The Forward Press: Spirits High Despite First League Loss

The Forward Press: Spirits High Despite First League Loss

We knew the streak couldn’t go on forever, though I think if you were to poll each member of CCSG, you would find York United scoring pretty high on the ‘just not them’ list. In truth, it wasn’t a match full of negatives, in fact Atlético Ottawa looked markedly better than a number of prior occasions in which the club has scraped out points. Atleti started on the front foot in the first half, but a lackadaisical performance in the opposition box resulted in 16 touches inside the 18 with no goals to show for it. Meanwhile, Brian Wright was given two chances and dispatched both ruthlessly. Twenty of 21 shot attempts went begging for the capital city club when the dust settled, with a stabbed finish off the boot of Amer Didić representing Atleti’s only marker of the match. Nate Ingham was between the sticks for the second match in a row, and he and Carlos González joined the post-match presser afterwards to try and make sense of the proceedings. Here are all the details:

Photo © Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

The Quotes: Carlos González

On where things went wrong: “Mainly in the boxes. I think that we were better than York in every single action of the game, but not in the boxes…I think that the game was defined on that. I'm pretty satisfied with the image that the team gave. I think that we show again, that we are a dominant team, a team with a clear identity.”

On rumours of signing Sean Rea: "The only thing I can say is that Sean Rea is not in the locker room. We only have 22 players at the moment, and he's not there."

On the importance of bouncing back: "We knew that this situation could happen. At the end of the day being undefeated for so long a period is hard to maintain. Also opponents, they play against us wanting to win (against) us more than ever and this is a reality. So I told the guys during the week that we have to be better if we want to maintain our streak. Now the streak has finished, we have to focus on the process, focus on being a little bit better on the details and continuing the growth of the teams that what we're building is pretty good.”

On learning from a loss: “We were trying in these months to find internal motivation every single day. And now we have a reason externally: we've lost, we have to bounce back and this in a certain way is good and positive for the team you know, we cannot feel that we are invincible. We cannot feel that we can play not in our best and we have to feel that every game is going to be tough in this league and yet we have to be prepared.”

The Quotes: Nathan Ingham

On initial emotions: “Super disappointed. I thought we deserved more out of the game. I thought the boys played well, I thought we did a lot of things really well and unfortunately, didn't go our way. So this is life. The streak ends, a new one hopefully can start now and we move on. A lot of positives to take out of it and a lot of disappointment but not going to lose too much sleep over it. We’ve just got to move on. We’ve got a tough couple coming up.”

On returning from injury: “It was a weird injury because we had trouble diagnosing it. It ended up being a nerve issue…It happened in Mexico. So I was playing wrapped up and not at 100% for a good while before I finally took a break. And coming back and feeling 100% healthy has been amazing. Just going to practice every day and not waking up in pain, it's been nice. I feel like my fitness is good. The medical team here has been great, the coaching staff has been great. And I think we've handled it as well as we could have.”

On swirling wind conditions: “The wind was weird today. I don't know how many people noticed. It was a bowl…The balls over the top play differently. Everything kind of changes. Then it was kind of going sideways. It happens at Forge with the open stadium. And sometimes you'll see the corner flags facing each other with the wind, which is very strange. We got a glimpse of that today. So on field level anything under the crossbar felt like it was playing true. And then everything up in the air was different each time.”

Photo © Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

On being five points clear of second place: “We're in a great spot. It's easier to pick up points earlier in the year…You’ve got to value each game the same way. It's something I picked up from Jimmy Brennan when I played for him years ago. Get them early and often. And when you get tired and you have injuries and things happen late on the road, you get into September and early October, it is really difficult to get points from anyone. So stacking them up early puts us in a very good spot.”

Ingham ended the press conference referencing a quote CarGo had made in 2022 which had become a motto for the team. 

“It said, ‘Victory hides what defeat shows,’” Ingham said. “That's the reality. When you’re winning, when you’re getting draws, you can do things wrong but you end up with three points and everything's happy days. But when things go wrong, you start pointing fingers,” he explained. 

Ingham elaborated how he thinks the team has done a great job at setting a baseline without setting expectations too low or too high. “If you understand statistics, the reality is you’re going to drop points at some point in the year. What we’ve been trying to do is show up with the same mentality, the same work rate every day and giving yourself the best chance to win each game,” he said. 

With only six days to prepare for the next match, sights will be set on Cavalry FC next Friday with a hopefully reignited desire. The fixture represents a massive opportunity for the club to test the professional standard Ingham spoke about. Perhaps a league loss was just what the team needed to recapture some of the ruthlessness which was being exercised regularly early in the season. González touched a few times on recapturing the spark as performances started to fade, and losing to York could provide precious kindling for the capital club. It’s one of more than a few silver linings which can be gleaned from the performance. 

Photo © Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

Elsewhere, Dani Morer started his first match and looked composed as he took up positions all along the right-hand side and even drifted more centrally. De Brienne was up to his same old tricks as he continued to build on his fine form – the defender contributed 10 duels won, went 4/4 on tackles and created two chances. Both González and Ingham shared that they believed they created enough to win the match, and if ATO continue to put out performances like these, rest assured the wins will flow in far greater numbers than the losses ever could. We go again next week! 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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