Raise your hand if you thought Atlético Ottawa would be fighting for the top spot in the Canadian Premier League table after 10 games this season. Now pat yourself on the back, you were right.
Their goalless draw against York United at TD Place on Tuesday night earned them another point and a brief berth at the top of the table with last season’s champions Pacific FC. Both teams have 18 points so far this season, with Atlético playing one game in hand. It’s a complete turnaround for a team that ended the 2021 season in last place.
Cavalry FC have recently overtaken Atlético and Pacific FC to take the sole title for the time being.
“It’s good. You know we’re in a good place…being unbeaten five times is great, what the staff is doing, what the group is doing, having an experienced dressing room goes so far,” said goalkeeper Nathan Ingham made four stops to seal the goal against York.
“My goalkeeper coach will be happy, he deserves a lot of credit for that. We work really hard to be in a good position and get those results. They were reflex saves,” Ingham told reporters after the game.
Ottawa dominated the first 25 minutes of the game without creating any real scoring chances. York United responded with a strong game of their own in the Atlético final. However, neither side really generated much and ended up goalless.
According to Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos Gonzalez, Ottawa let York United impose their rhythm. The team tried to make some half-time adjustments but they were having trouble pressing, he said.
Gonzalez was pleased with the five-game unbeaten streak but noted that the coming weeks will be more difficult.
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Referee Mathieu Souaré made himself felt during the game and showed 10 cards, two of which were red.
Atlético captain Drew Beckie was thrown out in the 82nd minute after a second warning. Beckie has already served a red suspension this season.
Apologies to my teammates, our fans, our staff. I pride myself on a strong, clean defense. Haven’t had a red card for ten years in my career and this year, 2. Don’t get it but I’ll see you back on the field as soon as possible.
Cédric Toussaint was also shown red 10 minutes later for a tough tackle. In reality, Gonzalez added, this wasn’t a dirty game that dealt too many unnecessary cards.
Ottawa travels to Alberta on Sunday to take on winless Edmonton FC.