PREVIEW: York United vs. FC Edmonton — Match #32 (ComeOn! Match of the Week)

2021 CPL regular season (The Kickoff) — Match #32
York United vs. FC Edmonton
July 24, 2021 at 5:00 pm ET/4:00 pm CT
IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Two evenly matched teams both searching for a positive result before departing the bubble square off for the second time at The Kickoff as York United take on FC Edmonton in the ComeOn! Match of the Week Saturday evening at IG Field.

The Eddies come into this one on just two days’ rest after a tight 1-0 win over HFX Wanderers Wednesday night, where Easton Ongaro scored with less than 10 minutes left on the clock — his first goal of the season — to steal all three points for Edmonton. The victory snapped a four-match winless run for Alan Koch’s side, with their last W coming back on Canada Day in a 2-0 result over Forge.

Demonstrating a real knack for late scoring and defensive stinginess under Koch so far, Edmonton has made these characteristics a major part of their “identity” in this new chapter for the club in the early stages of 2021: “We’ve had to start literally brick by brick to try and build something and we still have a long way to go,” Koch told media ahead of the match. “That has to be part of our DNA, that’s who FC Edmonton has to become, it’s who the city of Edmonton is.”

One of the major storylines ahead of this fixture is the freshness that York might display given their three extra days’ rest and the youth their squad possesses. While Koch assumes the opposition will be at their very best, he looks forward to seeing how his team performs with plenty of rotation expected.

“We’re excited about our group too, we’re excited to see maybe some different players get an opportunity to play tomorrow and hopefully they can embrace the challenge.”

York United is coming into Saturday on something of an offensive cold streak having failed to score in three straight matches. Having last played back on Sunday in a 3-0 loss to Pacific, Jimmy Brennan was grateful for the time off the Nine Stripes were granted midweek and the sense of normality it provided the squad: “It was nice just acting as though it was a regular season, we had a week to prepare for our match,” said Brennan on Friday. “So it was good and the morale is good, these guys are a good bunch of guys, there’s a nice chemistry within the group and it was a good week for us.”

While Brennan admits the prospects of returning home after a long stay in Winnipeg is in the back of his and the rest of the group’s minds, heading back east to York with a positive result in their back pockets remains a top priority in their eighth and final match at The Kickoff.

“It’s one that we definitely want to win and get three points out of but we know it’s gonna be a challenge, it’s going to be a difficult match for us. They’re a decent side but we’ll be up for the challenge,” said Brennan.

The last time these two met back on July 4 the points were shared in a 1-1 draw with Fraser Aird opening the scoring with a stunning strike from distance for Edmonton before Michael Petrasso responded off the bench for York in what was a tightly contested game in almost all statistical categories.

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  • Ongaro en fuego? Finally able to break his bad luck in the final third, Easton Ongaro got his goal, the match-winner against the Wanderers, back on Wednesday night. Despite failing to find the back of the net through the first six matches — the same goes for Tobias Warschewski who’s found himself in dangerous positions on several occasions — Ongaro has had continued support from Koch throughout the dry spell for his work rate and continued effort in pressing. While the 6’6 talisman stayed level headed through the tough run of scoring form, the benefits of opening his account aren’t being dismissed by his head coach: “He’s a pretty even-keeled guy, he wasn’t getting too stressed out about it,” said Koch. “But for a striker to score, there’s less pressure on you now obviously. He’s in a good mindset and we’re excited to see how he does tomorrow.” With questions marks over the fitness of Warschewski ahead of Saturday, the Eddies may lean on Ongaro to carry the confidence over from the Halifax match and prove himself a reliable source of offense for this side moving forward.
  • York beneficiary of three extra days’ rest: Brennan alluded to the sense of normality having a full week to prepare for this match but with a number of key players missing through injury, this extended break between fixtures would have been that much sweeter for the Nine Stripes. The York coach was hesitant to show his hand with regards to which players may or may not be fit enough to feature against Edmonton but added that some of those who’ve been sidelined with knocks did train ahead of Saturday. Whether or not they receive any added reinforcements, Brennan said the gap was good for those who have perhaps played too often during their stay in Winnipeg: “It was good because we got to give a couple of players a little break that they needed. We’ve asked an awful lot of certain players who played every minute and really they haven’t had time to recover. So it was good for them to have a day or two off, get their massages and treatments and then get them back on the pitch and start to slowly work on our tactics.”
  • Dead-heat in previous matchup: Beyond the 1-1 scoreline, the last time these two played was as evenly contested a game as we’ve seen so far this season. Possession was a perfect 50-50 split in the second half while York attempted a mere four more total passes than the Eddies through the 90′ (401 vs. 397), also earning the slightest edge in the shooting department with 13 attempts towards goal compared to Edmonton’s 12. All the parity was nearly for not when Easton Ongaro stepped up to take a spot kick at the death with the chance to steal all three points, a chance he dragged wide — given the raised eyebrows over the penalty’s legitimacy, a miss which may have been fitting in the end. Be it a missed PK or perhaps a converted late chance this time around, expect a contest where one pivotal moment could decide the outcome.


FC Edmonton wins: 0 || York United wins: 3 || Draws: 3

Previous match:

July 4, 2021 — FC Edmonton 1-1 York United


“We know they’re a very dangerous team, you can see that they’ve had some good moments here in the bubble… they’re going to be energized, they haven’t played all week and we’re excited to see who they throw out and how the game goes.” — Alan Koch, FC Edmonton head coach

“I think it’s going to be a competitive match and we’ve just got to make sure that they when they start moving the ball around they stay in front of us and they’re not breaking lines and they’re not getting in behind us. ” — Jimmy Brennan, York United head coach