PREVIEW: York United vs. Atlético Ottawa | June 9, 2023
Canadian Premier League

2023 CPL Regular Season — Match #34
York United vs. Atlético Ottawa
June 7, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. ET
York Lions Stadium in Toronto, Ontario
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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It’s another all-Ontario battle in the Canadian Premier League this week, as Atlético Ottawa head west to battle with York United on Friday night in the first match of the weekend.

York return to home turf in good spirits, now sitting third in the league table with a 4-1-4 record and 13 points. They’re unbeaten in their last four games, with just two goals conceded in that stretch. Last week, Martin Nash’s side went to Winnipeg and scraped out hard-fought a 1-1 draw with Valour FC, just days after Brem Soumaoro’s last-minute screamer bagged them a midweek win at Forge FC.

Now, the Nine Stripes will look to bring that good form back home, where they’ve won just once so far this year. The squad has been getting healthier in recent weeks with several key players returning from injury, including Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé who came off the bench in Winnipeg and could be in line to return to the starting XI. The only confirmed absence so far for this game is Lassana Faye, who picked up a fourth yellow card last weekend and will therefore serve a one-match suspension on Friday.

Ottawa, like York, enter this game with some confidence, having finally banked their first home win of 2023 last Saturday with a 2-0 triumph over Halifax Wanderers. With a 2-2-4 record, Atleti find themselves sixth in the table, but just one point back of both Cavalry and Valour in fourth and fifth. So, a win at York could well push Carlos González’s Ottawa team up into the playoff positions this week.

Atleti are also recovering from some prior injury concerns, most notably with club captain Carl Haworth making his way back and coming off the bench in two recent matches. Goalkeeper Nathan Ingham remains the most significant likely absence as he continues to work back from his injury.

There have been plenty of entertaining battles between these two sides in recent memory, with very little to separate them — in fact, eight of their 12 meetings have ended in draws. They met once earlier this season, when York travelled to Ottawa and took a 1-0 win (their first triumph of the year) at TD Place, thanks to Mo Babouli’s free kick goal.

Last time Ottawa were at York Lions Stadium, it was for their neutral venue Canadian Championship matchup with Halifax Wanderers in April. They won that game 3-1 to progress to the quarter-finals in the first match of a doubleheader at the stadium, as York went on to beat Vancouver FC later that same night.

This Friday night game is York United’s Pride Match, in which they’ll be wearing their recently-unveiled Pride jerseys, to be auctioned off in support of Pflag Canada York Region, and Volkswagen Canada will be donating to The 519 for every ticket sold. For more information on the initiative, click here.

All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980. Tous les matchs de l’Atlético Ottawa sont aussi disponibles en français sur OneSoccer.


  • York looking for breakout goalscorer: There’s no denying that York United are on a great run of form right now, but what’s particularly surprising is that they’ve scored 10 goals without a single one of them coming from a striker. Osaze De Rosario and Brian Wright have mostly split duties up front this year, but neither has yet managed to find the net — although both have done well with their hold-up play and chance creation. Martin Nash will nonetheless be hoping at least one of the two gets on the board soon to take the pressure off them; there’s a sense that if De Rosario, in particular, can just score his first, then the floodgates may open again for him as they did last season.


  • Ottawa tough to break down on the road: As was the case last season, Atlético Ottawa have proven to be a bit of a different proposition when they play away from home. In three games away from TD Place, they’ve conceded just three goals. Atleti have typically been a very difficult team to play through when they set up in a block, as they may well do at York this week; the Nine Stripes will have to find a way to play through that, which may require some vertical, direct attacking play. Thankfully for York, Austin Ricci in particular thrives in that sort of game plan, so perhaps this could be another tailor-made game for him on the wing. Still, expect Ottawa to look for their own counter-attacking opportunities if they can frustrate York’s attack.


  • York back four continues evolving: Earlier in the season, with his side facing a litany of injuries especially in defence, Martin Nash several times fielded a backline with Jonathan Grant and centre-back and Paris Gee at right-back. Both players have quite consistently remained in the team since then, but recently there’s been one significant difference: It’s been Grant out wide with Gee in the middle for the past two games. Gee first moved into the middle when Grant got hurt earlier in the season, and since his return Nash has opted to keep Gee at centre-back because he’s been playing so well there, putting Grant back out wide in his natural position. With other defenders like Tass Mourdoukoutas and Roger Thompson starting to get healthy it’ll be interesting to see whether Nash continues experimenting with his back four, but at the moment both Grant and Gee seem like key pieces.


York United: Giantsopoulos; Grant, Gee, Mourdoukoutas, Ferrari; Gagnon-Laparé, Alou; Ricci, Babouli, Bayiha; De Rosario

Forge FC: Melvin; Ouimette, Espejo, Singh; Assi, Bassett, Acosta, Verhoeven, Tissot; Shaw, Dos Santos


York United wins: 3 || Atlético Ottawa wins: 1 || Draws: 8

Last meeting:

April 29, 2023 — Atlético Ottawa 0-1 York United


“We were able to get three points at their place earlier this year; they caused some problems that we looked at and we’ll try to nullify in this game, but we also were able to cause them a lot of problems. So it’s gonna be a tight match as usual; we’re at home so we’re going to be on the front foot and go for it.” — York United head coach Martin Nash

“[York] are solid and compact. You can see they had a great commitment in defence. And after that, they always have people up front that can solve games. I think this is the type of team York is, and of course we have to control those individuals and control all those details.” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González