Say it's all-Wright
Formerly of Ottawa, Martin Nash adds a new, hometown striker to the mix.
In tight quarters with Niko Giantsopolous and on a hard angle, Brian Wright, then of Atletico Ottawa, was able to tuck the ball just outside the reach of Niko’s foot and into the back of the net, making it a 1-0 game for Ottawa. (The match would finish 2-2 as York clawed back twice.)
On a three-pass counter-attack at York Lions Stadium in late July, Wright finished with a good run and a shot from right behind the penalty spot. That was the second goal in a game that ended in a 3-0 Ottawa win.
The last match of the season, another Ontario derby, this one in the nation's capital, Wright once again grabbed the doubler with a golden touch, sending the ball in a perfect arc past Eleias Himaras. It was worth mentioning Wright was knocking on the door for the whole game, providing plenty of chances and causing a lot of trouble for the Nine Stripes. Those were three of his seven goals in 2022, coming from 19 starts and 28 games, with him logging 1,475 minutes.
Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em. GM Angus McNab did explain he is happy York doesn’t have to suit up against Wright anymore.
A true number nine is being introduced into the York United attacking third. Brought up locally, Wright will join the likes of Molham Babouli and Osaze De Rosario to conjure more offensive dynamite at the YLS. They are all under contract until 2024.
Wright has experience in MLS and the USL prior to his move North of the border. Drafted by the New England Revolution in 2017 out of Vermont, the now-27-year-old three years with the Revs, without anything to write home about. His best campaign came in 2018 with a goal in ten matches. He then spent two summers with Birmingham in the USL Championship, a level more comparable to the CPL, where he found the netting nine times across the couple of seasons.
It’s safe to say that now, in the prime of his career, Wright is enjoying a regular role terrorizing defenders across Canada. “He’s one of the top strikers in the CPL,” says head coach Martin Nash. "There are a number of elements to his game that really stand out, being a great finisher is only one of them.”
Wright follows up each tally with one of my personal favourite celebrations: a double heel-tap as he’s running toward the sidelines to party with the rest of the squad.
Unfortunately for him, the CPL Final against Forge was not a highlight for Wright. After falling out of favour with Carlos Gonzalez due to Ottleti’s other talisman, Malcolm Shaw, finding form in the two-legged semifinal against Pacific. Wright took the turf at TD Place for 17 desperate minutes as Ottawa valiantly tried to come back.
McNab delved into the numbers and found that Wright has the highest expected goals per shot than any other forward in the league since 2021. “We think that with our squad we can create even more chances for him.”
Although xG doesn’t matter if you can’t close the chapter on chances with a goal, with a bit more pre-season work that can be fixed easily. Heck, even the Norwegian viking beast himself, Erling Haaland, used to struggle with finishing on headers.
Anyway, that’s about Wright.