Atletico Ottawa Reaches Playoffs For First Time Ever
Atletico Ottawa has achieved a playoff spot for the first time in club history.
The Canadian Premier League side hailing from the nation’s capital has enjoyed a stellar regular season campaign under the guidance of Carlos Gonzalez, who will surely be a favourite for the league’s coach of the year award award after converting the side from a bottom dwelling team straight into one which now enjoys the limelight of the top.
The decisive match was tonight’s 3-1 away win over Cavalry FC, whom they’ve been undefeated against all season.
The transformation began with a large roster turnover that included inaugural head coach Mista, with the club making several ambitious additions like former York United goalkeeper Nathan Ingham, who helped reduce the club’s goals conceded to just about half of what it was last year.
He’s also just one clean sheet away from being tied with league-leader Marco Carducci.
A much tighter defense in front of him has compounded these improvements, with two-time champion Maxim Tissot enjoying a great return to the capital amidst a rock solid defensive lineup that can count itself amongst one of the league’s best.
The midfielder saw former Pacific man Ollie Bassett carve out a team-leading eight goals, benefiting largely from a successful playing mentality that sees the club transition much faster and with more tenacity than the reign of Mista had been able to produce.
There were some doubts about Ottawa’s decision to hand former Barcelona prospect Ballou Tabla a three-year deal, but when the forward has been hot he’s been produced some sheer magic. Tonight saw him produce a prime example:
This year has also seen Atletico Ottawa strikers Brian Wright and Malcolm Shaw combine for nine goals, with no less than ten players contributing to the scoresheet this year.
While Atletico Ottawa may have the least goals-per-game ratio out of any top half team, combining that with the CPL’s best defensive record this year shows that the capital city club can consistently find a way to get results – and that’s a required ingredient for any championship run.
The club found itself at the top of the table weeks ago, with Atletico Ottawa doing well to secure their pole position after going undefeated last seven matches – though several of its closing fixtures came as draws.
The club will close out its regular season campaign against bottom half teams Halifax Wanderers and York United, which will give the team a golden opportunity to finish as the league’s regular season champion ahead of its postseason run for the North Star Shield.
Should they complete the feat, they’ll become the first expansion team to hoist the trophy before Langley has had an opportunity to kick the ball next year. Whatever happens next, Atletico Ottawa’s drastic transformation from worst to first is one for the record books.