HIGHLIGHTS: York United FC vs. Valour FC (Sept. 8, 2023) | Presented by tonybet
Just as they did in their opening fixture of the season, Valour FC came to York Lions Stadium and stunned hosts York United, this time by a score of 3-1.
Dante Campbell’s first goal of the season opened the scoring in the first half, Deigo Gutiérrez scored a second in the 62nd minute and Jared Ulloa rounded out an outstanding evening for Valour in the 84th minute. Kévin Santos scored the lone goal for York United. The Nine Stripes spent the majority of the match playing with ten men after Noah Abatneh was sent off in the 39th minute. Mo Babouli, meanwhile, was also ejected in stoppage time.
Valour, who could have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, live to fight another day as they keep their hope of a ‘miracle’ climb back into the playoffs alive.
Valour looked dangerous in the early part of the match, with Dante Campbell striking the crossbar inside three minutes. The rest of the opening 15 minutes of the match were rather stop-start, with the sides committing a combined seven fouls.
The hosts finally found a bit of offence in the 20th minute through a pair of chances for Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, who has been able to get further up the field in possession in recent matches and looks to be enjoying the attacking freedom.
The Winnipeg side, however, drew first blood somewhat against the run of play in the 29th minute. Campbell started the move with a lovely flick around the corner on a pass from Marcello Polisi, before playing a first-time pass through to Kian Williams. The winger’s low cross was dummied by Matteo de Brienne, with Campbell at the back post to tuck home a lovely move from the Winnipeg side.
Things went from bad to worse in the 39th minute for the Nine Stripes, however. Young central defender Noah Abatneh was shown a straight red card after slipping and making contact up high on de Brienne. It was a big blow not only for York being down to ten men but for their need of U-21 minutes. Juan Pablo Sanchez came close just before the half-time whistle with a that clipped the top of the crossbar, but regardless Valour went into half-time up a goal and up a man as well.
The visitors came out of the gates on the front foot again, with Williams forcing a decent save out of Adisa De Rosario just two minutes into the second half. York, meanwhile, started to get some joy through playing Austin Ricci in behind. The striker forced a good save from Rayane Yesli in the 52nd minute. Ricci came close again in the 60th minute, this time striking the corner of the crossbar from out wide.
It was Valour, however, who added to their lead in the 62nd minute. Gutiérrez latched onto an interception in midfield, and played a one-two with Walter Ponce before drifting into the box. He sent a powerful strike to De Rosario’s near post which beat the York keeper and stunned the crowd at York Lions Stadium.
Substitute Anthony Novak almost added a third in the 80th minute after some clever play by Andy Baquero to find Campbell in the middle who crossed the ball in, but De Rosario extended to make an incredible save.
Santos added a late consolation goal for York United in the 87th minute. His thunderous volley was perhaps the lone bright spot on the evening for the Nine Stripes. A horrible night for York was punctuated when captain Mo Babouli was sent off in stoppage time after receiving a pair of yellow cards.
This was just the second time Valour have won away from home this season. The other, coincidentally, also came at York Lions Stadium back in April. Their gap to the post-season, for the time being, is now just nine points. The full impact this will have for York United will be largely confirmed by how Halifax and Atlético Ottawa perform later this weekend.