May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024
Atletico Ottawa Manny Aparicio

Recap: Aparicio Brings Atletico Ottawa Opening Win Over York United

By on April 13, 2024 0 832 Views

The 2024 Canadian Premier League season kicked off in the nation’s capital on a wet and windy spring day, with a goal from York United’s Austin Ricci being cancelled out by a goal and assist from former Nine Stripes captain Manny Aparicio.

Host side Atletico Ottawa had assembled what many have called a ‘Super Club’, though it’s clear it will take time for the squad to fully gel. Visitors York United, meanwhile, entered under new ownership and looked sharp in the build-up, though consistency in front of net became a problem which reared its head once again in the club’s sixth season.

Both teams had a sampling of chances by the final whistle, but a late second half rise led by Manny Aparicio proved to be the difference as Atletico Ottawa kept the first three points of the season tucked home in the nation’s capital.

The first half saw the visitors earn the lion’s share of opportunities, with Austin Ricci missing what would have been a superb opening goal after a clever backheel from Max Ferrari, with fill-in centre-back Noah Abatneh missing a close-range header later on – two big chances that should have resulted in goals.

While there was positivity from York United’s chance creation, the ghosts of problems past continue to haunt the side when it came to being clinical in front of the net, with Brian Wright also failing to beat Ingham on a couple of less-set opportunities.

Austin Ricci would make amends for his earlier miss as the second half got underway, with the forward rifling in a tasty half-volley shot that flew low beyond Ingham to open the scoring:

The match tempo went full-tilt for a spell after first blood, with Ricci missing an easy set-up opportunity moments later before Ballou Tabla rounded the goalkeeper at the opposite end, ultimately losing control at the last moment and firing high over the open net.

The new-look York United backline, which included last-minute starter Noah Abatneh coming in for Frank Sturing, held Ottleti largely at bay as the Nine Stripes continued to seek a second goal, but Ottawa would rise up in the final thirty minutes.

The hosts would make good on an equalizer 25 minutes from time, with a scramble in the box following a corner kit finding Manny Aparicio free for a close-range header. That left little that debuting goalkeeper Thomas Vincensini could do after having just made a short-range stop on Sissoko:

While Atletico Ottawa’s ‘Galacticos’ lineup is clearly taking time to gel, its veteran experience like Manny knowing where to be that made the difference, while overall the new-look Ottleti lineup will need to work towards team chemistry and positional balance for what is a superb squad on paper.

The squad did have some tight passing on display, though while nearing danger areas a few times they were very limited in open play efforts. If they can fix the disconnect there, Atletico Ottawa will surely be a force to be reckoned with.

The heat between the two clubs boiled over when the match’s second team-on-team brawl spilled forth after Ricci bowled Twardek over, earning a yellow for the foul – and some choice words from the red-and-white.

Revenge would be a dish served immediately, with United’s defensive struggle with aerial balls allowing Manny to turn back inside the box and deliver a cross over to Twardek, who fired the shot into the corner of the net to give Ottawa a late lead.

There would be no more goals on display as TD Place wrapped up its first game of the 2024 CPL season, carving out what is just their second-ever win over York United betwixt some sixteen meetings.

A new-look team, indeed.

“It wasn’t a good half time for us,” admitted Manny Aparico after the match. “I feel like we went in [to half time] knowing it wasn’t enough, what we did. We just tried to fix some little things we saw on the field. We’re still learning from eachother, learning what Atletico Ottawa is as well.”

“We definitely had some chances against us, I think York did well to create a lot of opportunities. They weren’t able to capitalize, of course,” he continued. “It was good to see the boys suffer a little bit, but then pull their socks up, and then get in there.”

The seeds of promise are clearly there for the respective sides, but the engines weren’t purring in time for the cold open. On the night, however, Atletico Ottawa get all three points after doing just enough in the second half after underperforming in the first.

Up next for each team is no small task, as both will face silverware winners from last season. York United will host the first 905 Derby of the season against Forge, while Atletico Ottawa will remain in the capital to face Cavalry.

Header Image Photo Credit: Tim Austen / Freestyle Photography

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *