Match Report: York United 3 Valour FC 1

Valour FC’s miserable start to the 2024 Canadian Premier League season has a new and inglorious chapter – and this one was mostly self-inflicted.

Chasing their first win of the season after four losses to open the campaign, Valour took a 1-nil lead into the second half against York United FC before three mistakes – the second one especially egregious –cost them not only the victory, but even a single point.

Instead, Valour is now winless in five matches after being punished again in a 3-1 loss at York Lions Stadium in Toronto Friday night.

Valour captain Dante Campbell scored the lone goal and saved another

“We have to be better at the little things,” said Dante Campbell, who again wore the captain’s band. “I strongly believe that our staff set us up perfectly for this game. It doesn’t really matter how well we prepare if we don’t take care of moments, defining moments, such as set pieces.

“I do think we are getting better, but if we want to start picking up points, we have to be better as a whole.”

Playing in the 500th CPL match in the league’s history, Valour opened the scoring in the 14th minute off a corner kick as Campbell headed a Jordan Faria corner into the top of the net for just the club’s third goal of the season. Campbell was especially brilliant in the first half, also saving a goal in the 34th minute off a deflection by Haris Chantzopoulos with a pure hustle play.

But, as has often been the case this season, Valour’s mistakes were costly. A Mo Babouli corner deflected off Noah Abatneh for the equalizer in the 68th minute to even the score and then a soft pass attempt by Chantzopoulos back to goalkeeper Darlington Murasiranwa was gobbled up by Brian Wright for an absolute gift in what would be the match winner. York added a third in extra time as Babouli capitalized on some poor Valour defending to bury a pass from Kadin Martin-Pereux.

Valour has now been outscored 13-3 in league play this year and, with the 7-nil loss in the Canadian Championship included, 20-3 overall.

Post-match, a reporter in Toronto asked Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos about the positives he might have seen. That brought a straightforward answer from the gaffer.

“What positives?” he said. “Look, it’s hard for me to tell you because in my head I don’t only have this game, I’m thinking about a lot more than that. I think the group has qualities. When we settle on the ball, we could be a good team.

“Look…. Positives when you’re losing, that’s fantasy. You need to clean up the aspects and the elements of your game that are right now hurting you. If you do that, the positives will come.

“Sometimes it’s good not to remain positive and be real here. Sometimes you’re pushing too hard to be positive in a situation that is negative. Sometimes the wake up happens when you stay in reality, and I want us to stay in reality here. The reality is the team needs to deal with certain moments a lot better.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. This story of taking away the positives in a moment like this, we’re all pros here. We’re all called to do a job in the good moments and in the moments that are more difficult. Once you dig yourself into a hole you either choose to die there or pull yourself back up and that’s what we need to do right now.”

Valour was playing its fifth straight league match away from home to open the season – sixth straight including the Canadian Championship, but Dos Santos & Co., who have never used that as an excuse, are clearly getting weary of that narrative.

“Home or away, if you don’t clean up these mistakes it’s hard to win matches,” Dos Santos said. “So, let’s not think that our home will be our holy grail if we don’t clean up mistakes like the ones we made tonight.”

Valour forward/winger Jordi Swibel

-With Jonathan Viscosi injured and the international paperwork not cleared for recently-signed Adam Kour to be on the roster, Murasiranwa’s backup was Baj Maan.
-Forward Abdul Binate suffered a foot injury in the first half and was replaced by Joe Hanson.

York United 3 Valour FC 1


Valour FC

14:23’: Dante Campbell (1); assist: Jordan Faria

York United

67:05’: Noah Abatneh ( ); assist Mo Babouli
73:51’: Brian Wright ( )
90:50’: Mo Babouli (); assist Kadin Martin-Pereux

Card summary

Valour FC
27:38’: Juan-Pablo Sanchez (yellow, tactical foul)
35:22’: Diogo Ressureicao (yellow, time wasting)
59:28’: Joe Hanson (yellow, tactical foul)
York United
10:30’: Max Ferrari (yellow, tactical offence)
47:03’: Mo Babouli (yellow, dissent)
81:42’: Frank Sturing (yellow, reckless offence)
91:50’: Orlando Botello (yellow, excessive celebration)
95:16’: Austin Ricci (yellow, reckless offence)


GK – Darlington Murasiranwa
D – Haris Chantzopoulos
D – Frankie Facchineri
D – Themi Antonoglou
MF  – Dante Campbell (C)
MF – Noah Verhoeven
MF – Diogo Ressurreicao
MF – Juan Pablo Sanchez
FW – Jordi Swibel
FW – Jordan Faria
F – Abdul Binate

Valour substitutions
40:34’: On Joe Hanson; off Abdul Binate
62:15’: On Roberto Alarcon: off Diogo Ressurreicao
76:49’: On Shaan Hundal; Joe Hanson
76:54’: On Tass Mourdoukoutas; off Haris Chantzopoulos
77:00’: On Zach Sukunda; off Noah Verhoeven