Five Things We Learned From York United’s Meet-And-Greet
Wednesday night saw York United host fans and ticket holders at an event in downtown Toronto, where Ricardo Pasquel, Martin Nash, and Eoin O’Callaghan talked about the upcoming season while unveiling some of what’s been going on behind the scenes.
Without further ado, here’s five things we learned from the event:
Three Positions Left To Fill
With York United seeing Niko Giantsopoulos decline the club’s contract offers, the biggest to-do on Martin Nash’s list is a goalkeeper. The club secured the return of Elias Himaras, but who the clubs lands to be his competition might go a long way in how the club performs this season.
Nash is also looking at another centre-back, though it’s fair to say the offseason additions of Oswaldo Leon and Frank Sturing seem quite a pairing. They’ve also got Noah Abatneh there, who Nash is expecting to get good minutes after the youngster worked on his physicality this offseason.
The third position he’s seeking is a winger: while Clement Bayiha and Kevin Dos Santos did well on the flanks, the latter looks set for an intra-league move elsewhere. Nash will want someone potent on the wing if they’re to complete the positional set.
The CF Monterrey Signings Are Official
We had revealed that York United brought in two CF Monterrey U-23 products the morning before the event, both of whom were actually present as ‘surprise’ reveals at the meet and greet – sorry about that timing, Nashy!
Having been unveiled to fans, Rayados U-23 prospect Orlando Botello will give Martin Nash some good versatility. While we described him as a midfielder previously, it sounds like he actually operates in more of a left-back role who can push upwards. Having already tallied over 100 appearances split between the youth sides of Liga MX teams and first teams in Expansion MX, he’s quite an interesting addition for the Nine Stripes.
Joining him is midfielder Josue Martinez, a longtime CF Monterrey academy product who has progressed through the youth levels all the way to the U-23 level after helping win the Concacaf U-17 Boys Championship with Mexico.
All-told, they’re intriguing additions helped brought in by Jorge Villalpando, who the club jokes is always on his phone making things happen in his new role as technical and sporting director.
The club formally announced the two signings on Friday, who arrive on season-long loans from CF Monterrey.
Higher Expectations For Attackers
It’s no secret that York United’s attacking line struggled to find consistent goals last season, and that’s something Nash expects to improve in 2024.
While Osaze De Rosario tallied six goals by the season’s end, half of those came in the final month of action following his midseason ban for unintentionally ingesting an edible. Nash surmises the impending ban had mentally impacted him on the pitch prior, but with the chip off his shoulder he’s now expecting to see a return to the double-digit form we saw two years ago.
Austin Ricci will return after tallying three goals, while Nash says Brian Wright’s two-goal haul didn’t reflect that he ‘did a lot of good things’, expressing faith that the former Atletico Ottawa striker will have more success this year.
Season Ticket News, Matchday Experiences (And Their Prices) Still To Come
While other clubs been selling season and single matchday tickets, York United hasn’t exactly come out of the gate yet – and there’s a few reasons behind the late start, even taking the club’s offseason sale into account.
Firstly, say the club, ownership is pressing York University to make gains in the matchday experience for York Lions Stadium. Ricardo Pasquel says they’re pushing the university ‘as hard as they can’ to improve things at YLS, though it remains to be seen what is being pitched to improve the Nine Stripes’ home vibes.
The club is also considering moving the supporters’ section to the stadium proper rather than a safe-standing section at the pitch’s end, with Section 800 being earmarked for the possible move – though right now, they’ve only just pitched the idea to supporters’ group members present at the event to gauge their feedback.
The club says it is ‘nearly there’ when it comes to season ticket news, pending what all happens with their improvements for matchday experiences. The unsaid expectation? We’d guess prices are going up.
Away Day At Atletico?
The York United supporters’ groups had asked for club support in organizing a bus to the nation’s capital when the 2024 Canadian Premier League season kicks off, and while there wasn’t an affirmative yes, there was a wink, nudge, and a ‘check back later’.
We expect the affair to be a spicy one, particularly after a last-gasp goal by Kevin Dos Santos saw York United snatch the final playoff spot from Atletico Ottawa last year.
York United will have had preseason under its belt by then, and while the club remained coy on the plans for that, there were a few hints dropped that the team will fly to Mexico in the near future – though the finer details of preseason are still being worked out.
This will mark the first season that the Pasquel brothers will be at the helm of York United, and it remains to be seen how things go: all three appear all-in on the Nine Stripes, who have typically endured rollercoaster seasons with varying levels of success.
There’s still several details for the upcoming season to hammer out, with news of season ticket packages – and their prices – hopefully coming soon.
Header Image Photo Credit: York United FC