York United claimed all three points on Pride Night on Friday as a late winner was enough for them to defeat visitors Atlético Ottawa 2-1 at York Lions Stadium for a fifth consecutive match undefeated.
With a number of absences in the squad, York boss Martin Nash had to shuffle the deck somewhat as Paris Gee slotted into central midfield alongside Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, who made his first start after an injury very early in the season. Austin Ricci, meanwhile, lined up behind Osaze De Rosario as a number 10. Ottawa, meanwhile, went with the 4-5-1 setup that has been very successful under Carlos González, with former York player Noah Verhoeven starting against his former club.
Atleti nearly opened the scoring just under five minutes in as Miguel Acosta surged through several lines of defence on his own, weaving his way into the box and at last squaring sideways for Zach Verhoven, but Verhoven’s shot was denied by the goalpost and York were spared an early deficit.
Verhoven would, however, find some redemption in short order: just three minutes after hitting the post, the ball came to him out on the left wing outside the box. He took a couple of touches and unleashed a rocket with his right foot, putting the ball in the top right corner for a dazzling opening marker.
York, however, would not trail for long. In the 24th minute, right-back Jonathan Grant brought down a long ball out on the flank. He drifted a cross into the box intended for De Rosario, but it skipped fortuitously off the head of Ottawa defender Luke Singh and in to level the score.
The latter part of the half continued with chances on both sides, but the best one came five minutes before halftime; the ball dropped for Ottawa’s Ollie Bassett just outside the box and he attempted a shot from distance, but his well-taken strike hit the post and bounced to safety.
As the second half progressed, York seemed to find more of a foothold in the game and had a number of opportunities — including one cross to De Rosario who just couldn’t quite get the right angle on his redirection to open his account for the year. Ottawa, though, nearly reclaimed the lead in the 68th minute as it was Ollie Bassett who again struck from distance and hit the goalpost.
In the end, though, the hosts York had the last laugh. They won a corner near the 80th minute and Gagnon-Laparé whipped in the left-footed cross, which came to De Rosario who, at last, scored his first of the 2023 campaign.
From there, the hosts did well to see out the final few minutes professionally, holding on for a massive 2-1 victory.
8′ — Zach Verhoven (Atlético Ottawa)
24′ — Luke Singh (Atlético Ottawa) (Own Goal)
80′ — Osaze De Rosario (York United)
43′ — Yellow: Austin Ricci (York United)
51′ — Yellow: Zach Verhoven (Atlético Ottawa)