The Forward Press: Transfer Rumblings and Tactical Possibilities for Pacific Clash

The Forward Press: Transfer Rumblings and Tactical Possibilities for Pacific Clash

Atlético Ottawa face a tough test in Pacific FC, the team which shepherded Atleti out of the Canadian Championship back in May. Pacific were the first team to nullify the Atleti threat at the start of the season, playing out a stifling 0-0 draw at TD Place. Since a hot start in which Pacific did not allow a goal for five straight league games, the Tridents have fallen down the table to fifth place. Having lost the previous two games and with a semi-final clash against Vancouver Whitecaps looming Wednesday night, Atlético Ottawa will be tasting blood in the water as it eyes up a much different Pacific side to the rock-solid defensive side which absorbed and countered Atleti towards the start of the season. Pacific will still seek to clog up the middle of the park, forcing ATO out to the wings, and Coach Carlos González joined the presser and talked a little about his weapons on the wings and the tactical options he may choose to employ. Here are all the details from the pre-match presser:

Photo Credits: Phil Larivière

The Quotes: Carlos González

On Pacific: Well, I think that we've seen a very solid Pacific, a team that is difficult to break. It's true that they are losing a little bit of power offensively and they are not scoring very easily, but they are very competitive and they are a team that if you are not in your best version, they can punish you and they can take points from you.

On going again after Forge: We give a couple of days to the players. They deserve it to rest a little bit and to disconnect mentally after a couple of demanding games in a couple of demanding weeks. We felt that the team came back full of energy. We've trained already three sessions and the feelings have been really, really good. I think that the team knows that we are in a very important moment of the season, that we cannot relax, and that we have to be very demanding individually so that we can help the team.

On Dani Morer: Every time a player does well, you have him in your plans for the future, and maybe he can give more to the team. We will see. It all depends on the opponent that you play, on the game plan, on the fit players that you also have. At the end of the day, that is multifactorial, but I think that Dani is doing his job, and that is the important part in which he's impacting the team when he's out and he's taking the advantage.

On the possibility of playing both Del Campo and Salter: Yeah, of course. Why not? I think that this is another possibility that the team has. I think that Sam is a more versatile player than Ruben. Ruben, for me, his profile is more like a nine, and Sam, his profile has a little bit more versatility, so he can play in both wings or up front. So why not see them in the future doing a good couple in the attack of the team?

On potential transfers: Hopefully maybe we can have something to improve the team. We're working on it. I think every single team is working on doing their job in the front office so that they can have a better squad. We are doing our job, and let's see if we can have a new addition; one addition or a couple of additions to improve the team.

Photo Credits: Phil Larivière

The Big Takeaway: Need More Morer

There are too many intangibles at play to discuss the transfer rumours, so instead let's talk about González’s tactical approach ahead of Pacific. As noted earlier, Pacific attempt to clog the middle of the park, so crossing and set-pieces will be an asset. 

Enter Dani Morer.

It would be a surprise not to see the Spaniard start after another confident performance off the bench, with González saying his starting spot “depends on the opponents you play, on the game plan.” With Morer boasting a 50% cross-to-goal conversion rate, joint-leading the squad with three assists in 740 minutes less than Ollie Bassett, the only other player to have three assists, it feels criminal that we haven’t seen more of the Spaniard. 

González touched on the factor which has kept Morer to only one start this year, saying that it depends “on the fit players you also have.” With a reportedly near-full squad at González’s disposal, there are certain players who demand to be in the starting XI, and many of them play in a similar position to Morer. 

One more surprising option in that position has taken the form of Sam Salter, who has impressed recently playing off of striker Rubén Del Campo, and it was interesting to see the enthusiasm with which González approached this opportunity. One can expect Salter to continue to operate not as the focal point, especially as a tactical change midway through games. Hopefully it brings results for Salter and for the team.

Kickoff for the beach party against Pacific FC is Sunday at 1 pm at TD Place, and there will be drinks before and after the match at the Glebe Central Pub. We hope to see you there!

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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