Final Score: York United FC 0-0 Cavalry FC Goalscorers: None Game of the 2021 season: 21 CPL match: 156
Match in a minute or lessOn a warm evening in Winnipeg, York United and Cavalry went shot-for-shot in their second meeting of the year, but neither was able to solve the other's defence as they played out a fiery 0-0 draw. The Cavs did test York, forcing some excellent saves out of Nathan Ingham (including one right at the end of stoppage time), and the Nine Stripes caused trouble for their opponents' defenders several times in transition, but the final ball eluded both sides in a physical, at times frustrating encounter.
Three ObservationsChippy, 'chaotic' tempo draws frustration With five yellow cards, 28 fouls, and 130 duels, there's no denying this was a taxing match for both sides -- just as it was the last time these teams played each other. Both managers credited their team's ability to compete, but neither was delighted with the tempo of the match. Cavalry gaffer Tommy Wheeldon Jr. called the game "chaotic" postmatch, taking issue with the consistency in discipline -- four of the five yellow cards went to his players, and an 80th-minute challenge in the box on Mo Farsi did not produce a penalty kick, as Wheeldon felt it should have. "We had to talk at halftime about, just keep playing our way and let the ball do the talking," Wheeldon added. "I thought in the second half we did, we got out of the chaos, we started playing around them, we started playing through them, we started creating chances... These are little things that, when you're on top and you're full of confidence, they start falling for you. We've just got to keep moving forward." The York side saw it a little differently, though. Manager Jimmy Brennan was pleased with his young players' willingness to get involved in a very difficult affair, but he might've liked to see a more open game. "They're a difficult side to play against," Brennan said. "Every time you get a rhythm where you're trying to hit that counter, you can hear them on the pitch, telling them to foul, and I think they had 18, 19 fouls within that game. It's difficult to play against." He added: "There were some challenges that I didn't agree with that should've been disciplined, they obviously weren't But it's frustrating for us at times. The one thing that I'm (happy with), apart from the players showing they can compete and get physical when the time is needed was getting that clean sheet." Speaking of which... Makeshift York defence much improved With the duo of Chrisnovic N'sa and Jordan Wilson -- neither of which a natural centre-back -- deployed again in the middle out of necessity, York's defence held much firmer than it did on Saturday in their 3-0 loss to Pacific FC. N'sa had a tremendous night (more on him later), playing the hero on several occasions with his last-ditch tackles and clearances, and Wilson was resolute beside him. Even Max Ferrari, clearly labouring under a lingering injury, did a brave job at right fullback, away from his usual role on the wing. "They worked a lot better today," Brennan said of his defensive line. "I thought Max (Ferrari) was great, playing at right-back he defended very well and competed the whole match until late. And N'sa, he was solid, winning his aerial battles, blocking shots. He was a true defender today. And same with Jordan Wilson, he competed all match. To see the both of them, obviously filling in, to put on a performance like that, I thought it was very good and obviously getting a clean sheet is your reward as a defender." Despite Cavalry's 58.4% possession, York held their opponent to three shots on target. They were difficult to break down as a whole -- Cavalry had no joy when attempting to play centrally through youngsters Cédric Toussaint and Isaiah Johnston in midfield -- and when they did manage to threaten from out wide, York were typically able to clear it to safety. They'll also be a side that won't hesitate when the safest play is to put it out of bounds for a corner, being such a dominant team from set-pieces at both ends of the pitch historically. If Dominick Zator and Roger Thompson continue to struggle with injury, York will now be more confident in their ability to make things work. Wheeldon calls for simplicity in front of goal For the first time ever, Cavalry FC have not scored a goal in four consecutive matches. Their previous longest drought was a stretch of three in August 2019 (and even that one includes a Canadian Championship match against the then-Montreal Impact), but they now haven't managed to find the net since their second game of 2021. "If it wasn't for bad luck, we'd have no luck in front of the net," Wheeldon quipped postmatch. He went on to reveal that he's tried to share some Carlo Ancelotti wisdom with his strikers, explaining to them that most goals are scored with one touch. "I think we're just starting to second-guess, taking that extra touch. I think when you've got attackers that are on song, they're putting it in with one-touch finishes... We probably just need one to go off the backside, or get us running again like what we had in the first couple of games." Anthony Novak is still in search of his first marker in a Cavalry shirt, and he came close on a few occasions on Wednesday, but it seems he was the player most plagued with that case of overthinking things in the box. Wheeldon added that he'd like to see Novak back to the form he showed for Forge in past years, where he was more "instinctive."
CanPL.ca Player of the MatchChrisnovic N'sa, York United Playing out of position, N'sa might be the biggest reason York came out of this match with a point. Four tackles, six clearances, and two interceptions put him first on the team in all three defensive categories, and at least two of those tackles were match-saving efforts to prevent a clean look at goal in the box for a Cavalry forward. N'sa was also a force in the air, winning five out of seven aerial duels. What’s next? Cavalry will return to the pitch this Saturday, July 17, with a match against HFX Wanderers FC (7 pm ET/6 pm CT). York will get an extra day's rest, and they'll be back in action on Sunday, July 18 against Valour FC in the ComeOn! Match of the Week (7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.