‘Rock Bottom’: Ingham Urges Focus For Atletico Ottawa
When Kevin Dos Santos prodded the ball over the line to give York United a last-gasp win over Atletico Ottawa, it must have felt like the movie Groundhog Day for the visitors.
Atletico Ottawa has now dropped results right at the end of five of their last six matches. The total falter in form has seen their mid-season resurgence dissipate entirely, with York United now leapfrogging over them to grab hold of the last playoff spot with one just game left to go.
Speaking to media after the match, Atletico Ottawa goalkeeper Nathan Ingham made no excuses for the team: things have got to change immediately if the club is to salvage their campaign.
“Tough’s not quite the word for it – I don’t know the word for it,” opened Ingham. “I’ve been playing for a decade and I’ve never felt like this. It’s sickening. It’s not a rollercoaster of emotions, it’s one. It feels like rock bottom.”
Five of the last six games have seen Ingham concede in the 97th, 91st, 92nd, 94th, and now 88th minute respectively – and against his former club, no less. Ottawa has grabbed just 2 of a possible 21 points since late August, slipping down to sixth in league standings. They’ll need to lean on a bit of luck and hope that York United drops their last match to Vancouver as the nation’s capital heads to Hamilton to take on three-time CPL champion Forge FC.
His advice to the rest of the Atletico Ottawa squad as they prepare for their final match of the regular season? Grow up.
“That’s the first thing I said to the group locker room when I got in there and everyone’s got their heads hanging. I feel like we’ve been feeling sorry for ourselves for a month,” he said bluntly. “We have no time for it. So pray to whoever you believe in that we get Vancouver to do us a favour, and we prepare this week like that’s what’s gonna happen, and we show up [to Forge] and we take care of business.”
“I don’t think at this point we deserve another opportunity, but if we’re given it I hope to God the locker room wakes up and we get it done, because it feels like a lot of guys are in the wrong profession right now if we can’t turn things around.”
Ingham firmly believes that the inexperience in the locker room is showing up, with the club having undergone plenty of offseason turnover including the sale of marquee forward Ballou Tabla. Having finished as last year’s regular season champions, a slow start to the campaign seen to have picked up pace with the addition of Alberto Zapater, but things have seriously regressed since.
“We have a talented group, and we’re trying to figure out how to get it right for today, which again, is a failure on the leadership team that we couldn’t get this done and couldn’t keep a clean sheet – that was our goal. We need to figure it out in a hurry for next week: so, different ways to motivate the group, different ways to figure that out, and and that’s what I’ll be thinking about on the bus ride home and preparing for next match so we don’t concede late.”
Following Nate’s criticism of the leadership team, head coach Carlos Gonzalez offered an interesting response when asked what triggered a fall from grace for the nation’s capital.
“The reality is that I can think many things, some of them I cannot share it today,” offered the gaffer. “But of course things have been going wrong. That’s a reality, if not we wouldn’t be in the in the situation, you know? What we have to think is that still we have one round, and if York doesn’t win their game, we still have it in our hands again. So let’s see how the week goes, what York doe on Saturday, and from that we will we will be build again.”
After strong word’s from a veteran like Ingham, it’ll be interesting to see how the squad reacts as they march into a final week of action with the odds now against them.
Forge will host Atletico Ottawa this Saturday at 4:00PM EST.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques