A thrilling second half at York Lions Stadium delivered a 2-2 draw on Friday night between York United and Atlético Ottawa, as the two sides traded blows the whole way through to ultimately split the points in their fourth match of the season.
After last Sunday’s heavy loss to Valour, Atlético Ottawa reverted to the lineup that worked for them previously, as Ben McKendry returned to midfield and Diego Espejo slotted into the defence. York meanwhile, added Sebastian Gutíerrez to the mix on the wing in place of the injured Max Ferrari.
Unfortunately, though, both sides had to change their plans very shortly into the game. In just the ninth minute, Espejo went down after a collision with teammate Miguel Acosta and had to leave the game, replaced by Abdou Sissoko. Not long after, York suffered a similar blow; Oliver Minatel went down and couldn’t continue in the 21st minute, so coach Martin Nash turned to Mamadou Kane.
The first half was relatively cagey, both sides trying to feel one another out in the early stages, and as a result neither team was able to really threaten the opposing goal. The teams each had one shot on target, but there still weren’t a lot of major chances in the opening 45.
The second half was a different story, though. Ottawa made a swap at halftime to bring in midfielder Chris Mannella in place of Miguel Acosta , as McKendry slotted into the backline. The shifted formation for them paid off almost immediately, as a well-worked move up the left side sent Brian Wright in on goal, and the striker finished well from a difficult angle to make it 1-0.
The visitors’ joy wouldn’t last long, though; just under 15 minutes later, Osaze De Rosario found his way into the box and looked likely to score, but he was chopped down by an Ottawa defender. The referee pointed to the spot immediately, and it was De Rosario who took the penalty himself — and he buried it to make it 1-1, and to score his third goal in as many games for York.
York controlled proceedings for prolonged stretches over the final half hour, generating some decent chances — including one cutback from Lowell Wright that Isaiah Johnston couldn’t quite finish — but they couldn’t find the breakthrough.
Eventually, it would be Ottawa to strike next. Ballou Tabla, drifting high up the pitch, pounced on an errant back pass by Diyaeddine Abzi and went through on goal alone before finishing with a nice shot to beat Niko Giantsopoulos and make it 2-1.
Things would soon get even worse for the Nine Stripes, with Cedric Toussaint getting caught up in a challenge and stepping on Chris Mannella, prompting referee Filip Dujic to show him a red card. York, however, were not done yet. Deep into stoppage time after the 90th minute, the hosts won a free kick just outside the box.
Noah Verhoeven sent a low ball in from the set-piece, and it ultimately fell at the feet of Dominick Zator, who turned well and scooped it in with his right foot to send the home crowd into a frenzy with the equalizer.
51′ — Brian Wright (Atlético Ottawa)
64′ — Osaze De Rosario (York United) (PK)
86′ — Ballou Tabla (Atlético Ottawa)
90+4′ — Dominick Zator (York United)
40′ — Yellow: Diyaeddine Abzi (York United)
63′ — Yellow: Nathan Ingham (Atlético Ottawa)
90+2′ — Red: Cedric Toussaint (York United)
90+3′ — Yellow: Austin Ricci (York United)
90+5′ — Yellow: Maxim Tissot (Atlético Ottawa)