Whitecaps Stay Patient, Top York In Canadian Championship
The reigning Canadian Championship holders Vancouver Whitecaps found it quite difficult at York Lions stadium against York United. In the end, the MLS side got the job done, defeating York 4-1 to move on after plenty of late drama.
Defeating Vancouver FC in the preliminary round, York made just two changes from their 1-0 defeat to Forge last Friday. Brian Wright and Austin Ricci came in as coach Martin Nash once again moved players around. The pair replaced Brem Soumaoro and Tass Mourdoukoutas.
The Whitecaps, coming off a 3-2 victory at home to Minnesota United on Saturday, rejigged their squad for this midweek tilt. Only four players who started on Saturday remained in the 11 as coach Vanni Sartini managed his players’ minutes.
The first half saw the visitors have the majority of the shots. The problem for them was they hardly tested Nico Giantsopoulos. Perhaps their best chance of the half came 10 minutes before the end: Russell Teibert played a low ball to Ryan Gauld, whose weak effort was easily saved.
It was host side York United who had the best effort of the opening half: A cross into the box found Osaze De Rosario. Unfortunately for the York striker, his header did not have enough direction on it to truly trouble Yohei Takioka.
The Wihjtecaps had 11 shots in the first periods but only two of them were on target. While the possession stats were close (55 to 45 in Vancouver’s favour), the chances all went one way.
York again had a great chance to open the second half: Lassana Faye went for goal off a free kick from distance. He nearly caught out Takioka, but the Whitecaps keeper did enough to stop the ball from going in.
Ultimately, the MLS side did take the lead as the second half progressed. Ali Ahmed got into the box, taking a shot that was saved by Giantsopoulos. The ball fell to Teibert, whose follow-up shot hit the bar and went in off of Elijah Adekugbe.
Ahmed was again giving the York defenders trouble as he found substitute Pedro Vite, whose effort hit the post.
The Whitecaps doubled the lead with 15 minutes to go. Giantsopoulos came out of his goal attempting to clear a long ball. Unfortunately for the York keeper, his header sent straight to Simon Becher, who lobbed him from distance to give his side some breathing room.
The last few minutes of the game saw a flurry if goals in a short period of time: Vite found fellow substitute Levonte Johnson, who did well to toe the ball past an onrushing Giantsopoulos to ice the game.
York would not go empty-handed, however. Taking a quick free kick, Austin Ricci fired from distance, with his low strike beating Takioka to give the home team a consolation goal.
That was the most York would get, as Vancouver did restore their three-goal lead just before the final whistle. Becher was brought down by Soumaoro in the box. Gressel took the ensuing penalty, slotting it down the middle.
That ended the scoring as the Whitecaps progresses to the semifinals. They will have an all-BC affair there, where they will face either Pacific or TSS Rovers. Before then, they will be back to league action on the weekend, taking on Portland Timbers away.
York United will head out west to battle Pacific FC in their next game. Now losers of their last two, the Nine Stripes will strive to change their fortunes soon.