York United – Match Report vs Pacific FC (24/05/2022)

York United won a thrilling penalty shootout against Pacific FC in Canadian Championship action. It was 2-2 at full time with Pacific getting a last gasp equaliser from Amer Didic. Both sides lined up in a 4-2-3-1.  

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Diyaeddine Abzi

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 23/11/1998
  • Current Club: York United
  • Career: AS Blainville
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred Foot: Left

Diyaeddine Abzi played in his typical role of attacking left-back. As usual, he was a menace going forward. A lot of York’s ball progression was delegated to Abzi’s ability to run upfield with the ball at his feet. He looked very smooth with the ball at his feet, able to keep the ball under control even when running forwards at high speeds and beat players 1v1. Abzi is also quite big for a fullback, standing six feet tall. So When you combine that with his speed, agility, and dribbling ability he’s quite hard to stop once he gets going.

He also generates quite a bit of offence for a fullback in a back four. He assisted York’s first goal with a nicely taken corner and put in a fair number of dangerous crosses. If there has ever been a weak spot in Abzi’s game it has been his defending. Abzi played directly against Marco Bustos and Kunle Dada-Luke, one of CPL’s most deadly combos. Abzi did alright. He did a fairly good job of limiting Dada-Luke to wide areas, not letting him dribble into the box. He also won quite a lot of headers, his height once again coming in handy.

But his defence was a little bit inconsistent. Despite his size, he was on occasion muscled off the ball by the much smaller Marco Bustos. Abzi was consistently able to win duels in the air but a player with a lower centre of gravity, like Bustos, was able to get the better of him. His tackling was a little bit inconsistent. He had a couple of nice interventions but he also went into some challenges without much conviction. Abzi showed a good level of composure throughout the match. He did not panic when he was under pressure with the ball and he took the first of York’s penalty kicks, demonstrating some ability to perform in pressure cooker situations. 

Rating: A1

Abzi’s mediocre 1v1 defending is definitely a concern for his ability to play at a higher level. But I think his offensive capabilities are great enough that it’s worth the risk. If MLS does not come calling then he should look to move to a slightly smaller league in Europe. I also think he would be a fantastic A-League player. 

Osaze De Rosario

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 19/07/2001
  • Current Club: York United
  • Career: Toronto FC (Y), New York City FC (Y), Rukh Lviv
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Osaze De Rosario played as York’s centre-forward in this match. One thing that really stood out was how strong he is. York was able to play long balls forward frequently and De Rosario was able to win those physical battles more often than not. This was despite playing against 6’5 Amer Didic, who has been capped by the Canadian national team.

De Rosario did not always necessarily keep possession cleanly but he always at least prevented a Pacific player from clearing the ball away cleanly. De Rosario’s touch was above average. The ball did bounce off of him a fair amount but he was always dealing with the most difficult type of pass to control so I think he did quite well. He dropped deep a fair amount and he was always an option for players to bounce a ball off of. He also showed some nice dribbling ability to get out of pressure situations. He was not necessarily pushing the ball forward with his dribbling or passing but he was effective at holding the ball up. In the box is the area where I think De Rosario has the longest to go to become a top striker. He did have some good moments. He scored a goal which was a header against the aforementioned giant Didic. So he’s got the physical tools to be a menace in front of goal. But he needs to increase the number of shots he’s getting from right in front of the opposition goal.

De Rosario has 4 goals in all competitions in less than 700 minutes. But this was his first goal from inside the penalty area that wasn’t a penalty. I don’t think that type of scoring is sustainable in the long run. So De Rosario needs to improve his movement in the box and become a bit more of a tap in merchant. He already has the physicality and the skill to be a fantastic player, he just needs to get that piece and he will be nearly unstoppable (at least for CPL defenders). 

Rating: A2

Osaze De Rosario has all of the tools to become an elite striker. That should not be confused with me saying he is an elite striker right now. But he’s playing professional soccer consistently for the first time in his career and is still very young so I think he has a good chance of reaching his potential. 

Isaiah Johnston

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 16/12/2001
  • Current Club: York United
  • Career: Cape Breton University Capers
  • Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Secondary Position: Centre Midfielder
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Isaiah Johnston played a #10 role in this match, a new position for him as he has played a deeper role for most of his career. Johnston displayed some skills that could see him develop into an excellent player but he will have to show he can put all of those skills together.

Johnston is quite physically strong and that makes him good at holding on to the ball under pressure. He won quite a lot of fouls where he was shielding the ball and the opposing player had no option but to just shove him over because he was so good at protecting the ball. Johnston also showed pretty good dribbling ability, able to turn in tight spaces and get out of trouble. He also got into the box a fair amount and had one great chance where his late run got him an uncontested header which he nodded wide. The problem for Johnston is that other than those genuinely valuable skills he doesn’t currently have a lot going on. His passing is really limited. He rarely did anything other than just pass it back or keep possession. He didn’t seem to believe in his ability to pick out longer passes. One incident which sticks out in my mind is when he looked up, saw a player open who could be reached with a cross-field switch, started the motion to play the pass, and then pulled out of it part way through.

I also would not say he showed a particular aptitude for defending. He did close players down a few times but he isn’t the quickest and his success at tackling dribblers was only minimal. He also showed a bit of immaturity. During a scuffle, he shoved a Pacific player while he was already on a yellow card. He got away with it on this occasion but he could have cost his team if the referee was a little less forgiving. 

Rating: B2

I like the skills Johnston has a lot. But it’s hard to know how to best utilise those skills. He can’t really pass well enough to be a top player in a deeper position and he’s not really productive enough to play in a more advanced position. He is still young so there is lots of time to develop but he’s got to add at least one more major skill to his game. 

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