HIGHLIGHTS: York United FC vs. Atletico Ottawa (October 1, 2023) | Presented by tonybet
York United climbed back into the playoff positions on Sunday at York Lions Stadium, as a late goal against Atlético Ottawa bagged them a 1-0 victory against their closest foes in the standings with one week left in the regular season.
Both managers received some much-welcomed reinforcements in their starting lineups for this game, as York United got talisman Mo Babouli and U-21 centre-back Noah Abatneh back from suspension, while Ottawa’s stalwart Spanish defender Diego Espejo returned to the XI after missing over a month with injury.
In a game of such high stakes, the two teams were a little cagey in the opening half, neither side wanting to blink first and make a potentially season-defining mistake.
The first genuinely dangerous chance of the match came just after the half-hour mark, as Ottawa again broke forward in transition and Jean-Aniel Assi played the ball across the box where Zach Verhoven was unmarked. Verhoven had a point-blank shot at goal, but some outstanding goalkeeping from Niko Giantsopoulos kept York level at 0-0.
Nathan Ingham made a good save of his own down at the other end about 10 minutes later, when Babouli chopped the ball around a defender and flicked the cross to Jonathan Grant, who attempted to shoot off the volley but had his attempt saved.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first, as Ottawa continued to sit back and invite pressure, hoping for a counter-attacking opportunity, while York sought to find a way to play through the visitors’ block.
It took until the 74th minute for a good chance to fall, which it did for York United when Brem Soumaoro played an excellent ball over the top to Austin Ricci, who kept himself onside and got in alone behind the Atleti backline. Ingham, though, made himself big and saved the one-on-one shot to keep it scoreless.
At last, though, the moment arrived for the hosts. In the 89th minute, Kevin Santos managed to evade a defender in the box to get in on goal, finishing coolly past Ingham for perhaps one of the biggest goals in York United’s history.
The Nine Stripes, from there, did well to suffocate the game, seeing out a full seven minutes of stoppage time for an absolutely monumental win, breaking a three-game losing streak and moving into fifth place.
York now control their own fate, and will have the chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win on the last weekend of the season when they travel to Vancouver FC next Friday night.
89’ — Kevin Santos (York United)
38′ — Yellow: Brem Soumaoro (York United)
41′ — Yellow: Samuel Salter (Atlético Ottawa)
83′ — Yellow: Carl Haworth (Atlético Ottawa)