Atlético Displays Impressive Resilience tying Match Against York United

During many of my one-on-one player interviews this season, a reoccurring theme in the discussions has been ‘playing the full 90 minutes’ — the idea of not giving up until the very end. That was on full display Saturday night as Atlético hosted York United FC.

York is a team that Atlético hasn’t been able to defeat all season; they have come out on the losing side in their two previous meetings. Early in Saturday’s game, that trend seemed to continue as York went up 1-0 in the 24th minute; two minutes later, it was 2-0.

The last time Atlético had two goals scored against them in quick succession at home was when Pacific PC scored twice in three minutes and went on to win 4-1. But that was in May, and a lot has changed since then.

Coming into this game, Atlético won four of their last five games, and a certain level of confidence has reemerged in the team. Falling behind lit a fire in Atlético captain Carl Haworth who responded with a goal in the 35th minute.

Canadian Premier League Manager of the Month Carlos Gonzalez must have had a very inspiring halftime speech as the team returned to the pitch even more focused. Haworth added another goal in the 59th minute, and there was a whole new game.

A bit of bad luck hit in the 62nd minute saw a shot on keeper Nathan Ingham bounce off the post, hit Ingham and rebound into the net. York’s third goal only gave Atlético more motivation.

In the 81st minute, Diego Espejo headed home the game-tying goal for Atlético sending TD Place into a frenzy.

The game ended in a tie and moves Atlético into 4th place in the league. The ‘playing the full 90 minutes’ attitude of Atlético was on full display throughout Saturday’s match. This a different club from the beginning of the year — they have found another gear.

The takeaway for anyone skimming the sports section is that the game was a tie, but it was so much more; the resilience of Atlético Ottawa is impressive.

The Atlético fans also deserve recognition. Section W, specifically — arguably the most passionate section of fans of any team in Ottawa — did their job. Walking by the section at halftime, I heard the person on the megaphone’s rallying cry, “We can do better. I need everyone on their feet!” These fans are on another level. Fan is short for fanatic, and they continue to live up to that title.

You are missing out if you haven’t experienced an Atlético game in person and live in the Ottawa area. The fans are engaged throughout the entire 90 minutes, and the team doesn’t quit; they are inspiring on and off the pitch.

The tickets are affordable, and you get more than your money’s worth. In fact, the entertainment fans received on Saturday might have us owing the team money!

Photos: Matt Zambonin, Freestyle Photography