TORONTO, ON – Osaze De Rosario doesn’t want to be thought of as the son of a Canadian soccer legend in Dwayne De Rosario, but if his current play is anything to go by, that comparison isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
De Rosario scored his second goal in as many games on Friday night at York Lions Stadium, as York United defeated Cavalry FC 2-0, to pick up their first win of the season and the first managerial victory for head coach Martin Nash.
Cavalry controlled the early portion of the game, but Noah Verhoven took control of the game midway through the first half, finding spaces and pushing York to a pair of goals and Martin Nash’s first head coaching victory. A world-class cross-to-head link-up between Isaiah Johnston and Oliver Minatel put the home side up 1-0 midway through the first before Rosario scored a screamer to complete the 2-0 game.
How it happened:
York United was the better team over 90 minutes, but for portions of the first half, the match was Cavalry’s to lose. They controlled play and held possession for the first 15 minutes. However, the strength of York’s backline, in particular, Roger Thompson and Dominik Zator, ensured that no Cavalary forwards penetrated high-scoring probability areas.
After lengthy possession spells from the visitors, York shifted back to their back three, pushing Diyaeddine Abzi into the left midfield, and allowing Noah Verhoven to take more control in a deeper role.
While Max Ferrari settled into the match on the wing, it was Verhoven’s contribution on the opening goal in the 35th minute, as he kept the ball in for Isiah Johnston, who curled a perfect cross to Oliver Minatel, as the former Calvalry man scored a blistering header against his former club.
“As soon as I saw Isiah [Johnston], I turned and made my run,” Minatel said of the goal. “I think inside the box it’s more instinct, and we’ve been working on that a lot; it’s not easy.”
While Cavalry head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. brought on some of his veteran names in the 60th minute with Jose Escalante, it was not enough to change the match’s rhythm, as York continued to press and control the ball through the second half. All while Cavalry continued their majority share of possession, albeit mainly in their own half.
The home side doubled their lead in the 73rd minute as De Rosario picked up the ball in midfield and drove a strike past Julian Rollof to grab his second goal in as many matches and solidify the result for the home side.
After the second goal, the play began to open up as Cavalry brought on Elijah Adkeugbe and David Norman Jr, who both created space for Calgary’s attack while sacrificing some of their defensive stability.
However, despite the open play and a few chances, the Cavs couldn’t finish their chances, ending the night with the majority of possession but without a shot on goal.
“That’s football; I don’t think we deserved to win tonight,” Wheeldon Jr. told reporters of his Cavalry side. “We dominated possession, but that’s a dangerous stat because that is what makes you vulnerable, and they countered well and were defensively organized.”
Austin Ricci, who signed earlier in the week, returned to the pitch for York for a quick shift but did not show much in the way of attacking chances. However, there is depth in the forward role moving forward with De Rosario, Lowell Wright, and now Ricci in the mix.
At the end of the night, York was the better team and had more purpose in their possession and attacking movements. Picking up their first win is important, especially as they start a three-match homestand in Toronto, but at the same time, it is just another building step for a very fresh-faced group and new managerial staff.
Verhoeven’s diverse passing causes problems:
Noah Verhoven has the CPL figured out and is blossoming as a 22-year-old in his second season with York. In a more central role in Nash’s system, he flourished in the first half against Cavalry. While he kept the ball in play on York’s first goal, his calmness on the ball and ability to pick out lanes showed his value to York’s transition.
The CPL veteran completed 22 passes in the first half, including a key pass which in turn led to the goal, and continued his strong play to start the second half, creating a stellar chance for Max Ferrari on the wing.
While his passes aren’t always the direct assistance to a scoring chance, his ability to pull the strings in the deeper areas and advance the ball s where York found their attacking chances, meanwhile, playing alongside Ferrari and behind Johnston allows him to have more flexibility in his approach.
What do to with De Rosario?
At just 20-years-old, Osaze De Rosario is showing that he is one of the premier young players in the CPL, but after playing the first three matches of the season, there is a worry of how much he can handle in his first professional campaign.
While his teammates and coach laud him for his physicality and professionalism, playing week in and week out may hurt his development more than help. However, his goal and two tackle performance against Cavalry showed he can play against a strong side in the league, continuing what he had done against Edmonton.
However, moving forward, York will mix in the other forwards as Wright returns from the Canadian U20 camp and Ricci gets up to speed.
De Rosario has been fantastic to start his young professional career, but Nash knows that he can’t just rely on a single striker for the campaign.
“By having options, we won’t have to overload any of our strikers throughout the season,” Nash said.
With the four points in their back pocket through three matches, York United has made their playoff intentions clear in the season’s early stages. However, there are concerns on the other side, as Cavalry sits winless through the opening three games.
For the Cavs, however, there is a potential to relaunch themselves into top form with nine days off and their home opener at ATCO Field on May 1, having played their first few weeks of the season on the road.
Nevertheless, the next game is critical for both sides as York looks to keep their form against a hot Atletico Ottawa side, and Cavalry continues searching for their first win of 2022.