‘We’re on the right track’: Brennan sees improvement in York9’s slow start

YORK REGION – Four league games, no wins. That’s the state of affairs at the moment for York9 FC, who dropped their first-ever Canadian Premier League home game on Saturday, 2-0 to Forge FC.

The Nine Stripes are the only side left without a win in league play, and as a result they sit bottom of the table from Spring season action so far.

Perhaps it shouldn’t all be doom and gloom, though. York9 coach Jimmy Brennan is adamant that his squad is on the right track, and that the wins are coming.

“The guys are getting there,” he said after Saturday’s loss. “We’re a team that’s only been together for maybe two and a half, three months, so we’ve got to keep learning.”

Although they came away empty-handed, York9 put in arguably their best shift yet in the 905 Derby at York Lions Stadium. For the first time in CPL play, the Nine Stripes had more shots than their opponent (20 to Forge’s 13). They also had the edge in possession, bitten by Forge on the counter-attack for the first goal and then later off a corner kick.

Now, York9 need to start finishing their chances. Simon Adjei probably could’ve done better on a couple of his sniffs at goal, and it feels like Rodrigo Gattas is getting closer and closer to his first marker from open play.

Brennan points to a few reasons why we haven’t seen the best of his side. He suggests that clubs like Cavalry and FC Edmonton benefit from the core players they had in place prior to this season, while York9 started from scratch this year.

Also, the Nine Stripes have played three of four league games away from home. They’re back on the road now as well, with a visit to Halifax on Wednesday next on the calendar.

“It just keeps coming, all these punches, eh?” Brennan said. “Look, you keep learning as you go along.”

Brennan assured fans that he does see progress in his team. In his mind, they’ve been improving over the past month and will continue to do so.

“This league, it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon,” he stressed. “We’re starting to get our identity of who we are, I’m not worried about the guys that we have in that dressing room.”

“We’ve got a lot of experience in that dressing room. We’ve got a lot of young guys as well that are making their debuts in the pro game, but everybody’s working with each other, everybody’s helping each other along, we’re sticking to our guns and we’re alright.”

So, should York9 fans be similarly confident? Well, they’re only three points back of Pacific FC’s respectable fourth place, so they’re hardly stuck at the bottom. Still, time is running out in the Spring season: Cavalry are way ahead, a perfect 5-0 now halfway through the first campaign.

At this point, what the Nine Stripes need is to settle into Brennan’s systems and become the well-oiled machine he wants them to be. Step one, of course, will be beating HFX Wanderers on May 29 (6:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. AT, on OneSoccer).