The opponent was set for York9 FC with a berth in the Canadian Championship on the line. York9 FC welcomed the Montreal Impact to York Lions Stadium with the meeting being their first big test against MLS opposition.
The Starting XI for York9 was a familiar one. Nathan Ingham started in goal as he has for every York9 match this season, and it’s hard to say that he hasn’t proven to be the first name on the team sheet week in and week out. Gasparotto and Thompson reunite in the centre of defence hoping to tame the dangerous Montreal attack. Abzi and Doner flank the centre backs as they have for every match this season. Di Chiara, Aparicio and Murofushi were tasked with keeping Krolicki and Piette quiet, putting in tough tackles, and playing the ball out wide for Telfer and Porter. Adjei reclaimed his starting spot for this match and played as a lone striker.
The game got off on the right foot for York9, as they commanded possession for the Lion’s share of the first half. If we’re being completely honest, the First Half was akin to the first round of a boxing match with both teams jabbing at each other and sizing the other up. Joe Di Chiara was one of the standout players in the first half. His tough-tackling ways looked to be frustrating the Montreal midfield as they really weren’t sure how to deal with the imposing midfield man. The injuries that saw him miss a few of the Spring League matches seem to be behind him, and this is great news for Jim Brennan’s squad. His effectiveness in shutting down the Canadian International, Piette, was exemplary and created a bit more space for the likes of Telfer and Porter.
Kyle Porter was able to use this space to skip past Omar Browne, but the ensuing free kick flashed by the front of goal without a York9 foot making contact. This was only one of a handful of York9 chances which worried Diop’s goal, but regardless of the pressure, the first half ended nil-nil.
As we began the second half, it was apparent that the speed of the match had picked up considerably. Montreal looked to impose themselves on the lower-league York9, but every chance Montreal had was met by an equally dangerous York9 attempt. Specifically, Ryan Telfer and Diyaeddine Abzi, who has proven to be a diamond in the rough for York9. His runs up the left-side rival those of some of the best left-backs in the MLS which we believe bodes well for his future as a footballer with York9 or beyond. Telfer’s pace was starting to cause a few problems for the Montreal backline, but it was the York9 backline with a lapse in judgement that would break the deadlock. An attempted header back to the goalkeeper by Luca Gasparotto left Nathan Ingham in no man’s land as Omar Browne tapped in for the first goal of the match.
York9 was not fazed. The introduction of Rodrigo Gattas in the 73rd minute seemed to inject the creativity needed to break through. Seven minutes after Gattas coming on, he played a well-weighted ball through to Ryan Telfer who took one touch and let go a laser into the back of the net which Diop had no chance saving. The match was once again, all square.
The substitute was again involved in the second York9 goal, which saw Gattas in the right place at the right time at the back post for a tap-in which sent the Generation IX behind the goal into a frenzy. The CPL club was up 2-1 on an MLS side who were doing relatively well in the top league in North America.
The elation was short-lived as a moment of madness from Nate Ingham gifted the Impact the opportunity to escape York Lions Stadium with a draw. As Urruti was heading away from goal, and almost out of the box, Ingham inexplicably attempted to dispossess the striker by diving at the ball at his feet. Urruti went over and the referee pointed at the spot. Surely this was a minor lapse of judgement for the otherwise stellar Ingham, who has proven to be one of the best goalkeepers in the Canadian Premier League. The 92nd-minute penalty was dispatched by Saphir Taider, and the MLS club has spared its blushes.
That was until Abzi intercepted the ball in midfield and put in a beautiful cross that wasn’t dealt with by Diop. The rebound went right to The Starting XI Man of the Match, Di Chiara, whose header towards an open goal rang against the bar.
The match ended 2-2, but York9 can hold their heads high having given the best performance by the club to date. Close to 5,000 supporters took in the match and saw the level of quality that the Canadian Premier League brings as compared to the MLS.
The second league will be played a Stade Saputo on July 24th.
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