Atletico Ottawa 0-1 Forge: Hammers Win Late On
In what was the pair’s first league meeting since last October’s CPL final, the Hamiltonians once again continued their dominance over the capital club.
Both teams went into this match off the back off 2-0 away defeats: Ottleti fell to Cavalry at Spruce Meadows last Sunday with goals by Sergio Camargo and Daan Klomp, and such Ottawa coach Carlos Gonzalez opted for three changes to his side, all of which came further up the field.
Forge, who lost to CF Montreal in one of Wednesday’s Canadian Championship semi-finals, had a whopping seven changes to their starting eleven. This was consistent with what Bobby Smyrniotis has done with the team all season, regularly rotating players. The most notable of the changes was a debut being handed to Malcolm Duncan.
While the first half was largely void of major opportunities, it was the visitors who nearly found themselves in front minutes in. Kwasi Poku played a cross that Duncan could not direct on goal. That would be Forge’s warning shot to Ottawa moments into the contest.
The other noteworthy goalmouth action of the opening interval came to Forge’s captain Kyle Bekker. Afforded too much space in the midfield, the skipper went for goal from a good 30 yards out. The low strike just went wide of Sean Melvin’s right hand post.
Just before halftime, Bekker found Terran Campbell with a lofted pass, which the striker headed straight to Melvin. It was a half chance, but given the position Campbell was in, he would have done well to get a proper header past the Ottawa keeper.
The hosts came out of the locker rooms with renewed energy, putting Forge under siege for the first 20 minutes of the second half. Their first major chance came seven and a half minutes in. Gianni Dos Santos was in on goal, with his shot forcing a save from Triston Henry. The latter also saved the follow-up from Zakaria Bahous.
Henry was kept busy for much of the second half. He was again called into action minutes later, as he flew across his goal to deny Ollie Bassett from a free kick. On the ensuing corner, Bassett went straight for goal, with Henry tipping the ball over the bar.
Just past the hour mark, Dos Santos was in once again. Miguel Acosta’s long ball was expertly controlled by the Ottawa attacker, who was once again denied by Henry. Minutes later, it was Acosta himself who had an effort denied by the Forge number one. Having made eight saves in the match, Henry was the far busier keeper of the two.
The game changed at the three quarter mark of the game, as Smyrniotis brought in David Choiniere and Tristan Borges. That brought some spark into Forge, who started to look more like themselves. The introduction of both wingers saw the away team dominate and look more dangerous as the game came closer to a close.
The goal would come at the beginning of stoppage time. After dispossessing Ottawa defender Karl Ouimette, Bekker launched an immediate counter attack, playing the ball to Choiniere on the left flank. After cutting in, Choiniere found Borges, who faked a shot then passed it to fellow substitute Khadim Kane. The youngster’s shot was stopped by Melvin, with the ball falling to Choiniere. The Forge number seven took a touch to control then curl his effort in on a tight angle for the game’s only goal.
Ottawa nearly leveled the score minutes later: another Bassett corner was thwarted by Henry, yet the ball hit Bekker and fell to Ottawa’s returning captain Carl Harworth. Remarkably, Harworth’s shot was denied by Henry at point blank range.
That would be the last meaningful action of the game as Forge came away from TD Place with yet another win over Ottawa. The Hammers remain on top of the league table with 15 points from seven games. They will welcome York United to Tim Hortons Field on Wednesday for the second 905 Derby of the season.
As for Ottawa, despite an improved performance to other showings this year, they once again end up taking no points at home. They stay at home next Saturday as the Halifax Wanderers comes into town. At the time of writing, Patrice Gheisar’s side is still looking for their first win of the campaign, which could very well come in the nation’s capital.
Header Image Photo Credit: Freestyle Photography