Tridents Return to Winning Ways Against Atletico Ottawa
Returning to the venue where their Canadian Premier League season ended last October, Pacific had one thing on their mind: revenge. They would get exactly that, as the Tridents topped Atletico Ottawa 4-1 at TD Place.
Both sides came off of 1-0 home reverses the weekend prior, with Ottawa losing to York United while Pacific fell to Forge. That meant three points were all the more important in trying to regain form.
Ottleti made five changes from the previous Saturday, with coach Carlos Gonzalez opting for a 4-1-4-1. Of the adjustments, the biggest ones came in goal and up front. Nathan Ingham picked up a knock in training, allowing for Sean Melvin to replace him between the sticks. Up top, Samuel Salter was replaced by Malcolm Shaw.
Maintaining their 4-3-3 shape, James Merriman’s Pacific made just two changes to the lineup. In the midfield, Manny Aparicio returned to the starting eleven, replacing Steffen Yeates. The other movement came at the top, where Easton Ongaro made way for Djenario Daniels.
The first goal came just just moments in. Miguel Acosta was caught on the ball by Manny Aparicio. The Pacific midfielder drove into the box, beating Diego Espejo in the process. Dragging Melvin out of his goal, Aparicio unselfishly found Sean Young, who tapped it home to give the visitors the lead.
Just two minutes later, the lead would double. Some good combinations down the left wing allowed Ayman Sellouf to play in Djenario Daniels. The Pacific striker found his captain Josh Heard in the box, the latter making no mistake to put his side 2-0 to the good.
Ottawa tried to get into the game after that, but struggled with Pacific’s press. The hosts did not trouble their opponents very much in the opening half, and were lucky not to be three down at the half hour mark. Heard was found in pockets of space, crossing to an open Daniels. Unfortunately for the striker, he fluffed his effort, ultimately failing to trouble Melvin.
The third goal would come in the 34th minute. After a poor clearance by Melvin, Sellouf was allowed too much space. The midfielder skillfully dribbled through three Ottawa players on his way to the box. The Dutch-Moroccan midfielder finished well, placing his shot in the bottom corner of Melvin’s goal.
In the start of the second half, Ottawa came out with more energy, taking the game to Pacific. They would get their goal just a few minutes after the restart. Former Pacific man Gianni Dos Santos played a short corner to Noah Verhoeven, who flicked it to Ollie Bassett. The Ottawa number 10 took a touch before firing a powerful show that beat Emil Gazdov. The young Pacific keeper will want that back, as he did get both hands on the ball. Yet, it went in, and Ottawa had some hope.
Over the next 15 minutes, the home side continued to carve out opportunities. Dos Santos forced a safe from Gazdov via a free kick as Ottawa pushed to get back into the game.
They would receive one last sucker punch at the three quarters mark: Sellouf played in a perfect corner, which was touched in by Amer Didic just before the ball crossed the line.
Ottleti kept on trying to muster more after the fourth goal. The best chance of the lot came from Dos Santos, who did well to beat to Pacific defenders before shooting just wide.
With the win, Pacific moves up to second place in the league table. The Tridents will return home to face TSS Rovers in the Canadian Championship on Tuesday. Following that, they will remain at Starlight Stadium as York United will come to town next Sunday night.
As for Ottawa, they remain bottom of the CPL standings after four games. Still looking for their first league win of the year, the 2022 CPL regular season winners will head to Vancouver FC next weekend to face the league’s newest team. Before that, they head to Hamilton on Tuesday night to face Forge FC in their Canadian Championship quarterfinal.
Earlier in the day, Valour and HFX Wanderers played to a 0-0 draw at IG Field. Despite outshooting the home team 12-7, the Wanderers will have to settle for what is their fourth draw in as many league outings. Valour also has a streak of stalemates, now at three.
Both teams will be off from midweek play, but the two sides will face tricky away matches next weekend. Valour will go to Tim Hortons Field to face Forge, while the Wanderers heads to Spruce Meadows to battle Cavalry.
Header Image Photo Credit: Tim Austen / Freestyle Photography