PREVIEW: York United vs. Atlético Ottawa — 2022 Match #64

2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #64
York United vs. Atlético Ottawa
July 24, 2022 at 2:00 p.m ET
York Lions Stadium in Toronto, Ontario
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York United are back home this Sunday to close out the CPL’s weekend slate of matches, as Atlético Ottawa take a trip down the 401 (and 416) to play their fellow Ontarians.

Martin Nash and the Nine Stripes return to York Lions Stadium in better spirits than they last left their home ground, having finally halted their winless skid at 10 games. After losing 4-2 to Pacific last Friday night, York was in Calgary on Tuesday, as they produced a gutsy 1-0 win over the league leaders Cavalry FC thanks to Osaze De Rosario’s first-half goal.

“We know we can beat the top teams,” said York United head coach Martin Nash. “Now we just have to beat the teams around us. We have another game this weekend against a top team, it is not going to be easy, but if we put in the effort in we did against Cavalry we will have a good chance of winning.”

York will definitely be hoping their disappointing run of form is over, but there’s still quite a mountain for them to climb if they want to contend for a playoff spot. As it stands, York sits seventh in the league with a 3-5-8 record and 14 points, which puts them nine points back of Forge FC for fourth place.

Squad selection also isn’t getting any easier for head coach Nash, as Jordan Wilson is suspended once again for his red card against Cavalry — as is Isaiah Johnston, who will miss two games after picking up his eighth caution of the season.

The picture is a little rosier for Ottawa, who entered the weekend in second place. Their 7-5-3 record puts them on 26 points, just two behind Cavalry before the latter’s Friday night match with Pacific. Carlos González and co. are unbeaten in their last four games now, as they continue to keep pace with the pack at the top of the table.

Atleti’s last outing was on Wednesday, when they hosted Valour FC at TD Place. Both sides scored a penalty kick in the first 15 minutes (Vladimir Moragrega equalizing for Ottawa after Moses Dyer briefly put Valour ahead), and that would be it as the teams played out a 1-1 draw.

Games between these two foes have historically been extremely tight, with seven out of eight past meetings ending in split points. Only York has managed to win in this fixture, having beaten Ottawa once in a league match — a 2-0 triumph last September. York also defeated Ottawa in a penalty shootout earlier this year in the Canadian Championship after the tie ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.

After beating Forge earlier this month, York remains the only side that Atlético Ottawa has not yet defeated. In a season where they have made plenty of club history, they will be looking to do so again on Sunday.

“The reality is that they are three important points because we feel that York is also a team that is going to be fighting for things until the end of the season,” said Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González. “Also it is an important game for us because we want to leave our dynamic of ties and start to win again and be on the top of the league.”

Last time out, the two sides played to a 0-0 draw at TD Place, in a match where both teams saw a man sent off in the last 10 minutes — Drew Beckie for Ottawa and Cédric Toussaint for York. Both managers will definitely hope there’s more to separate his side from the other this time around, though.

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  • York hopes to continue improved scoring form: Part of the reason for York’s lengthy dry spell was that they struggled so much to put the ball in the net. In the match against Pacific, their attack certainly looked much better than it had the past two months, with Ronan Kratt and Osaze De Rosario both scoring and hitting the woodwork later on. They did sacrifice some defensive structure in that game in favour of a more potent attack, but nonetheless, the positive signs were there. York didn’t have as many chances to score against Cavalry, although the goal De Rosario did score was an example of improved efficiency in the final third and a good finish that York hasn’t necessarily been able to produce consistently this year. Now back at home against a difficult Atlético Ottawa side to break down, Martin Nash will be keen on seeing his side enjoy more time in the attacking third and trouble the goalkeeper — former Nine Stripes shot-stopper Nathan Ingham — more consistently.
  • Owen Antoniuk gives Atleti options as they look to build up U-21 minutes: A big key to the second half of Atlético Ottawa’s season is how they are able to accumulate U-21 minutes. The club currently sits in last place in the league with only 728 minutes played this season. Clubs are required to have 2000 minutes for domestic U-21 players. To this point, Atleti hasn’t had many options with the fewest players that qualify in the league. Zakaria Bahous has become a regular, while Zachary Roy and Jose da Cunha have been used only sparingly. But the club added some depth in this area this week with the signing of 19-year-old midfielder Owen Antoniuk on loan from Vancouver Whitecaps 2. “It is true that we have more options with Owen,” said González. “We didn’t have many options and now we have more options and this is good so that I can decide and also they can compete between themselves. It is a very good notice that we have one more player there in the midfield, with different qualities than the players that we have inside. A player that offensively he can give us a lot of things. He has a great personality, he is adapting really well to the team and I think that hopefully, we will see him soon.”
  • Discipline will be critical for York after yet another sending-off: The last time these two sides met, both clubs were reduced to 10 men. For York, discipline has been something of an issue this season and they continue to compile cards and suspensions. As aforementioned, Wilson will miss this match after being sent off against Cavalry. As will Isaiah Johnston, for yellow card accumulation. Johnston leads the league in yellow card offences, with eight. York as a team also leads the league in fouls committed (238) and red cards (five), and only Cavalry has more yellow cards than York’s 42. While playing with an edge has been part of York’s success at times this season, the number of avoidable absences and times the club has left itself shorthanded have not been helping an already difficult season. “Yeah, we have been talking about discipline,” said Nash, although expressed that he did not agree with some of the recent calls that have gone against his club, “It is decisions that have hurt us in some ways, but we do have to be a little bit better as well in temperament.”


York United wins: 1 || Atlético Ottawa wins: 0 || Draws: 7

Previous match:

June 15, 2022 — Atlético Ottawa 0-0 York United


“They are always cagey, difficult matches. Both teams are intense and over the season have been good defensively so I think it will be a whatever team wants it more type of match.” — York United FC head coach Martin Nash

“Fourth time we play against York this season, quite similar games the other three. So the reality is that I am not expecting a very, very different game. I think that York are a very solid team, a compact team also, a tough team to beat, because we haven’t beat them [yet].” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González