Gonzalez Confident In Ottawa Turnaround: ‘There’s Nothing Major To Correct’
They’ve gone from worst to first and back again, but Atletico Ottawa head coach Carlos Gonzalez is confident his side will soon begin climbing up the league rankings.
While it’d be easy to be disheartened sitting in dead last, a single win this week could catapult his capital city club all the way to fourth. Such is the way in a league that, it seems, always has plenty of parity.
“There’s a fine line between a draw and a defeat. We were more competitive in the key moments of certain matches last year,” Gonzalez told Le Droit’s Jean-Francois Plante ahead of a training session. “The standings are still very tight. It looks like the key will be to climb the standings by three points.”
“Apart from Forge FC, who’ve had a great start to the season, nobody’s taken the lead yet. The team that can string together two or three wins in a row will quickly be propelled to the top.”
That was certainly the case for York United, who – like Ottawa – quickly found themselves in the bottom half of league standings as the season started up. However, the Nine Stripes have now scooped three consecutive wins to rise up to second place.
Atletico Ottawa hasn’t kicked into a similar gear yet, suffering four defeats from its opening seven matches. Should they lose against Halifax this weekend, they’ll tie their total loss count from the entire 2022 campaign that saw them finish as the regular season champions. Gonzalez himself picked up the league’s coach of the year after that.
“In most matches, we would have deserved better. The message is that we’re doing good things, but we’re not getting the results. So we have to be better. We’ve got to apply more detail to the way we play,” adds Gonzalez.
The club has had to endure most of its opening matches without a few key faces, with top goalkeeper Nathan Ingham sidelined, Haworth just returning from injury, and veteran Maxim Tissot missing out on plenty of the action. The upcoming Gold Cup could see Malcolm Shaw and Luke Singh pulled for international duty, too.
“We haven’t had a single day with our full team. We’re a team, but there are nights when the unavailability of certain players takes cards away from our game,” says the gaffer.
Down the highway, York United’s rise to form coincided with the easement of their injury count. While the results haven’t swung Gonzalez’s way yet, he believes that the tide will eventually shift back in Ottawa’s favour without any broad, sweeping changes being made to their approach.
“There’s nothing major to correct,” he surmises. “We need a good game against Halifax on Saturday. We’re motivated. Our fans deserve a first win at home.”
Therein lies, perhaps, one of the most eyebrow-raising stats: Atletico Ottawa’s last home win came back in August 2022. The next eight home matches all came without three points (or a league trophy) in the bag.
That last win came against Halifax Wanderers, making this weekend’s match the perfect time to pick up some of last year’s momentum. Samuel Salter scored that day, but for the blue-based visitors. This time around, he – much like his team – wants to get into gear for the home side.
“We’re quite hungry, we want to win some games and we’re putting in our best effort everyday in training to make sure we win games,” the striker had told us earlier. “We just have to be more consistent, and I think the results will come our way.”
Atletico Ottawa’s home match against the Wanderers will kick off at 7:00PM EST tomorrow.
Source: Le Droit
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques