The Forward Press: Fitness Frustrations and Grass Concerns ahead of Halifax

The Forward Press: Fitness Frustrations and Grass Concerns ahead of Halifax

Buckle your seatbelts folks because the Forward Presses will come thick and fast from here on out! The boys in stripes will travel to Wanderers Grounds today for tomorrow's match with Halifax, and some interesting questions were raised about the quality of the pitch and coach Carlos Gonzalez’s qualms with the refereeing so far this year. He sat down with the media Thursday afternoon, so without further ado here are all the important details from Carlos Gonzalez’s first pre-match presser of the year:

The Quotes: Carlos Gonzalez

On the injury report: “This is an issue that I'm a little bit angry because of last game...We have an injury on Kévin dos Santos that we are seeing what type of injuries it is still. But this was because of a bad tackle the last game in which we had four yellow cards and Calvary had zero yellow cards. So I don't want it to be a trend, but I felt in these last two games that the calls of the referees are not being as balanced as they should…But this is part of the game. We have to adapt and we have to think that they had a bad afternoon or a bad evening.” 

Photo © Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

On the difficulties of playing on grass: “Since we arrived from Mexico, we've played in turf all the time. But we've also been three, four weeks in Mexico working every single day in grass. And I don't think it's going to be a big handicap. I think that a lot of players are looking forward to playing on grass.”

On the game plan: “We have to maintain the DNA of being a tough team, a competitive team, a team that makes every single match difficult to the opponent. And at the same time, we have to try to step with the front foot to the game, knowing that there's going to be a difficult opponent in a hostile atmosphere, probably. I think we embrace all those things. I think that is the perfect start on the road, and we look forward to a great game.”

On the set piece dominance: “The set piece is very important for the growth of the team. It's a part of the play that maybe last season we were not as strong. Yes, in the defensive part, but not on the offensive. And it's true that this season we've added a lot of weapons, as you say, in this type of play.”

Photo © Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

On the initial 180 minutes of the season: “Four halves of games, and three of them were quite positive. I think that we I can say that in three of them, we did many things that we want to do. It's true that the last 45 minutes of last game were a little bit disappointing, and we lose a little bit the way that we want to play. But everything is a process, and it's normal that this type of situations appear.”

Still the message continues: trust the process and the chemistry will come. When asked if his team has been reviewing the tapes on a thus far toothless Wanderers to perhaps bring some new strategy to Wanderers Ground, CarGo was adamant that the most important thing was to build upon the systems instituted since preseason. The ATO attackers will be looking to exploit an injury-hampered Wanderers side with a back line which has so far looked a little uncertain. Nevertheless, Geiser's side got the better of Atleti twice last season, and CarGo will be hoping to return the favour with a positive result and (hopefully) some fair refereeing. Saturday will also mark the debut of the “Soccer Culture Kit.”

Atlético Ottawa will follow up the match in Halifax with a double-header starting against Valour in the CanChamp midweek and again in the league next weekend. We hope to see you on Saturday at the Glebe Central Pub at 1pm for the CCSG Viewing Party and again at home twice more in the following seven days.

About Ben

Ben Ralph is a die-hard football fan and a journalism student at Carleton. He has been supporting Everton through the ups and downs (but mostly the downs) and could not believe his luck when he stumbled across Atlético Ottawa in 2021. Now part of the Atleti faithful, his dream has always been to write football stories, and he is excited to join other fans as writers for CCSG. His football journalist idols are Adam Hurrey, James Richardson, and Charlie Eccleshare from The Football Cliches Podcast.

Read more