2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #38 Atlético Ottawa vs. York United June 14, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET TD Place Stadium Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here
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On August 15, 2020 Atlético Ottawa played their first-ever Canadian Premier League match against a side who was at the time called York9 FC, drawing 2-2. It was a moment of history, but also a sign of what would follow in the rivalry between these two clubs.
Very little has ever separated York and Ottawa since. They have now played eight times in all competitions. Seven times those matches have been tied after 90 minutes.
The last time the two sides met they were forced to sort out a winner, as it came in the Canadian Championship preliminary round. Again, they drew 1-1 after regular time, setting up an intriguing penalty shootout where York stepped up to shoot against their former keeper Nate Ingham.
York was victorious on the day and has since advanced to the semi-final round of the competition. They remain the only team to pick up a win after 90 minutes in this fixture, beating Ottawa 2-0 at home last season.
“I hope there are not many penalties [this time],” said Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González with a grin, “the reality is that yes, I think they are a good team, they have a good block, a block that is very compact also so it is going to be a tough game surely.”
Atlético Ottawa, however, is in the best form in club history. They dominated league-leaders Pacific last weekend at home, recording a third-straight win for the first time ever. A win against York would mean a further milestone: it would put them top of the Canadian Premier League table.
But González knows that worrying about things like that this early in the season will only be a detriment to the club. They have to continue to build on their recent results and performances.
“We have to keep being a humble team,” said González, “if we are here at the moment it is because we are working really hard because we are doing a lot of things good so we cannot forget about the process and we have to keep doing that. This is the idea, thinking match by match, game by game.”
After a promising start to the season, it has been a bit of a rocky road for York of late, who are winless in their last four Canadian Premier League matches. They did pick up a pair of penalty shootout wins in the Canadian Championship last month, and have been putting in good performances, but need to start turning those performances into points.
York will also be looking to pick up their first road win of the season, something that only FC Edmonton has also failed to accomplish. Doing so would be a well-timed confidence boost, as they gear up toward a road trip to Vancouver to play the Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship later this month.
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All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980. Tous les matchs de l’AtléticoOttawa sont aussi disponibles en français sur OneSoccer.
3 THINGS TO WATCH
Atlético Ottawa’s depth is crucial to its recent run of form: Atlético Ottawa’s past two matches have been won on goals from a substitute, Zach Verhoven, and that demonstration of team depth has been a bit of a theme for Ottawa lately. Especially in attack, Ottawa has a host of weapons as Brian Wright, Carl Haworth, Vladimir Moragrega and Verhoven have all taken turns coming off the bench in recent matches. In multi-game weeks, or even just as players tire during matches, this gives González different looks and has meant he hasn’t had to lean too hard on any players to play significant minutes. González says this depth is also crucial on the training pitch, where iron sharpens iron. “Any team sport has to have depth, because at the end of the day how you try to improve your players is in the day-by-day, in the training sessions. So if there is no competition between them in the training sessions it is difficult to grow the individuals. This is the first step and of course, we have many options from the starting eleven, we have options from the bench…you have to be prepared to use every single player so that they can add to the team.”
York United is looking to start taking their chances on the road: As aforementioned, York United has yet to win on the road this season in Canadian Premier League action. The biggest culprit for that? They can’t seem to find the back of the net. While York actually has the best defensive record of any club away from home so far this season, they have scored just a single goal. In fact, goals haven’t been particularly easy to come by anywhere of late, as no team has scored fewer this season than their six. They were given a big blow in this regard earlier in the week, as the club announced that forward Austin Ricci is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing ACL surgery. But their lack of goals certainly isn’t for a lack of trying. York leads the league in shot attempts and chances created and has underperformed their expected goals by a stunning 5.11 through nine matches. At some point, their group of young strikers will likely start converting again, and given their defensive solidity, this will once again make them a formidable opponent.
Battle of width expected: One of the more intriguing battles in this match will be how the two sides operate down the flanks. Ottawa, of late, has debuted a new formation that puts five players across the midfield and makes it very difficult to play through. In particular, this has also allowed Ballou Tabla and Ollie Bassett to attack the opposition with great effect down the right flank. Malcolm Shaw and Max Tissot, meanwhile, provide threats on the left. But if there is any team capable of matching that wide quality it is York, who with Diyaeddine Abzi and Chrisnovic N’sa arguably have the best fullback tandem in the league. Both should be back in the lineup after serving one-game suspensions. Wide play has been the centrepiece of the Nine Stripes attack this season, as they lead the league in successful crosses and corners (53) as well as total crosses and corners attempted. A look at the crosses and corners from the last match where both N’sa and Abzi were available, against Cavalry on May 29, shows this in action.
Atlético Ottawa wins: 0 || York United wins: 1 || Draws: 6
May 10, 2022 — Atlético Ottawa 1-1 York United (6-7 after penalties)
“I think that target is so clear, to be the most complete team as we can so that we are capable to adapt to any scenario and to bring the three points home.” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González