HIGHLIGHTS: York United vs. Vancouver FC (August 25, 2023) | Presented by tonybet
York United came from behind to pick up a colossal three points at York Lions Stadium, in a 2-1 victory over Vancouver FC on Friday night.
Gabriel Bitar opened the scoring for Vancouver FC, but a late penalty from Mo Babouli, and an 80th-minute winner from substitute Austin Ricci combined to hand York a dramatic win.
For the moment, that puts the Nine Stripes back above the playoff line, tied on points with the Halifax Wanderers but ahead on the first tiebreaker, which is total wins. They have, however, played more matches than any other side in the league.
Vancouver forced an early save out of 18-year-old Adisa De Rosario, who was making his second start of the season, with some good ball movement down the left flank resulting in a look for Mikaël Cantave from the top of the box.
Just a few moments later, they went one better, this time down the right flank. Cantave dispossessed Max Ferrari, before squaring the ball for Bitar. The red-hot Vancouver winger, coming off a two-goal performance off the bench against Pacific last week, made no mistake calmly curling the ball into the bottom left corner to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
It was a giveaway at the back from Vancouver this time that nearly led to an equalizer in the 25th minute, as the ball came free to Brem Soumaoro at the top of the box. His low-driven strike was deflected narrowly wide of Callum Irving’s left post. A few minutes later, Babouli rattled the crossbar on another shot from distance as York started to ask questions of the Vancouver backline.
The Nine Stripes continued to press as the half wore on. In the 37th minute, Brian Wright had a solid opportunity from a header in the box, but put it straight into the arms of Irving. Despite leading 12 shots to four in the opening half, York United went into the opening half trailing 1-0.
The visitors made a change at the half, bringing on Kadin Chung to replace Min-jae Kwak in his traditional right-back position. After being overrun a little bit late in the first half, Vancouver were able to limit York’s attacking moments in the early part of the second 45. Clogging up the central channels, they frustrated York who struggled to find any sort of penetrative moments in the final third.
The Nine Stripes, however, were finally able to create some space in the box in the 68th minute, as substitute Chung was judged to have brought down Kévin Santos in the box. Babouli stepped up from the penalty spot and equalized the match.
Vancouver responded well, with a flurry of opportunities a few moments thereafter. Young De Rosario, however, stood strong in the York net showing good command of his area as he claimed multiple dangerous crosses. York then came incredibly close to taking the lead in the 79th minute, with Ricci chipping the ball by Callum Irving, but Rocco Romeo made an unbelievable defensive effort to deny Brian Wright making a late run.
Ricci, however, would not be denied. A ball played into the box by Paris Gee was redirected into the path of the York winger by Brian Wright. Ricci caught the ball on the volley and sent a stunning strike past Irving to give York a 2-1 lead.
Despite another valiant effort on the road, Vancouver FC remains 12 points out of the final playoff spot, with the potential of that gap growing to 15 by the end of the weekend. They still have not won a road match since their first trip of the season to York Lions Stadium, which came all the way back on April 22.
11′ — Gabriel Bitar (Vancouver FC)
69′ — Mo Babouli (York United) (Pen.)
80′ — Austin Ricci (York United)