Atlético Ottawa Give Their All in 2-1 Defeat to York United

Atlético Ottawa Give Their All in 2-1 Defeat to York United

After a 9-game unbeaten streak, Atlético Ottawa suffered their first defeat of the season against York United, at TD Place on June 15th, losing 2-1. While it was bound to happen eventually, Ottawa dominated the match with 21 shots compared to York’s 8, making the capital club the stronger team on the field. The home side controlled play and could have easily won, especially in the second half where they spent the majority of play pressing into York’s final third, creating numerous chances until the final whistle. Despite the loss, Ottawa maintains their position at the top of the league table, leading second place by 5 points.  

York came out of the gates as the more aggressive team, earning an early set piece in a dangerous area in the 4th minute. Upon delivery of the free kick, Max Ferrari received the ball on the right flank and delivered a cross into the box. Luke Singh made initial contact, sending the ball high into the air but not clear of danger, and Amer Didić subsequently headed the ball out of the penalty area, where Brem Soumaoro collected it by the arc. Manny Aparicio jumped high to deflect Soumaoro’s shot but with his arm outstretched, he inadvertently gave away a handball. Orlando Botello took the resulting free kick and curled it over the wall, but Nathan Ingham was ready and dove to his left to safely collect the ball mid-air and quash the threat.

From this moment on, Ottawa dominated as the stronger team, creating numerous chances and controlling the pace of play, but they struggled to convert that forward momentum into goals. Their first opportunity came in the 10th minute when Matteo de Brienne won the ball from Josué Martínez Huerta and charged down the centre of the field. With Samuel Salter on his right and Ballou Tabla on his left, de Brienne had passing options, but Soumaoro intervened, fouling de Brienne just outside the penalty box. Ollie Bassett took the resulting free kick, but despite its power, it lacked height and struck the wall, to be cleared by Noah Abatneh. Bassett took another set piece in the 19th minute, opting instead for a short pass to Aboubacar Sissoko, who serviced the ball into the penalty area for Salter, only for it to be defended away.

Photo ©Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

After briefly regaining control of the ball in the 18th minute, York’s Botello sprinted down the left flank and passed to Juan Córdova, who flicked the ball centrally to Martínez Huerta. The midfielder quickly played it back for Austin Ricci situated in the penalty arc, and he took a shot that went wide of ATO’s goal.

Atléti dominated the next 17 minutes of play with four key sequences beginning in the 20th minute. To start, Dani Morer tracked down a rolling ball on the touchline, kept it alive, and delivered the ball into the box to Salter and Bassett, both unmarked and well-positioned to receive the pass. However, lack of communication resulted in both players going for the ball – Salter got to it first, but he hesitated before turning. Now under pressure from York players closing in, Salter tried to pass to Bassett, but his angle was off and Abatneh cleared the ball.

Then in the 23rd minute, Alberto Zapater launched a long ball from the midfield to Salter in the visitor’s box. Despite Elijah Adekugbe’s tackle, Salter controlled it and evaded two York players before aiming towards the near post. However, Thomas Vincensini was well-positioned to deflect the shot. Tabla followed up with a volley from the rebound, but the ball missed the target. A similar chance arose a minute later when de Brienne set Salter up for a left-footed strike in the box. Córdova slid in to block the shot and got his boot on the rebound, knocking Salter’s arm with the ball in the process, ending the play.

The final chance in said spell came when Zapater fed the ball upfield, this time to Tabla in the 36th minute. Tabla struck from the byline, aiming towards the near post where Vincensini caught the ball comfortably. This save proved pivotal for York United, as the resulting play shifted the momentum of the game.

York, now on the offensive, saw Ricci sprint to collect a long ball past Luke Singh and deliver a pass to Brian Wright, who was unmarked behind Didić in ATO’s box. A defensive lapse left Ingham vulnerable, prompting him to come out for a sliding save. However, Wright chipped the ball with the outside of his boot at the last second, sending it over the goalkeeper and into Ottawa’s net in the 36th minute to give York a 1-0 lead.

