Preview – York United vs FC Edmonton will take place tomorrow. However, York United have a problem: they can’t score in the first half.
They have struggled to score in general in the league this season, but an Oliver Minatel header during a 2-0 win over Calvary in late April stands as their only first-half goal 11 games into the season.
This issue was particularly prominent in their last two games: a 3-1 loss to Valour and a 2-1 loss against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship. In both games, it was scoreless going into halftime.
York United vs FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium
York United lose at home to Valour
Against Valour, the Nine Stripes looked the better team at halftime. Max Ferrari was noticeably dangerous going down the right flank: within two minutes he set up Osaze De Rosario at the back post, who was denied by the keeper.
When Valour went ahead in the 52-minute, York was able to respond quickly: De Rosario finished off a counter-attack a minute later. A 72-minute header from Moses Dyer really took the wind out of York’s sails and from there, the game was out of their reach.
Valour has since extended their lead in sixth place over York to five points with a win over Forge on Wednesday.
Could this game prove to be a turning point?
Tomorrow’s trip to the Clarke Stadium in Edmonton could prove to be a massive turning point for York. If they aren’t able to at least get a draw against the worst team in the league, it would represent a new low. They have been riddled with injuries and of course, recently suffered the departure of their best player, Diyaeddine Abzi.
They have 11 points to last-placed Edmonton’s 7, but the Eddies have a game in hand. A loss would allow Edmonton to overtake York in the standings with a win in their extra game.
However, this game is also an opportunity for them to turn their season around. It is an opportunity to get their second league win. It will be a matchup of the league’s worst offence and the league’s worst defence.
According to FotMob, Edmonton concedes the most goals per match, with an average of 1.9. That is .6 more than the next worst team, Pacific and 1.1 more than York, who lead with 0.8.
The Eddies have also only kept two clean sheets all season, although one was in a 1-0 home win against Ottawa less than two weeks ago. York actually sits third in the league in big chances created with 15, meaning they are creating offence, just not finishing their chances. If there was a time for them to start being more clinical in the final third, it is now.
Matchup preview: York United vs FC Edmonton
As mentioned, Edmonton has struggled heavily defensively this season. They haven’t offered much going forward, also ranking amongst the bottom of the league in goals per 90 and big chances created.
Of their twelve goals on the season, Montreal native Wesley Timoteo has a hand in nearly half. The 22-year-old, who is on loan from Halifax, has two goals and three assists.
After scoring his first goal since April last week, York winger Osaze De Rosario will look to build on his good form. He had the lone goal for The Nine Stripes last time they faced Edmonton: a 1-1 draw away from home on Matchday 2. In his first CPL season, De Rosario has been the club’s offensive dynamo, scoring four goals and providing an assist.
Despite how good De Rosario has been this season, Captain Dominick Zator believes the team must not be reliant on any individual and learn to play more as a collective.
In an interview with the team website, he said:
“I think in order for us to actually move forward and get wins we have to play with more cohesion. We have to play more collectively as a unit and I think this week we’re going to be working towards that.”
Building chemistry is always difficult when the team sheet rarely stays the same each week. Tomorrow’s match against Edmonton will not only offer a chance at three points but also more time with the ball and thus more time to work as a unit. York must use this game as a launching pad to success in the second half of the season.