As the Canadian Premier League's 2022 season reaches the midway point for most teams, the faculty at CanPL.ca have seen fit to evaluate each club's first half of the campaign. All five panelists have assigned a letter grade to every side for their body of work so far, with some advice and areas for improvement for the remaining half of the year as well. Two report cards will be released per day over the course of this week. Up next: York United FC. To see report cards for other clubs, click here.
York United FC
Record so far: 2W, 5D, 7L (11 points)
First Half Summary:Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic: A year after making the playoffs for the first time, it’s been night-and-day for York in 2022, as they’ve tumbled towards the bottom of the table so far this season. After lighting the league alight with dynamic offensive talents who could change games, they’ve struggled to have the same impact this year, scoring just seven goals in 14 games. Plus, currently on a drought that has seen them score just one goal in their past nine games, there hasn’t been any signs of that getting better anytime soon. The talent is there between the likes of Lowell Wright, Osaze De Rosario, Lisandro Cabrera and Isiah Johnston, but it just hasn’t clicked, something that won’t be easy in the wake of Diyaeddine Abzi’s departure. The good news? York’s defence has mostly been excellent this year, with their core defensive group of Dominick Zator, Chrisnovic N’Sa, Jordan Wilson and Niko Giantsopoulos really stepping up big for the side on several occasions. GRADE: C Benedict Rhodes: After coming in with high expectations, the start of Martin Nash's tenure as York United boss hasn't been easy. Hit hard by injuries and absences, they have just two victories from their first 14 matches, and are winless since the start of May. They have found goals extremely hard to come by, but the biggest positive is that their defensive record remains one of the best. GRADE: C- Charlie O'Connor-Clarke: The optimism with which York United entered the 2022 season has largely dissipated in the past couple of months, with result after result not going their way. At time of publishing, they've lost three in a row, and they've gone winless in their last nine contests. Over that period, they've scored just one goal. Earlier in the season, when the attack still wasn't quite clicking, a well-structured defence made up for inefficiencies and allowed York to hold opponents to draws, but recent leaks in the backline have turned more of those potential 0-0 or 1-1 draws into decisive losses. They've had memorable moments, especially in the Canadian Championship, but consistently putting the ball in the net is a problem. Injuries and suspensions have battered this team as well (in some games they've had almost no bench available), but the prevailing emotion is one of frustration from a side that just hasn't quite put it together yet. GRADE: D+ Kristian Jack: York rushed out to a positive start with eight points from the first five games and a defence that looked like they were the best in the league. What has followed has been a dramatic fall in form coupled with an inability to score goals and a large number of key injuries. When they score first they are unbeaten (2 wins, 1 draw) but too often they are not finishing chances they create and a nine-game winless run has seen them score just one goal. GRADE: D Mitchell Tierney: The mood has not been great in the home locker room at York Lions Stadium of late. Coming off a year where their young group were a pleasant surprise, making the playoffs, they sit nine points out of the top four now, and just a single point out of last place at the halfway point of 2022. Injuries to Roger Thompson, Oliver Minatel, Martin Graiciar, Michael Petrasso, Austin Ricci and William Wallace certainly haven’t helped matters. Things have gone from bad to worse in recent weeks, they have scored just once in nine matches. But now they have started to look shaky defensively as well, conceding eight times through their last three matches. GRADE: D
Second Half Outlook:Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic: It can’t really get much worse than this for York, so that’s the good news. Plus, having gone on a nice little run in the Canadian Championship, that does show that York does have some magic within their side to tap into. Plus, as a young group, it does feel like a lot of their youngsters have another step to take, without mentioning all the injuries they’ve dealt with. So while they’ll be in tough to make the playoffs, it feels like better things are on the horizon for York, who we have to remember is less than a year into the Martin Nash era, meaning that progress should be coming soon for them. Benedict Rhodes: There's plenty of time left in the season. Scraping into a very competitive top four for the second year in a row looks somewhat unlikely, but if York's forwards can start turning some of their many chances into goals, their defence will always give them a chance to win games. Charlie O'Connor-Clarke: The top four might be a little out of reach -- though not impossible -- but York will nonetheless be desperate to show improvement. Reinforcements are beginning to arrive this month with the likes of Kratt, Mourdoukoutas, and Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio, but they'll also need to get healthier, and quickly. Losing Diyaeddine Abzi -- while a good thing in the big picture for both club and player -- stings a bit in the short-term, as York have yet to replicate his dynamism in the fullback position. Still, as Max Ferrari continues to improve his match fitness he'll play a big role, as will Lisandro Cabrera. Martin Nash will want his side to return to its fundamentals -- defensive organization and stability -- but also to get a lot sharper in the final third. Kristian Jack: York still have a good group of players when everyone is fit and available. Dominick Zator is one of the league’s best defenders, Jordan Wilson is a terrific leader, young CPL stars like Max Ferrari and Isaiah Johnston can still be key difference makers in this league and fellow young Canadians Lowell Wright, Osaze De Rosario and Noah Verhoeven are amongst a solid group that Martin Nash can rely on. The key now is for them to get fit and keep their defensive solidity while in search of igniting attacks. Mitchell Tierney: York simply has to find some sort of roster consistency, ideally, one that can all consistently score goals, if they want any hope of success in the second half of the year. Tass Mourdoukoutas and Ronan Kratt both look like good additions but York could probably still use more depth, particularly in midfield. While a certain feistiness has been a key attribute for York when they are at their best, they could unquestionably use more discipline. They are second in the league with 37 yellow cards, and have picked up four yellow cards as well. For a team already struggling to find lineup consistency, these unforced absences are an issue. They also still haven’t won a match away from home, which evidently will have to change should they want to get back in the hunt.