With one final push before halftime, Ottawa pressed on – in the 45th minute, Singh launched a long ball upfield towards de Brienne in the opposing box. Ferrari initially blocked de Brienne’s path, but de Brienne kept the ball in play near the byline, manoeuvred around Ferrari, and passed centrally. Salter received the ball and took a shot despite the presence of two York players closing in; he threaded the ball through Adekugbe’s legs, aiming towards the far post, but Vincensini was ready. The York keeper made the save by diving to his left, denying what would have been the equalizing goal.

Photo ©Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

Ottawa was the stronger of the two teams in the first half and continued to dominate possession in the second, taking 15 shots to York United’s 4 in the subsequent 45 minutes. York’s first shot of the half came in the 49th minute, with Ferrari advancing towards the top of ATO’s box and delivering a precise pass to Wright, who was unmarked inside the penalty area. Despite Atléti’s efforts to catch him offside, Wright shot from the 10-yard line as Ingham came out, and the ball sailed under the crossbar, such that York now was up 2-0.

Eager now more than ever to put Ottawa on the scoresheet, Sissoko found Morer on the right flank in the 52nd minute. Morer fired a low shot towards the centre of the box, and with Salter positioned too far forward to collect it, Tabla ran in and struck, hitting the top corner of the woodwork. Up until that point, his chance was the best Ottawa had mustered.

Four minutes later, Botello wrapped his arm around Sissoko’s chest and committed a foul that Bassett took about 10-yards out from the byline. The ball was headed out by York’s defence, and Botello took control of it at the edge of the box, finishing the play. ATO won another free kick in the 60th minute after Soumaoro tripped Salter from behind at the edge of the arc, but unfortunately Zapater’s strike was sent high over the crossbar.

With the game continuing to gain momentum and Ottawa applying pressure in York’s defensive zone, there were numerous missed opportunities to close the gap. In the 65th, Morer received the ball on the right flank and delivered a cross to the penalty spot, where Zapater positioned himself to head the ball. It floated harmlessly towards the centre of the goal, where Vincensini collected it comfortably from his line.

Ottawa was finally handed a lifeline in the 69th minute when de Brienne threw the ball into the centre of the penalty area. Despite being covered by two players, Didić controlled the ball, managed to execute a brilliant turn, and launched a shot into the top right corner of the net, cutting York's lead in half.

Photo ©Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

With new hope, Atléti continued to advance aggressively looking for the equalizer. In the 77th minute, Kris Twardek won a free kick after Botello brought him down with a challenge. Bassett opted for a short pass, and Rubén Del Campo took the shot said move had opened up for him, but it deflected off a defender. Del Campo had three other chances this half in the 62nd, 65th and 89th minute that were all saved.

Later on, in the 84th minute, and with all the action taking place in York's defensive third, Zapater received the ball from Bassett and played it to Didić above the centre circle. With ample space, Didić took a touch before unleashing a shot towards goal, forcing Vincensini to dive to low his right and parry the ball to the side. Tabla picked up the loose ball and passed it back to Bassett, who took a shot from outside the box that sailed over the crossbar.

In one of their final chances, Tabla crossed to the opposite side of the field in the 86th minute. Gabriel Antinoro kept the ball in play near the byline with a header, drawing Vincensini towards the near post and leaving the rest of the goal exposed. The ball moved centrally, but Frank Sturing intervened with a diving header in front of Del Campo. Twardek's resulting throw-in eventually found de Brienne, who shot from the corner of the box, forcing Vincensini to dive and parry the ball out for another corner. De Brienne had another attempt in the 90th minute, which Vincensini caught again. Unfortunately for Ottawa, they couldn’t convert their chances and dropped three points for the first time this campaign.

Atlético Ottawa faces Cavalry FC next at ATCO Field on Friday June 21st at 9 PM. These two teams last met in April where they shared points in a 1-1 draw. Come join the Capital City Supporters’ watch party at the Glebe Central Pub, where Ottawa will look to extend their gap at the top of the league table.


C.D. Girard (she/her/elle) discovered Atlético Ottawa during their 2023 season and has been a loyal fan ever since. A long-time admirer of the sport, she first began playing football at the age of seven and most looks forward to international competitions where she supports both Canada and the Netherlands.

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