didn’t give them much until late when they threw everything forward, and then we created enough chances, and we finished those chances, which is good, because we’ve been creating chances, but haven’t been finishing them.”
  • Sean Rea looking to continue York dominance: As one of the league’s premier young talents, there haven’t been many teams who Sean Rea hasn’t had his way with across his year-and-a-half in the league. But for whatever reason, he’s always had a special spot in his heart for York, against whom he seems to inflict a bit extra damage, as evidenced this year when he scored an 87th-minute screamer against them in a 1-0 win back in May, before he nabbed one goal and one assist in a 3-1 June win. Plus, with a two-assist performance from a 3-0 win over them in July of 2021, that means that five of the 13 goal contributions that he’s generated in his time in the league have come against York, showing how good he’s been in past matchups against them. Therefore, as he gets set to face them again, you’d have to imagine he finds a way to get involved somehow, adding to his impressive three goals and five assists that he currently has on the season. Knowing that his Jonathan Sirois and Andrew Jean-Baptiste-led defence will likely get the job at one end, those goals could go a long way for his side, much as they did in those previous two wins, allowing them to pick up that much-needed win. “He’s a good player, he just needs to be consistent throughout the 90 minutes,” Dos Santos said. “Sean is going to be in the lineup (on Sunday), and he just needs to make sure he’s consistent throughout the 90 minutes, and that he helps the team when he has the opportunity to do it both on and off the ball.” Dos Santos later added: “He can really create an element of surprise for the opposition.”
  • Dyer vs. De Rosario matchup offers promise: It’s been a fun few weeks for the CPL’s Golden Boot race, which after looking stale just a month ago, has heated right up, thanks to some promising runs from various attackers around the league. Two of those names? Valour’s Moses Dyer and York’s Osaze De Rosario, who enter this game sitting tied for second and fourth in the race, respectively. Plus, both have been in scorching form, as Dyer has scored six in the last six games that he’s played to push himself to nine on the season, while De Rosario has nabbed five in his last seven, pushing himself to eight for the year, making them ones to watch in the CPL right now. They’re very different scorers, as Dyer likes to operate in deeper positions as more of a #10, while De Rosario has been at his best as an out-and-out #9, but they’ve both been getting the job right now, breaching the net whenever they’re given the opportunity to do so. Because of that, keep a close eye on them in this game, as if their most recent form is to mean anything, a goal from either of them could very well be on the cards, helping keep that Golden Boot race as wide-open as ever with 10 games to go. “Osaze De Rosario is a threat, we know that, not only due to his ability to attack the space, but how he can play in front of a backline when you give him space around the box,” Dos Santos said of De Rosario. “Meanwhile, Moses is Moses. He is someone who puts the team first, works very hard, and when he’s on the right side of the ball, good things will happen. So it’s two good players in good form, and we’ll see what will happen tomorrow.”


York United wins: 4 || Valour FC wins: 5 || Draws: 1

Previous match:

June 26th, 2022 — York United 1-3 Valour FC


“Yeah, I mean, I think that’s just it, we’re asking the players to have that same commitment and performance week-in and week-out now. We had that blip with that Ottawa performance in between the two Cavalry and Wanderers wins, where the performance wasn’t terrible, but we just gave away two silly penalties, but we’ve been focusing on who we are and how we want to play the game, it’s all about us right now, not so much the opponent.” — York United head coach Martin Nash.

“It’s important (to be where we are in the standings). Frustrating at the same time, too, because we feel that we’ve we could have been closer (to the playoffs) by this time but this is where we are now, so we need to look ahead, and the good thing is that we’re in a position to look at the teams that are ahead of us, as they will play each other and try to kind of neutralize each other in the next few weeks, while our next three games are against teams that are below us in the standings. So we have a chance here that every point that we gain now could be points in our favour. And that will allow us to catch teams that are in front of us in the standings” — Valour head coach Phil Dos Santos.