Matchday Report vs York United

Don’t begin penning the obituary for Valour FC’s 2023 Canadian Premier League season just yet.

Winnipeg’s professional soccer side breathed some life back into their desperate pursuit of a playoff spot with a solid 3-1 road win over York United FC at York Lions Stadium in Toronto Friday night, ending a three-match losing streak in the process.

The result improves Valour to 5-8-10 and 23 points, still nine points out of a playoff spot with just five matches remaining. York United FC – one of the clubs Valour is chasing down – falls to 9-5-10.

“What coach doesn’t like a good team performance, right?” said Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos after the win. “I just reminded the guys that no matter what in anything they do they always have to bring the best versions of themselves.

York United FC vs Valour FC – Sept 8th 2023
Photo Credit: CHANT

“We can’t look at standings. We can’t look at where we’re at. We need to just wake up, show up and be the best we can be every day. So, for me the message is pretty simple.”

Valour was on the front foot from the outset and opened the scoring on Dante Campbell’s first goal of the season in the 29th minute as the fullback worked diligently to feed a pass to Kian Williams, then hustled to the front of the net to drill home a perfect return pass.

Valour then grew that advantage as York went down a man in the 39th minute when Noah Abatneh was issued a red card for a foul on Matteo de Brienne. The visitors grew their advantage to 2-nil on a give-and-go goal between Walter Ponce and Diego Gutierrez with the later, Valour’s captain, drilling home his team-leading fourth marker of the season.

Jared Ulloa then came off the bench to seal the deal with his first goal in the 84thminute as he gobbled up a clearance on his own pass attempt in the box before finding the far post.

York’s Kevin Santos would get the home side on the board in the 87th minute, but it was far too little far too late for a squad fighting to stay in the CPL playoff race.

Valour’s three goal outbreak matched a season high and was a welcome return for a squad that had struggled so mightily to score this year, with a league-low 18 goals in their first 22 matches of the season. Dos Santos tinkered with his lineup leading to the instant results, with Williams getting his first start up top and Walter Ponce moving to the wing along with Matteo de Brienne.

“A lot of times this year we’ve had a good performance but weren’t able to find the back of the net,” said Campbell. “Today was just everything coming full circle. I’m happy for the guys, first and foremost. I’m happy for the staff as well and for Phil.

“It’s been a tough, long year, but today was a full circle performance and we felt like we got what we deserved.”

The victory was just Valour’s second road decision of the season – the other coming in a season-opening 2-nil win over York back on April 16th. Before Friday’s win the club had gone 10 matches – four draws and six losses – on the road without a result.

“I told Dante (Campbell) for some reason we like this place this year,” said Dos Santos. “Sometimes it’s coincidences, sometimes you see teams matching up better with others. It’s hard to explain. It’s hard to pinpoint those things. It’s football.

York United FC vs Valour FC – Sept 8th 2023
Photo Credit: CHANT

“It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times this season. The team has had good moments. We go back to the first 12 games where we were above the (playoff) line, and we had lost three games. But then we couldn’t score; we couldn’t find a window to score. There’s elements of confidence, there’s myself maybe moving things around in a way where you try to get the goals, but you expose the team in other ways. There’s a lot of factors.

“Now this year this is my favourite place,” he added with a grin. “I should have coached here every game. Maybe we would have won the league. I think we have good pieces. I think the team has shown glimpses of what it could look like when everything comes together, so we have to keep working and take those foundations and build from the good moments we’ve had and try to find consistency.”

York United FC 1 Valour FC 3



York United FC

86:13’: Kevin Santos (assist: Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare)

Valour FC

28:11’: Dante Campbell (assist: Kian Williams)

61:20’: Diego Gutierrez (assist: Walter Ponce)

83:17’: Jared Ulloa

Card summary


Valour FC

31:26’: Walter Ponce (yellow, persistent infringement)

53:10’: Jordan Haynes (yellow, reckless offence)

72:51’: Klaidi Cela (yellow, tactical foul)

York United FC

38:09’: Noah Abatneh (red, serious foul)

79:55’: Osaze De Rosario (yellow, reckless offence)

90:34’: Mo Babouli (yellow, dissent)

92:15’: Mo Babouli (yellow/red, dissent)

93:26’: Martin Nash (yellow, dissent)


GK – Rayane Yesli

D – Jordan Haynes

D – Klaidi Cela

D – Guillaume Pianelli

D – Dante Campbell

MF – Marcello Polisi

MF – Diego Gutierrez

MF – Juan-Pablo Sanchez

FW – Matteo De Brienne

FW – Walter Ponce

F – Kian Williams

Valour substitutions

62:57’: On Jared Ulloa; off Walter Ponce

63:02’: On Andy Baquero; off Juan-Pablo Sanchez

76:55’: On Anthony Novak; off Matteo de Brienne

89:53’: On Eskander Mzoughi; off Kian Wiliams