The CPL playoff field is set, as York United became the fifth and final team to book a spot in the postseason with a 2-1 win over Vancouver FC at Langley’s Willoughby Community Park on Friday.
Needing a win to secure their qualification, York got the job done off the back of a strong start, scoring two early goals before holding on the rest of the way despite a Vancouver push that saw them score one and threaten for many more.
Because of that, York will now travel to play the fourth place team in midweek to kick off the CPL playoffs, in which they’ll either travel to Halifax, Langford or Hamilton.
As mentioned earlier, fuelled by that desire to book their playoff spot, York came flying out of the gates, nearly pouncing on a wide set-piece in the 3rd minute. There, Mo Babouli picked out the run of Noah Abatneh in the box with a curled cross, but Abatneh would send the ball well over the mark with his header despite being unmarked.
Continuing their early proficiency on set-pieces, York had another look in the 7th minute, this time off a corner, as Babouli found Paris Gee with another curled ball, but Gee’s shot shot sailed right into Callum Irving’s hands in Vancouver’s goal.
Finally, that early pressure would lead to a breakthrough for York in the 17th minute. After some nice interplay down the left side, Kadin Martin-Pereux found Osaze De Rosario with a powerful low cross into the near post, and De Rosario would do the rest, slotting home on his first touch to grab the lead.
At the other end, eager to grab a foothold back in the game, Vancouver had their first look of the game in the 18th minute, as Mikaël Cantave flashed a shot well over the bar from distance. Then, testing his luck once again, Cantave had another look from distance in the 23rd minute, but this time his shot would be right at Niko Giantsopoulos in the York goal.
Having done well to absorb that wave of Vancouver pressure, however, York would respond in the 27th minute, doubling their lead. After a powerful cross into the box form Jonathan Grant, one that Irving did well to palm away, the ball fell to the last guy Vancouver would’ve wanted to see wide-open: De Rosario, who nodded home his second of the match into an empty net.
Not wanting to lie down and let York grab a third, though, Vancouver immediately pushed back the other way in the chase of an opening goal. As a result, Renan Garcia decided to have a shot from distance in the 29th minute, sending it towards the low corner with power, but Giantsopoulos would stand tall to the attempt.
Then, moments later, Alejandro Díaz had an even better chance, as Cantave played him in behind York’s defence with a perfect trivela pass, but Díaz would scuff his shot wide of the target. Soon after, Gabriel Bitar would try his luck on a shot of his own from inside of the box, but he would also be denied by Giantsopoulos.
Eager to find the back of the net, Cantave would have another great look in the 37th minute, doing well to cut inside and fire a shot from a dangerous location, but he’d send his curled shot just over the goal.
Turns out, his persistence would pay off in the 39th minute, as he finally found the back of the net. After a great run from Gabriel Bitar, he found Cantave with a deft through ball, and despite looking like he was potentially offside on his run, Cantave slotted home what would quickly be confirmed as the 2-1 goal despite York’s complaints.
Not done pushing, either, Vancouver continued to press, as well. Because of that, they’d come close to finding an equalizing goal right before half time, as Vasco Fry managed to win the ball in a good area before firing a shot from distance, but his shot flew right into the hands of Giantsopoulos.
On the other side of half time, Vancouver would maintain that push, too.
Through that, they’d get a good chance in the 53rd minute, as Bitar stepped up to take a free kick in a dangerous spot, but he’d curl his shot well over the mark. Then, Cantave then had another shot at goal 63rd minute, sending a powerful shot right into the hands of Giantsopoulos.
Soon after, they had their best chance of the half in the 67th minute, as Cantave and Hundal combined for a nice 1-2 to free up a dangerous shot for Cantave in the York box, but his shot would be blocked by a diving Paris Gee, who laid his body on the line to deny what looked to be a sure goal.
Keeping up the pressure, Vancouver had another good look at goal off another free kick in the 78th minute, with Garcia stepping up to take this time, but his shot would also sail into the hands of Giantsopoulos.
Having finally been able to push the play the other way after the waves of Vancouver pressure, York nearly iced the game in the 87th minute, as Brian Wright had a dangerous look from inside of the box after a Vancouver mistake, but his shot would be nicely saved by Irving.
Then, in the 95th minute, Kévin Dos Santos had a glorious chance to score, as Clément Bayiha found him with a great cross into the box, but despite being left alone in front of Irving’s goal, Santos sent his shot well wide of the mark.
From there, however, despite an onslaught of Vancouver bodies into their box, York would hold on the rest of the way to officially book their spot in the playoffs.
17’ — Osaze De Rosario (York United)
27’ — Osaze De Rosario (York United)
39’ — Mikaël Cantave (Vancouver FC)
4′ — Yellow: Renan Garcia (Vancouver FC)
45′ — Yellow: Austin Ricci (York United)
47′ — Yellow: Kadin Chung (Vancouver FC)
75′ — Yellow: Matthew Baldisimo (York United)
90+3′ — Red (Second Yellow): Austin Ricci (York United)
90+5′ — Yellow: Bench (Vancouver FC)
90+7′ — Yellow: Kévin dos Santos (York United)