Niko Giantsopoulos helped secure York United FC’s win over Pacific FC

York United FC goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos in Langford, British Columbia
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LANGFORD, BC – Niko Giantsopoulos came up big for York United FC with two critical saves to keep his team in the Canadian Championship. It was an impressive win as they were facing the defending North Star Shield champions, Pacific FC.

Niko Giantsopoulos played a big role in York United FC’s win

Three keys to the game

First half

Pacific started the game strong with Josh Heard missing the target in the eighth minute. Didic made some good movement to get to the cross from Luca Ricci to put the ball into the back of the net. This goal showed the pressure the Pacific was applying for the first 22 minutes of the game.

Marco Bustos’s shot was off-target in the 22-minute. Lowell Wright’s shot was deflected in the 25-minute and was out for a corner. Then, Diyaeddine Abzi delivered a great cross to Roger Thompson to tie the game. This was very similar to the first goal scored by Pacific.

This was also the first moment of pressure from York United FC. Pacific FC goalkeeper, Callum Irving, was forced to make a save in the 32-minute. As a result, in the 31-minute, Osaze De Rosario scored as he connected with Wright’s cross to take the lead.

Josh Heard stole the ball and wins the ball in the 34-minute for Pacific FC. York’s Dominick Zator got a yellow card in the 35-minute. Gianni Dos Santos did not look like he was getting there. Bustos’s shot just missed the target in the 39-minute. Bustos almost scored in the 41-minute.

Second half

De Rosario shot missed to the left. Pacific almost tied the game in the 58-minute, but the shot just missed the target. Pacific is really pressing, getting three shots off from the 57 to the 60-minute of play. Callum Irving got the ball in the 69-minute. Niko Giantsopoulos got to the ball in the 71-minute. Pacific was pressing all of the second half.  Daniels’s shot deflected and went to York’s goalkeeper. Osario’s header was off-target in the 78-minute. Daniels got a yellow card on a tackle on Zator in the 78-minute. Bustos cross on goal did not beat York’s goalkeeper.

Pacific was pressing hard, but it looked like it was going to end in a York win in regular time. However, Didic once again stepped up and put the shot in the bottom corner in the 90+7-minute time. This goal means that the game would go to penalties. In the penalty shootout, York United FC really stepped up, they only missed one penalty out of five. More notably, Niko Giantsopoulos, York’s goalkeeper, really played well. He made two penalty saves and secured York’s first-ever place in the Canadian Championship semi-finals (2022 Canadian Championship).

Game Summary – Niko Giantsopoulos stepped up

Pacific FC had the better start, but it was York United FC who came up victorious. It was an exciting game, with lots of twists and turns throughout the game. Pacific was the favourites to advance as they are the defending North Star Shield champions.

York will now face either Cavalry FC or the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Canadian Championship. Both teams have comes coming up though in the Canadian Premier League. York will host Cavalry FC on May 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET. They will then play in Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET against the HFX Wanderers FC.

This is while Pacific FC will host Valour FC at 7:00 p.m. ET on May 28. They will then travel to the nation’s capital to face Atletico Ottawa on June 5 at 1:00 p.m. ET. All Pacific and York games can be watched live on OneSoccer and Telus.

Three Takeaways:

Niko Giantsopoulos was the player of the game. Giantsopoulos made two big saves in the penalty shootout to win the game for York United FC. He also made a big save in the second half in the 58-minute. It is also the second-straight Canadian Championship game won in penalties, with the previous one against Atletico Ottawa.

York United FC got positive results from Starlight Stadium. York played two games against the defending North Star Shield champions on the road. They got a scoreless draw on May 20 and now come up with their first-ever Canadian Championship berth.

Amer Đidić late heroics should be mentioned. Pacific’s Đidić was a noteworthy player for Pacific FC. He scored two goals in the game, including the last shot of regular time, which made the game go to a penalty shootout.

Photo Credit: James MacDonald/CPL on May 24, 2022.