York United FC unable to get important win against Halifax

Nine Stripes could not extend lead in fight for playoff spot

Soccer players from York United FC and HFX Wanderers fighting for the possession of the ball
Diyaeddine Abzi (left) and Pierre Lamothe (right) during the CPL game between York United FC and HFX Wanderers York United FC/David Chant

Canadian Premier League’s tight schedule seems to be finally affecting York United’s performance on the pitch.

The team struggled more than necessary to keep themselves from losing to HFX Wanderers at York Lions Stadium on Saturday, and wound up with a 0-0 draw at the end.

This was the Nine Stripes’ ninth game in a month (between CPL and Canadian Championship), meaning they’ve been playing an average of every three days. Matchday 19 was also the third time they faced the Halifax team in that same period of time, with all of them ending in draws.

Coach Jimmy Brennan recognized his team was not fit.

“We looked tired today, because we had a lot of back to back games,” said Brennan during the post-game presser. “When we did get to the final third of the pitch, we were lacking that bit of energy we had in the last couple of matches.”

The home team, currently holding the final playoff spot, seemed surprised from the start by Wanderer’s proposition, with forward Cory Bent taking advantage of his speed to constantly break the offside trap.

At the sideline, Brennan and part of his coaching staff were visibly frustrated, as York was only able to generate two clear chances in the first 30 minutes. The gaffer took advantage of the water break to change the team’s face, allowing them to become the better team for the last part of the first half.

However, after halftime the story seemed to repeat itself.

Halifax dominated a great part of the second half, pushing all of their lines forward and putting a lot of pressure on United’s players who, once again, began to feel the fatigue. Such a difficult scenario hurried up the York changes of Sebastian Gutierrez and Alvaro Rivero, for Michael Petrasso and Nicholas Hamilton.

These substitutions gave the team some fresh air, with the incoming players having much more mobility against Wanderers defence.

The extra space generated by Petrasso and Hamilton allowed Max Ferrari to show why he has been part of the last couple of CPL teams of the week all. The Canadian midfielder had up to three clear chances to score, but the entire defensive block of HFX reacted well to keep the clean sheet.

United’s momentum following the changes lasted until the very last second of the match when, after a free kick, Dominick Zator almost scored from a header.

York’s side cannot afford to spend more time lamenting giving away two points at home, as they have to focus on Wednesday’s clash when they visit Toronto FC for the Canadian Championship.

“It’s a big opportunity for every player in the team, plus going to BMO Field is a special feeling,” said Zator. “We are going all for it and, hopefully, we will bring back a positive result for the club.”

NOTES: With this result, the Nine Stripes continue an unbeaten streak of five games (three draws and two wins) … Goalkeeper Nathan Ingham has managed to keep a clean sheet for the third game in a row.

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Posted: Sep 18 2021 5:56 pm
Filed under: Soccer Sports