2021 CPL regular season — Match #82 York United vs. HFX Wanderers FC October 3, 2021 at 1 pm ET/2 pm AT York Lions Stadium, Toronto, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here


Neck and neck in the table, York United and HFX Wanderers FC have a lot on the line when they hit the pitch on Sunday. Both teams are in good form heading into the match and their recent results in the Canadian Premier League mirror each other with three wins and two draws over their last five outings. However, they each lost their recent Canadian Championship quarterfinal matches (HFX Wanderers 1-3 CF Montréal and Toronto FC 4-0 York United). The HFX Wanderers have a slight upper hand heading into the match with back-to-back home wins against FC Edmonton and Atlético Ottawa and they will no doubt aim to make it three in a row. Leading scorer João Morelli continues to be in top form scoring all the club’s goals over the last two games. His record-breaking tally now sits at 14 so far this season. Coach Stephen Hart knows his side can expect a difficult clash on Sunday, but he hopes their good fortune can continue on the road. “Playing on the road always has its complications but as we said earlier on, at some point we need to try and steal some points on the road. We’ve been getting the points from a tying standpoint but it would be nice to come away with a win,” he said. “[York] are one of the teams that are fighting to get into that playoff along with us … it’s important that we do our best to put a little pressure on them.” York United meanwhile will also aim to keep the momentum flowing after getting back in the win column with a 2-1 win over Valour. A brace from 18-year-old Lowell Wright saw the team pull off a comeback win to keep all three points at home. Coach Jimmy Brennan outlined the game plan will be the same against the Wanderers saying his team must make York Lions Stadium “very, very difficult” for their familiar opponents. “The players know each other inside out now, when you play against each other so much you start to realize everybody’s tendencies and what they look to do,” he said. “I expect it to be a difficult match, entertaining, and one that hopefully we get an edge in.” “You’re looking for that little bit of magic in certain players out on that pitch to win you the game. Looking at the table, only one point separates fourth-place York United from the fifth-place Wanderers and Sunday’s match is the final meeting between these two sides in the regular season. Both teams, as such, will aim to capitalize on the chance to grab three vital points to try and secure a place in the playoffs. But with clashes in the past historically ending in draws, will either side seize the opportunity at York Lions Stadium?

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  • Defensive duties a priority: Stacked with a surplus of attacking talent, both York United and the Wanderers’ squads can threaten any defence in the Canadian Premier League. João Morelli, Max Ferrari, Stefan Karajovanovic, Álvaro Rivero, Cory Bent and the like can all influence the game within a split second. However, the key to the clash on Sunday lies in defence. Stifling any threat from the opposition will be crucial for both sides and the defenders are sure to be kept on their toes. For Hart, the recent performances from right-back Alejandro Portal have been a boost for the Wanderers. “He’s been really good for us but more importantly, he settled in really, really quickly," he said. "I’m a little surprised at how well he’s settled in but he’s done very well for us and I’m pleased because we desperately needed it.” Brennan also highlighted a need for York’s squad to stay focused over 90 minutes. “Communication has to be there on the day, that’s all players talking, being aware of their surroundings,” he said. “[HFX Wanderers] have some quality players that do have that tendency to find these good little holes and good little pockets. But it’s up to us to be disciplined now.”
  • Response time key: If either side can open the scoring early on, how the other reacts will play a key role in how things play out in Toronto as both York United and the HFX Wanderers are known to impact the game late in the second half. In fact, seven goals over the last five clashes between these two teams have come around the 80-minute mark or after. Whoever soaks up the half-time talk better coming out into the second 45 minutes could be the team who ends up holding on for the win. Hart specifically highlighted the Wanderers must “concentrate well, especially in the late moments of the game.”
  • Can Morelli extend his record?: As it's been all season, fans will be watching to see if the Wanderers’ goal machine can continue his top form. After breaking the scoring record against Atlético Ottawa last week, just how far can Morelli go? The sky is the limit for the 25-year-old who time and time again entertains on the pitch. Yet regardless if he finds the net against York, Brennan knows Morelli will still be one of the stars they must always watch out for. “You have to be aware of where he is on the pitch at all times, you can’t give him an inch. You constantly have to be looking over your shoulder to make sure you know," he said.


York United wins: 1 || HFX Wanderers wins: 2 || Draws: 6

Previous match:

September 18, 2021 — York United 0-0 HFX Wanderers


“When you’re in the position in the table that we are right now it’s not about looking behind it’s looking forward and looking at that next team we can catch … now [we have] our eye on Forge FC who are sitting above us. That’s the next team we want to catch.” – York United head coach Jimmy Brennan

“On the table you’re just looking at the team in the front of you to give you that incentive, that character, to go get them.” – York United head coach Jimmy Brennan

“Yes, Morelli is getting the praise for the goals, but somebody had to set him up, the balls had to come from somewhere, it’s a team thing. Morelli is taking the responsibility of scoring the goals [but] all four wide players have been very good, the full-backs and the wide attackers." - HFX Wanderers FC head coach Stephen Hart

"And that’s important because, really and truly, what we’re actually going through, we need players to step up and endure and suffer for the result. All credit to the players, they’ve been fantastic, they’ve done it without complaint.” — HFX Wanderers FC head coach Stephen Hart

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