Atlético Ottawa has Found its Stride

In case you forgot, the Canadian Premier League (CPL) season is 28 games, and early on, Ottawa was in last place — emphasis on early. Atlético has taken nine points from nine available points lately and, just like Stella, has regained its groove.

The most recent evidence is their dominant win over Vancouver FC on Sunday. The crowd at TD Place witnessed Ottawa jump to ahead 1-0, a lead they held for 43 minutes. Vancouver tied it, and seven minutes later, Gabriel Antinoro shot Ottawa back in front. It’s impressive considering, as a substitute, he’d only been on the pitch for two minutes. The game ended 3-1 for Ottawa.

Reminiscent of the 2022 team that finished first overall, Atlético is becoming more comfortable battling back from adversity. The depth of the team was also on full display yesterday.

Ollie Bassett is one of the more recognizable names on the team; he is the reigning defending player of the year and one of the league’s top scorers, so it’s understandable. However, there is talent throughout this team: Miguel Acosta, who showed he can play left back or right back, started off the scoring; Trinidad and Tobago national team members Malcolm Shaw and Luke Singh always make their presence felt on the field; Nathan Ingham is a wall in front of the goal; and the list goes on.

Earlier this season, Atlético lost 4-1 to Pacific. In their second meeting with their west coast rivals, they tied 2-2. Recently they went to the second-place team in the league, Cavalry FC, and got a win on the road.

Perhaps the most noticeable change in Atlético FC is they have found their smile. Watching the team at TD Place, you can’t help but notice the happiness. Whether it’s how they interact with fans after a goal, the standard team locker room picture after a win, or their overall demeanour.

Earlier this season, OLM had the chance to interview Head Coach Carlos Gonzalez, and he said to “trust the process,” which has paid off.

This is a team sport. Atlético clicking as a team makes them a dangerous opponent for any CPL team.

Atlético Ottawa has found its stride and now sits in fourth place. Their performance last week, winning three out of three games, is a reminder that Atlético Ottawa is competitive and a legitimate contender in the CPL. Not exactly breaking news, more of a nudge, in case you forgot.

For tickets to Atlético Ottawa’s next home game against Cavalry FC on Saturday, July 29, at 7:00 p.m., click here.

Photo: Keith Whittier