York United became the third club to qualify from the preliminary round into the quarter finals of the 2021 Canadian Championship, after their 5-0 victory against Master’s Futbol Academy (MFA), of League1 Ontario, on Saturday.
Midfielder Max Ferrari was the first to find the back of the net at York Lions Stadium, followed by striker Osvaldo Ramirez, defender Jordan Wilson, and forward Julian Ulbricht who scored two goals in the final minutes of the match.
Jimmy Brennan, coach of the Nine Stripes, was happy not only with the final result, but also with the overall effort put by his players throughout the game.
“We said at the beginning that we had to take control of the game because, specially in one-off games, there can be surprises,” said Brennan during the post-match conference. “We needed to put in a professional performance, and I think all of the team did.”
The Canadian Premier League (CPL) club will now have to face Toronto FC, of Major League Soccer, at BMO Field in a date yet to be announced.
“Having the chance to go against TFC was at the back of our minds, but we had to focus on this game first,” added the coach. “All the players are really looking forward to play at BMO Field, we have a couple who have done it in the past, and others that don’t, but they are all delighted to have the chance to.”
It took less than 10 minutes for the locals to demonstrate that they were the better team, forcing their rivals from Scarborough to stay on their side of the field, but goalkeeper Spiro Koskinas had some good interventions, as well as bit of luck, to block all the balls coming his way.
That was until the last eight minutes of the first half, when Masters’ coach Rick Titus made a surprising substitution, taking Francis Ameyaw out to give Osman Hussein a chance on the attack next to Reshon Phillips. Just one minute after the sub was made, York United found its opening goal thanks to a beautiful dribble from Isaiah Johnston that left Max Ferrari in a great position to score his second goal of the season.
After the match, Titus recognize that taking off Ameyaw with only minutes remaining before the break was a turning point, but he also stated it was necessary for the team to improve.
“Francis is one of our better players for sure, he is one of the fittest and fastest too,” said the head coach. “But sometimes when it is such an important match, your nervous system shuts you down completely, that’s why I did it.”
Only seconds before the referee ended the first 45 minutes, Osvaldo Ramirez scored the second goal for York, and his first in 13 appearances with the team.
Having a more comfortable lead, all the odds were against MFA but, surprisingly, they showed a completely different attitude as soon as they came back on the pitch, having two clear chances in the first five minutes of the second half. The local team seemed confused during that period of time, with keeper Nathan Ingham having a couple of outstanding interventions to keep the clean sheet.
However, York United got their third goal shortly after regaining momentum, with a good header from Jordan Wilson just before the 60-minute mark.
Following that, the game became a copy of the first half, with York constantly putting pressure on MFA’s players to get the ball back as soon as possible. It became evident at that point that there was a significant difference between the levels of both teams, hence the fourth and fifth goals (both scored by sub Julian Ulbricht) came with almost no opposition.
After the game, both coaches agreed that this match was useful for the two teams, allowing them to get a number of positive conclusions.
York United will now try to keep their unbeaten streak in August when they host the HFX Wanderers at the York Lions Stadium on Wednesday for the Canadian Premier League. Meanwhile, Master’s Futbol Academy will play a League1 Ontario game on Saturday, at the Terry Fox Stadium in Brampton, versus 1812 FC Barrie.
NOTES: The Nine Stripes played this game in front of a called attendance of 1102 fans, in what was their first victory at home in nearly a month (July 24, 1-0, against Edmonton). The game versus HFX Wanderers on August 25, will be their first and only home match this month, and the York Lions Stadium won’t see York United FC again until September 15, when they face Atlético Ottawa at 6:30 p.m