The Forward Press:  Didić talks of costly “growing pains” after Cavalry draw

The Forward Press:  Didić talks of costly “growing pains” after Cavalry  draw

Atlético Ottawa had the rug pulled out from under it late yesterday afternoon, letting two points slip out of reach in a scene all too familiar for the Atleti faithful. All things considered, there were signs of promise in the growing side against a particularly stiff competition, but ATO’s shifting formation put the onus on Cavalry to apply pressure in the final moments, and it was an unfortunate Kris Twardek own goal which proved costly. Maxim Tissot will rue his late missed opportunity, as he came in at centreback but charged through on goal from left back before seeing his chipped ball ricochet back off the post. The match could have gone either way in the dying seconds, but let's leave it to Carlos Gonzalez to parse out all the details. CarGo was joined by goalscorer Amer Didić in the post-match presser. Here are all the talking points:

The Quotes: Amer Didić

On the emotions in the dressing room: “Disappointing, especially against a tough team like Calgary. Every year, they're competing for a title and to be able to get a lead on them…And it felt a little bit different after the goal. We sat back a little bit more and absorbed pressure. It comes naturally when you're up. And I think we did well for the most part there. And unfortunate for Kris there, it just takes a deflection off his leg. It stinks.”

On defending in a back three or a back four: “I think as a player in the back line, you've been a part of a system where it's three in the back, five in the back, and obviously a back four. And so you know the roles, you know your responsibilities, and it's just about shifting during the game and doing it. All of us have been in situations where they've done it. I know Atlético usually play three in the back for most years, right? So I haven't personally played three in the back a lot, but…Everyone just understands the roles.”

On the build of the back line: “[We have] quality everywhere. And even on the back line, you have Max who comes in, and with the experience he has and the quality he has, it's nice seeing him come in in those moments. And you have Luke, again, a young guy and an exceptional player. Alongside Tyr, a young boy who's growing into the game and will be used a lot this season, and he's going to fit in perfectly. And everyone has trust in the kid, too.”

Photo © Phil Larivière

The Quotes: Carlos Gonzalez

On soaking pressure up in a back five: “We were feeling throughout the half-time that they were creating superiorities outside in the flanks. We tried to manage it in a different way throughout the first 20, 30 minutes. We managed it with Sissoko dropping a little bit more and changing the position of Sissoko and Ollie. But it's true that in certain moments, we were losing petrol and still they were creating those superiors and we weren't reaching to those spaces.”

On coming away with positives: “First of all, the main positive thing is that we are still a new team, and we are matching the team that was the regular season champions last year. I think that this is a very important aspect.”

On Bassett's position on the right wing: “Last season, he started in the middle and he looked a lot of situations on playing in the flank. Maybe this season, from now, he has been doing the opposite thing, starting in the wing and then coming into the inside. But it's true that in the second half or during the last 15 minutes of the first half, he started to defend as a striker…One of the things that we were looking for in the building of the squad is having players that they understand the game, not only in the inside channel, also in the outside channel. I feel that Ollie is a player that can create and has a very big impact in the team inside and also dragging his position a little bit more to the outside.”

Photo © Phil Larivière

On mentality: “Today when I went into the locker room, the team, they are angry. They are not happy with the point. They have the feeling of “we've lost the game.” I think that that's a very important and a very positive thing because it shows that we have winners in the locker room. It show that we have guys with a lot of personality, very ambitious.”

Some housekeeping to take care of, as TD Place got a first look at Malcolm Shaw in a Cavalry shirt. It was good to see him back, but equally as much a relief to not see him on the scoresheet as he popped up in some promising positions. TD Place also welcomed Tyr Walker to his first minutes on home soil after the twenty-year-old solely appeared in matches away from home last season. Didić had nice words for the youngster and his home debut can be added to a list of positives which will hopefully linger as the taste of those final moments subside. As Gonzalez was quick to point out, Cavalry were regular season champions last year and will be a force to be reckoned with again this season. Matching Cavalry's level with a team which we all know is still trying to find its feet as a collective is a promising sign. This point has been frequently reinforced by members of the ATO squad, with Amer Didić labelling the building chemistry as “growing pains.” At 6’4, we can trust he knows a thing or two about that.

Matches come thick and fast for Atlético Ottawa, and we don’t want you to miss any of them. The thus-far undefeated ATO rumble east for its first match of the season against the goalless Halifax Wanderers, with CanChamp on the horizon in the days following. The match against Wanderers can be caught at 1pm next Saturday – the first of many CCSG watch-parties at the Glebe Central Pub. We hope to see you there!

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