Final Score: York United FC 2-1 Valour FC Goalscorers: Andrew Jean-Baptiste (5'), Lowell Wright (14'), Dominick Zator (48') Game of the 2021 season: 14 CPL match: 149
Match in a minute or lessOverturning an early goal from Andrew Jean-Baptiste, York United picked up their first win of the season on Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory over Valour FC. An equalizer from Lowell Wright tied it up a few minutes later, before Dominick Zator's second-half header sealed all three points for the Nine Stripes. There were a couple of controversial refereeing decisions that impacted the outcome of this match -- first a disallowed free kick that Rafael Galhardo expertly placed into the top left corner was called back after Jean-Baptiste was judged to be standing too close to the defensive wall, before Diyaeddine Abzi was denied after thinking he should've won a penalty for York at the other end. Regardless of the late drama, it was an end-to-end match that York ultimately deserved to win. Three Observations
Fans back in the stands at a CPL gameFor the first time at a CPL game since November 2nd, 2019, fans are back in the stands at a CPL stadium. Small groups of fans were present during the Island Games, but this is the first time they've been at a regular CPL stadium in 613 days -- since the second leg of the 2019 CPL Final at ATCO Field in Calgary. Up to 2,000 fully vaccinated fans are permitted into games at The Kickoff as of Wednesday night, but with how much noise the fans in Winnipeg make, it seemed like a lot more. They were noticeable throughout the match, starting well before kickoff and in full voice until the referee blew the final whistle. "It was a bit different, obviously [there was] a little more emotion," said Valour's Stefan Cebara after the match. "The atmosphere was a bit different today, but we're just disappointed we didn't get the three points in front of the home crowd. It (playing in front of fans again) was definitely a good feeling." "I think it made it a little bit exciting," added York's Michael Petrasso, who called Winnipeg and IG Field home during the 2019 season. "I thought it was great, it's been almost two years now since we've had fans in Canada, so I think it's a good start." Young Canadians getting the job done for York United Quickly becoming a regular occurrence for this young York United team, several young Canadians impressed again for The Nine Stripes. 17-year-old Lowell Wright started again, and scored his first goal of the season, in this match -- heading home the equalizer in the 14th minute in another big performance for the young striker. He's looked composed four matches into the season -- and already looks like he'll be a major factor in whatever success his club will earn this season. The same sentiment could be applied to many of York's starters -- with five of York's starters on Wednesday meeting the league's u21 minutes criteria -- York have well exceeded 50% of that requirement (1,500 minutes played by players born after January 1, 2000) just four games into the season. In this match alone, Terique Mohammed, Lowell Wright, Max Ferrari, Cedric Toussaint and Isaiah Johnston all continued to see a lot of the pitch, with Ijah Halley briefly coming off the bench as well at the end. "I've been delighted with their performances," said York head coach Jimmy Brennan. "Cedric and Isaiah were fantastic in the middle of the park tonight, they put some shift in and covered an awful lot of ground. "Lowell was a handful up top tonight, I was buzzing for him, getting his first goal. We actually said in the meeting before the match that tonight was his night. He's worked so hard to get his opportunities, working across that line -- the harder you work, the rewards will come. I thought Max Ferrari was very good tonight -- all the young guys have been putting a great shift in. "You can see that they're enjoying their football, there's a hunger in their eyes and they've got a swagger about them, which I like. It's good to see that they're taking this opportunity." Andrew Jean-Baptiste continues to impress Although his side didn't pick up the win, Valour's Andrew Jean-Baptiste continued his scintillating start to the 2021 CPL season. He scored the opening goal of the match just five minutes in, a header off a set piece -- something the Haitian centre-back has done on multiple occasions since coming to the CPL, including last week against HFX Wanderers. Playing all 90 minutes for the fourth-consecutive match to open the season, the Valour skipper showed little sign of fatigue, making three clearances, one tackle and one interception in another solid performance for the 29-year-old.
CanPL.ca Player of the MatchDominick Zator, York United The Canadian centre-back scored the winning goal and was a leader at the back for York United in another impressive display. What’s next? York United are next in action against Pacific FC on Saturday, July 10 at 5 pm ET (4 pm CT). Valour have an extra day off, next playing Forge FC on Sunday, July 11 (1:30 pm ET/12:30 pm CT). Watch all games live on OneSoccer.