Déjà-vu For Atlético Ottawa Who Share Points After Late Goal by Cavalry FC

Déjà-vu For Atlético Ottawa Who Share Points After Late Goal by Cavalry FC

Another rainy day in the capital saw Atlético Ottawa host Cavalry FC on April 20th, at TD Place for a 1-1 draw in the presence of 4,569 fans.

The nation’s capital team made history last week after beating York United for the first time at home by a score of 2-1. Unfortunately, supporters suffered from déjà-vu of last season in this game when the home team conceded a last-minute goal, tying the game 1-1.

The match was exciting, with an abundance of chances for both sides. From the moment Cavalry FC kicked off, we saw faster passing with more control and calmer plays.

The first opportunity came inside the first five minutes when Alberto Zapater fouled Sergio Camargo outside the penalty arc and Diego Gutiérrez’s free kick was sent high over the crossbar. The game quickly shifted the other way seconds later, when Zapater fed Samuel Salter the ball in the opponent’s end, who passed to Ballou Tabla open in the centre. Tabla was able to tap the ball past the goalkeeper Marco Carducci, only for the assistant referee to raise the offside flag, denying Ballou his first goal of the 2024 campaign.

Photo Credits: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

The Allstate Save of the Match happened at the 15th minute mark, after Camargo intercepted Nathan Ingham’s pass to Aboubacar Sissoko and the Ottawa goalkeeper was forced to make a fingertip save to prevent the shot from landing in the top corner of his net.

Only a minute later, Manny Aparicio performed a cheeky pass to Tabla who played it forward and registered Atlético’s first shot on target, which was sent into Carducci’s arms.

With the play quickly switching into Cavalry’s favour, their new signee and Ottawa alumni Malcolm Shaw passed to Bradley Kamdem on the right side of Ingham’s box, where the keeper, going to his knees, collected the ball.

The next ten minutes saw no shots towards net for either team until the 30th minute of the match, when Matteo de Brienne passed to Tabla who ran the ball up the left side of the field and spun free of the Cavalry defender Shamit Shome. Salter then met Tabla’s cross with his head, but sent it over the opponent’s crossbar.

Attacking once again, Camargo crossed the ball inside Ingham’s penalty area in the 31st minute, where the Ottawa keeper scooped up the ball in his 6-yard box. Three minutes later, Kamdem ran the ball to the back-line and kicked it to the near post where Shaw headed it into the outside netting. These plays highlighted struggles Cavalry endured throughout the game. 

The home side saw two more chances before the closure of the first-half, when a 35th minute foul by Charlie Trafford saw Ollie Bassett’s free kick enter Carducci’s box, which was cleared before Salter could get to it. Then, in the 37th minute, a run up the field by Tabla and a cross in the penalty area was defended away by Klomp.

The last opportunity of the half went to Cavalry in the 41st minute, when Camargo ran the ball into the box from the half-way line and sent a light shot towards the back post, which was effortlessly saved by Ingham.

Despite a 0-0 score at half-time, the game was tilted in the visitor’s favour, with the majority of the match played in Atlético’s end and had Cavalry outshooting Ottawa 2 to 1 on target. However, the home team was quick to rectify the imbalance after kicking off the second half, when a corner by Bassett went straight to Amer Didić, who headed the ball into the back of the net to give Atléti the lead at 1-0.

Photo Credits: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

In the 49th minute, Trafford tried to even the score, but his shot bounced directly into Ingham’s hands; we saw similar easy saves by Ottawa’s goalkeeper again in the 57th, 75th, 77th, and 91st minutes.

When Shome fed William Akio the ball who took the shot, in the 53rd minute, Ingham punched it away and, reminiscent of last week, the ball landed with opposing player Camargo at the byline. After some passing, Shome took another shot, but the effort was deflected by an Ottawa defender and sent wide of the post. Two minutes later, a Cavalry shot from outside the 18-yard was sent high and wide.

The game slowed down for the next half-hour as Ottawa looked to keep their lead. It wasn’t until the 82nd minute that the Calgarians began increasing their press towards the net and, after a few passes, Ali Musse attempted to set up Shome with a weak flick into the penalty area that saw Didić use his body to prevent Shome from reaching the ball and allow Ingham to pick it up.

The tension increased as Ottawa saw a fantastic opportunity in the 87th minute when a long cross from Bassett met Maxim Tissot who ran with the ball and, with Carducci coming out of his net, took the shot which hit the far post before the Cavalry defender cleared it.

Regrettably for Atlético Ottawa, in the 90th minute, Fraser Aird crossed a ball to his teammate Lleyton Brooks and in an attempt to block the pass, Kris Twardek redirected the ball into his own net, tying the score at 1-1.

Ingham was called to make one more diving save in the 92nd minute when a Warschewski pass to Musse was shot on frame. In one last attempt to win the game, Cavalry’s Aird crossed once again to Brooks whose header was sent wide of Ottawa’s goal in the final minute of added time.

Despite the draw, the game saw Cavalry FC with the upper hand, but nevertheless Atlético Ottawa had several great chances that could have easily put the team up by three before the own goal.

As a team, I think the players could improve on feeding the ball to the strikers, as I saw Salter playing deeper than he should be at times. I also noticed de Brienne struggled to find open players on throw-ins, due to a lack of movement from the receivers. Near the end of the game, the defensive line appeared disorganized and there were several signs that the team lacked communication.

Despite the above, which should resolve itself in the coming weeks, I was elated to see Bassett back to his old form. He appeared stronger in his passes, making two important crosses, the first to del Campo in the 78th minute and then to Tissot in the 88th, both of which could have resulted in goals; not to mention, Bassett assisted Amer Didić’s goal. Bassett was fluid on the field, playing more central at times and even finishing the first half on the left.

Luke Singh is another player who redeemed himself after making a couple of important saves and no obvious blunders with the ball.

My standout for the match goes to goalkeeper Nathan Ingham, who also won the Allstate Save of the Match. In a game heavily favouring the opponents, Ingham was challenged with sixteen shots, seven of which were on target, and he only let in one. He handled the pressure competently and kept his defenders well-organized for the majority of the match. I do need to point out that it’s two games in a row now that we see him punch the ball directly to opposing players; however, he can’t bear this burden alone, as it’s also his teammates’ responsibility to be proactive in getting into strategic places to prevent the opponent from intercepting the punch.

Photo Credit: Phil Larivière

After last week’s win, fans were quick to express dissatisfaction with the game’s results. However, I believe it’s important to remind everyone of a few important facts that should see us celebrating this draw. First, weather plays a large part in how the ball reacts on the turf and can significantly impact the quality of play, which was a factor in both games. Also, with the CONCACAF Champions Cup having started in February, Cavalry saw an earlier start to their season and have played two more games than Atlético in 2024. This matchup marked the second of a 28-game campaign for Atlético Ottawa, two games that were filled with great moments and exciting chances that will only continue to increase in future games as the team grows together after an offseason of significant change. 

Atletico Ottawa play their next game on the road against Halifax at the Wanderers Grounds on Saturday April 27, at 1 pm. These teams last faced off in 2023 where Halifax won 3-2, and Halifax currently sits sixth in the league table after losing their first two games of 2024. Be sure to join the Capital City Supporters for the watch party at the Glebe Central Pub, Atlético Ottawa's official home pub for the 2024 season, 779 Bank Street.

About C.D.

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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