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York United Molham Babouli

Preview: York United Ready For ‘Tooled Up’ Vancouver FC

By on April 26, 2024 0 766 Views

The third Canadian Premier League matchweek kick offs tonight with two clubs that have experienced very contrasting starts this year: hosts York United still sit on zero points after having been a playoff-caliber team last year, while Vancouver FC sit perched atop the table despite finishing seventh just some six months ago.

The Nine Stripes have the historical edge in the match, winning four of their five previous meetings – and two of their three home games. These sides have never let a match fizzle out to a draw against one another, so there could be some fireworks at York Lions Stadium tonight.

Here’s a few key elements to watch out for:

Vancouver FC Moses Dyer
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC

‘Tooled Up’ Vancouver Looking Dangerous In League

Vancouver FC will enter the match on top of the table and with the most goals scored, so the home side is in for a fight as it seeks to gets on the board for 2024. With York having suffered some tough home form in 2023, York United boss Martin Nash knows his opposition will come in hungry and capable.

“They’ve started really well, they’re very organized. They’ve got two very good and active frontmen, Gabi Bitar who’s finding good pockets. They’ve got good size for set pieces – they’ve kind of got a bit of everything, they’ve really tooled up this year,” said the Nine Stripes gaffer. “They’re going to be a very good team in this league. It’s not going to be an easy game, so we’ve got to look at ways we can try to hurt them.”

Forward Austin Ricci was in lethal preseason form and scored the opening goal of the season against Atletico Ottawa, though it looks like Brian Wright – who has two goals in 31 appearances for the side – will get the nod to start up top, with Ricci settling out on the left.

Vancouver FC Kadin Chung
Photo Credit: Tony Lewis

Both Sides Carrying Some Knocks

Vancouver will be missing full-back Kadin Chung, who suffered a nasty-looking ankle injury in the club’s midweek cup match against Cavalry. He left the pitch without the ability to weight-bear on the injured joint, sparking concerns of a long-term injury.

“It was such a vicious tackle that we all saw, and if you saw the cleat marks on top of his foot, it was quite scary,” said Ghotbi, who sent the defender back to Vancouver for x-rays. “We think it’s not as serious as it looked, so we’re hoping he’ll be back very quickly.”

The club hasn’t flown out any dept replacements, so expect the same selection we saw against Cavalry, with James Cameron stepping in to start. That means no return for Elliot Simmons either, who had also picked up a nasty ankle injury in preseason.

York United’s boss seemed to imply that players like Oswaldo Leon, Frank Sturing, and Matthew Baldisimo will remain sidelined, while it’s unclear if Juan Cordova and Brem Soumaoro – previously described as being set for ‘imminent return’ – will actually be available.

“We’re maybe getting one or two guys back in the next few days. We’re getting fitter, but not quite where we’d like to be right now,” says Martin Nash, keeping his cards close to his chest.

York United Martin Nash
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Nash Wants Action, Not Talk

The York United gaffer had demanded his side to show more urgency last week, and called for more discipline after a disappointing second half gifted rival side Forge FC two ‘naive goals’. It’s the same rhetoric this week, but he’d be the first to say the proof is in the pudding as to how well his words have resonated with the team.

“We know it’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to be organized, we’ve got to be physical, and we’ve got to come with energy,” said the gaffer on tonight’s match. “Those are things that we’ve talked about, but we’ve got to see it on the pitch. It’s great talking about things, but we’ve got to put that product on the field.”

York United FC Attendance
Photo Credit: John Jacques

A Bona-Fide Crowd At Their Backs?

York United’s home opener – their first match under new ownership – procured a crowd of 2,654, which is the largest draw the club has seen in five years. It was a noticeably more boisterous atmosphere, and Nash hopes to see those faces return to the gates Friday night and beyond.

“I thought it was great. It was a great atmosphere, good crowd. I think as a club we’ve made the gameday experience a lot better already, and we’ve got to keep going,” he says.

The visitors also suffered on the road last season, and come in having lost their midweek cup match against Cavalry. While tired legs could be a factor, Ghotbi says his team has the fitness for such a schedule – though he did say they need to learn to cope with road games. Tonight will be a good test for such.


The opening match of the CPL’s third week will kick off at 7:00PM EST / 4:00PM PST. Fans who want to take in York United vs Vancouver FC can do so on OneSoccer, fuboTV, and Tellus Optik Channel 980.

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Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques

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