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York United Preseason 2024

Liga MX Looms For York United’s Preseason Plans

By on March 17, 2024 0 1031 Views

Martin Nash’s third season at the helm of York United will be his first under its new ownership, who will be taking the Nine Stripes down south for preseason.

Much like Atletico Ottawa, the Canadian Premier League side will be heading for Mexico, where they’ll play their fifth and sixth preseason matches against Liga MX giants Tigres UANL and CF Monterrey during the FIFA international break – a moment in time that will allow both Mexican sides to field their first teams.

“It’ll be a very good challenge,” says Club President Ricardo Pasquel, who has kept in close touch with their preseason opposition’s sporting directors. “They’ll be very good matches for us.”

The high-profile opposition will be in midseason Clausura form, allowing York United to test itself against similar opposition to which reigning CPL champions Forge faced in Concacaf Champions Cup action just one month ago.

Speaking of their 905 rivals, both clubs faced eachother in a behind-closed-doors match this weekend. It marked York United’s fourth preseason match, with the Nine Stripes having faced League1 Quebec champions CS St-Laurent, perennial League1 Ontario heavyweights Vaughan Azzurri, and a Toronto FC II side in a scrimmage attended by John Herdman himself.

York United Mauro Eustaquio
Photo Credit: David Chant

While we don’t know the result of the Forge match, York United’s goalkeeper contingent of Eleias Himaras and Thomas Vincensini kept clean sheets throughout the prior three matches, with striker Austin Ricci tallying a goal in all three of those games. The new-look Nine Stripes have hit the ground running with a flurry of new additions joining the return core, though head coach Martin Nash still has his eye on few more additions.

“We are real close, but we do have a few places left. We’re taking our time to really evaluate this group that we have and how we can make it better,” says the gaffer. “I think we’re in a really good place now. A few final tinkerings, and we’re there.”

From day one, new Club President Ricardo Pasquel has pushed for the club to aim directly for a championship title in his first year as an owner, and that’s an aspiration that Nash – a four-time league winner in his playing days – thinks is the right attitude.

“I think if you don’t have that kind of ambition and that drive, than you really shouldn’t be in it, right? We feel we’ve got a good squad that that can compete for a championship.”

The head coach has made some strong additions to the squad, starting with a reshaped back line that includes fringe Canadian international Frank Sturing, a Chilean top flight veteran in Juan Cordova, and some key Mexican reinforcements in Orlando Botello and Oswaldo Leon. The midfield had seen some intriguing additions in the likes of Liechtenstein international Dennis Salanovic and Monterrey loanee Josue Martinez, with Nash specifying that a lot of thought process went in to those new hires.

York United Orlando Botelo
Photo Credit: David Chant

“We recruit for a system – we recruit players that suit the way we want to play. We always want to have a few different formations in mind, but the way we want to play is going to be consistent. We think we’ve done a good job on that. We had a great core that we’ve kept, and we have quality that we’ve built around it.”

While it’s unclear what further roster additions could come in, one big question mark regards a possible outbound player lies in Osaze De Rosario: rumours from down south tip him towards a move to Tacoma, and he wasn’t present with the squad at the kit launch. He’s still a York United player on paper right now, however, and any move elsewhere for the under-contract striker would result in York United getting something for him – most recently, word is that it’d be a sizable sell-on clause.

While Moses Dyer is set for a shock return for the CPL, we’ve also confirmed that his destination isn’t York United – which leaves Nash likely in need of a new attacker should Osaze depart.

York United Martin Nash
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Nash also reflected on the prior season, where the club qualified for playoffs despite a mountain of uncertainty as the they sought out a new owner. He reflected that there was period where things felt ‘directionless’, but felt that while being left on an proverbial island was tough, it ultimately helped the squad grow in different ways.

“Now, we’re helping build the culture of a club that was somewhat lost during that, and there’s a lot of positives happening now and the players are seeing that we’re moving in a great direction as a club. It’s exciting.”

With York United now four games deep into preseason camp with two big tests in Mexico coming up, the expectation for success is clear: right from the top, this is a club aiming to cement a new status for itself as a real title contender, rather than one that only sometimes squeezes through to playoffs.

With most of the assembling done, it’s now time for Nash and his new-look Nine Stripes to make it happen.

Header Image Photo Credit: David Chant

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