May 20, 2024
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York United Martin Nash

Under New Ownership, York United Ready To Face ‘Super Club’ Atletico Ottawa

By on April 12, 2024 0 815 Views

Both York United and Atletico Ottawa will look to set the tone of their respective campaigns tomorrow, with the action coming after both sides enjoyed intriguing offseasons that have left fans expecting more from each camp.

Recent in the memory will be York United’s pivotal late season win over Atletico Ottawa that, more or less, sealed last year’s final playoff spot for the green-and-blue instead of the red-and-white.

It’s a new year now, though, and it’s time to find out which club will start off on the front foot.

While Atletico Ottawa’s offseason has undoubtedly overshadowed everyone else’s in the league, history still favours the visitors: York United enters the match having recorded the best away record in the league last year, where they continued an exemplary record against Atletico Ottawa overall with three wins and one draw.

In fact, they’ve only lost once against Ottawa in fifteen matches. Day one vibes mean anything is possible, however.

“It is a long offseason and you just wanna get competing for something,” says United’s head coach Martin Nash, who says his players in a good place to attack the year from the front-foot.

The club has, historically, been a fairly chaotic team to watch over the last years: rollercoaster seasons have seen intermittent success with snagging a trailing playoff spot, with the new owners aiming to quickly establish consistency as a big title contender rather than an outlier. Tomorrow will be a good litmus test of that early legwork.

York United Austin Ricci
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Tasked First To Defeat ‘Super Club’ Atletico Ottawa

While York United has one of the most favourable records seen in CPL history against Atletico Ottawa, the capital city club enjoyed an eye-watering offseason that saw players like Manny Aparicio, Amer Didic, Matteo de Brienne, and Ballou Tabla (amongst others) assemble in Ottawa, with many hailing Ottleti as a ‘Super Club’.

That doesn’t bother Nash, who even saw last year’s goalscoring hero Kevin Dos Santos trade green-and-blue for red-and-white, along with veteran defender Jonathan Grant, who they had wanted to keep.

“They’ve made some great signings, all credit to them,” says Nash, who admits they’ve upgrading in a lot of areas. He expects his opposition to come in as an organized squad who can hurt in transition when coming out of a low block, believing it’ll be an interesting matchup – though he preferred to focus on his own team rather than the opposition.

The Nine Stripes have a few knocks described as ‘nothing major’, with Martin still selecting his eighteen-man match roster for the road trip to the nation’s capital. It’s been a transformative offseason for his own camp, with a new-look defense and plenty of intriguing additions highlighted by players like Juan Cordova, Dennis Salanovic, and Frank Sturing.

“We feel this year more than last year – and the year before – that we have more competition in every place, which is something you want. Training sessions are flying and then you know what you’re going to get on the weekend, so no one can take their foot off the gas.”

One area with less depth is the striker position, with Osaze De Rosario recently being sold to Tacoma. Austin Ricci has had quite a preseason, with Nash keeping faith in former Atletico Ottawa striker Brian White, too.

York United Preseason Mexico
Photo Credit: Robert Marchese

A Long Preseason Highlighted By Some Liga MX Flair

The long Canadian offseason was followed by a thorough preseason camp from York United, who embarked on an eight-game prelude to the 2024 CPL season. One big item of note: Austin Ricci has been a goalscoring machine, tallying four from their opening bouts against CS Saint-Laurent, Vaughan Azzurri, Toronto FC II, and Forge before the club departed for Mexico, while he also ended on a high with a brace against the Simcoe County Rovers.

“The vibes are really high,” adds the always-energetic Max Ferrari. “The past eleven weeks has been nothing but positive stuff. We’ve been waiting and preparing for this game on Saturday, and obviously the ownership has come in – it gives us players and everyone around this club a boost.”

The club’s time in Mexico – a move prompted by the new ownership – proved fruitful, with the team squaring up against Liga MX giant Tigres and falling to a slim one-nil loss, with the Rayados U-23 match finishing scoreless. More than that, it was also a camp that bonded new faces together ahead of Year One under the Pasquel brothers.

“I think it was such a positive experience,” reflects returning midfielder Elijah Adekugbe. “Going there, we got to meet our owners family and see everything that it means to them. When we get games of that magnitude, as players we understand how serious they are and how much they believe in what we have going on here.”

York’s backline also proved resolute, with preseason ultimately seeing the side hold CS Saint-Laurent, Vaughan Azzurri, Toronto FC II, Rayados U-23, and Scrosoppi FC at bay – a nice indication that Elias Himaras and Thomas Vincensini look like strong selections behind a new-look defense.

York United Owners Pasquel Family
Photo Credit: David Chant

For The Pasquel Brothers, A Lifetime Of Work Has Led Up To This

York United left for the nation’s capital this morning, but new Club President Ricardo Pasquel arrived there last night. Keen to see his recently-acquired team get off on the right foot, he wanted to be present in the city to welcome the team bus when it arrives and make sure everything else was set up to go as smoothly as it can.

After purchasing the club with his brothers Eduardo and Miguel last fall, this will be the first true litmus test to see if their investment can match the championship heights he’s targeted for them, and he’s not shying away from his feelings ahead of the big day:

“It’s a pretty emotional week all around. I had a little chit-chat with the players regarding the first week of the season to make sure the players are aware we have to enter the full season mode,” says Ricardo on the occasion. “There’s a bunch of emotions all around, but I’m confident we’re going to go to Ottawa and put in a good game.”

York United’s sixth season will be its third under head coach Martin Nash, and the expectations for success have perhaps never been bigger: under new ownership and with a strong preseason behind them, the tone has been set. With the strongest away record in the league, the match against an eye-watering Atletico Ottawa roster tomorrow will be a must-watch for fans of Canadian Soccer.

Fans can tune into the Canadian Premier League season opener on OneSoccer, fuboTV, or Telus Channel 980. Atletico Ottawa and York United will kick off at 1:00PM EST.

Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques

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