By Darnel Harris
With three wins and six goals for York since the Canadian Premier League (CPL) Fall Season started on July 6th, the Nine Stripes are improving quickly. After defeating Edmonton and drawing with Montreal, York was faced with defending home turf against Pacific FC on July 17th. Despite Pacific scoring four goals in their two home matches in Victoria, B.C., both Hamilton and Calgary scored three goals each, sinking Pacific FC to the bottom of the league table.
With games in Calgary and Montreal to consider, alternate keeper Matt Silva started in goal for York. Pacific’s defensive strategy, despite two early misses, allowed York9 to dominate most of the game with nearly sixty percent possession and seven shots on target.
Captain Manuel Aparicio opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a direct strike from thirty meters out which evaded Pacific goalkeeper Nolan Worth’s outstretched glove. Pacific responded in the 66th minute after Alexander Gonzalez and Terran Campbell played through York’s defence and scored their only shot on target. Refusing to be beaten, substitute Simon Adjei restored York’s lead a minute after Pacific’s goal, battling past two defenders and scoring between Worth’s legs from a sharp angle.
After the game, York9’s Coach Jim Brennan praised his team’s depth and character, and sportingly tried to defend Aparicio, who earned his league leading sixth yellow card for taking off his jersey while celebrating his earlier goal. Aparicio promised it was not his aim to become Canada’s most disciplined player. “It’s probably the best goal I’ve ever scored, and my family was in the stands, so (my shirt came off) in the heat of the moment.”
Looking ahead to York9’s Canadian Championship rematch at Stade Saputo in Montreal’s Olympic Park against what is likely to be a full-strength Impact side, Coach Brennan smiled. Having played there while with Toronto FC a decade ago, Brennan noted, “more than anything I’m excited (for York) to showcase what they’ve got and put on a good show on (July 24th).”
On July 21st, York faced Calvary FC in Calgary, and Cavalry won after an early own goal by York defender Luca Gasparotto as he was trying to clear the ball. Despite the error, both teams played well, with only a brilliant 94th minute save by Calvary goalkeeper Marco Carducci preserving a 1-0 victory.
Canadian Championship play resumes Wednesday night, with York9 facing the Montreal Impact (winless in five), and Calvary FC facing the Vancouver Whitecaps (winless in nine). Canadian Premier League fans will be hoping for a historic double MLS knockout, so that York and Calvary will be able to renew their rivalry during the Canadian Championship semi-finals in August.