The Forward Press: Record-Setting ATO Breeze to First CanChamp Win

The Forward Press: Record-Setting ATO Breeze to First CanChamp Win

Four matches into the season and Atlético Ottawa are already record setters. Just the type of performance we’ve all been waiting for. Atleti's 7-0 trouncing of a sorry Valour squad is the biggest ever seen in the Canadian Championship and means ATO ride into round two of the Competition to play a two-legged affair with Pacific. It was an all-round blinding performance from the Ottawa side, who jumped out to a four goal lead before the interval. There were so many players deserving of delivering their insight from the hallowed grounds of the Atlético Ottawa post-match presser. Zapater came inches from recording an extraordinary hat-trick, while Rubén del Campo netted twice and finally looks to be hitting stride. But it was Ollie Bassett who joined CarGo behind the microphone after also contributing two goals from the centre of midfield. Here are all the details from the post-match presser: 

Photo © Phil Larivière

The Quotes: Carlos Gonzalez

On impressions of the result: “I think that every player today did really good work. You know, a lot of commitment, as I say. A lot of ambition. The natural thing in this type of games when you're winning 4-0 in the halftime is to settle down; to don't give your best. And I'm very pleased on the ambition that they showed every single action of the game and the contribution of the different type of play that we've created something and also the players that come from the bench that they maintain the intensity that they keep working. So, as I say, we are giving the right steps.”

On bringing the same level on Sunday: “We know that tomorrow we wake up at 8:30am and we have to train back at ten in the morning. You know, maybe if we were a little bit more emotional today, we could give a day off and we could continue thinking on what we've done. But I think that now is the moment to think on what we have ahead. And that's why normality and keep working, maintaining the ambition of the guys and trying to help them as we can.”

On the fan turnout for a rainy Wednesday night : “It has been great to hear the cheer, the atmosphere that they create. You know, there was a moment in the second half that it was pouring rain and they were maintaining the volume. So, yeah, I think that we are building on a great fan base. I think that we are also growing as a club on that side and we can be very, very proud of the people that support the team.”

Photo © Phil Larivière

The Quotes: Ollie Bassett

On match impressions: “I think it was a performance that was maybe long overdue. We've probably started this season well, but I think at times we could be better on and off the ball and I think tonight, obviously, everything kind of came together. But yeah, it's a win and we have another game on Sunday.”

On taking preferred positions: “We obviously have a lot of good players this year and in a lot of different positions. We have guys that can play anywhere along the front line. We have midfielders that can play in midfield and also out wide. I think it's about finding the right balance for each game and each opponent. And I think wherever I'm asked to play or whether I'm in the middle or out wide, you know, always, you know, do a job and try and do my best for the team and I think as long as I'm on the field and enjoy my football, you know, that's the most important thing.”

On whether or not this was prime ATO: “We know the quality we've got and it was always going to take maybe a little bit of time to gel with certain individuals...You have guys that are starting to understand maybe a little bit more of the positions they need to take up on and off the ball. And I think it's something that's only going to get better the more we play with each other…So, yeah, it's obviously exciting times, but this is essentially done now. We have another game on Sunday that we're going to prepare for and we want to win that as well.”

On the support: “I've been here three years now and I think [it has] grown year-on-year and I think that's a credit to everyone that has put in the work to grow that awareness of the sport within the city. I've said so many times, I love playing here at home and I love playing in front of the fans and I think they give us that extra push that we need. It's nice to give them a performance that is deserving of their support. And yeah, hopefully people go home happy and we see them all back on Sunday”

On the Dragon Ball celebration: “It wasn't planned, to be honest. I scored, and then this is something that me and Ballou did in 2022 when we won the league. I'm obviously happy to be back playing with him and on his side of the field, He's a guy that I get along well with on and off the field and we try to understand each other's game as best we can and he's just a player that I enjoy playing with.”

Photo © Phil Larivière

In Gonzalez’s words, it was a “perfect” day for Atleti, and he will be hoping the team can churn out a similar performance again in four days as Valour FC returns to TD Place. We may see this play out completely differently, as the frustrated Phil Dos Santos and Valour will be looking for, in his words, a “fresh start,” and to tighten up on the errors that were Valour's undoing – including ATO winning possession six times in the attacking third. As for the Canadian Championship, Atleti will be back in action at home next Wednesday (May 8) for the first of a two-legged battle with Pacific FC, who bested TSS Rovers last night on penalties. One can only hope that the congested schedule can put some wind behind the Atleti sails and can provide us with more massive home victories, though as the match count ticks upwards, as will the importance of managing minutes.

As mentioned, the league is finally in full stride, with three Atleti matches across the next week alone. Two of these are at TD Place Stadium, so come down and join us as we look to keep the undefeated record alive and help to keep TD Place Stadium a fortress! More Forward Presses are to follow, but for now, Vamos Atleti!

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.

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