Rainy Nights in Longueuil: OSU Atletico Fall to 1-2 On The Season
Coming off of a promising yet disappointing loss last week to Royal Selects Beauport, Ottawa’s Ligue1 Quebec side, OSU Atletico, once again fell the way side while on the road to CS Longueuil, four-nil.
Saturday began with some bittersweet news coming from the OSU lineup sheet; Atletico Ottawa prospect and OSU star Jaeden Mercure will no longer don the red and white stripes of his L1QC team. Earlier the week, Mercure signed to the Australian third-division side, Launceston United SC, on the northern end of the island of Tasmania.
Taking his place on the roster was Eric Yoseke, described by OSU coach Peter Mapendere as a promising young talent from Ottawa’s reserve side with a strong potential for a full-time promotion. When asked what the opportunity meant to him as a new player in the program, Yoseke began by commending his teammate Mercure, while adding that he himself “has been working for [an opportunity like] this” and that after “watching the team [last week] I was just hoping to get on the field and help out.”
After making the two-hour commute through Quebec’s southern mainland to Parc Laurier, a hopeful Ottawa squad would find themselves on the receiving end of a Longueuil team eager to exploit mistakes made by the visitor’s back line.
The storm clouds rolling in from the west ended up following Ottawa in more ways than one and just like the rain that began to fall later on, the goals began raining down as well.
Not three minutes in and Longueuil would already be up by one as a long ball caught an aggressive Ottawa defence off-guard, leaving it up to Longueuil’s Jordan Ogla Mbala to tap it home past OSU keeper Jacob Simmons.
This would mark the start of a night to remember for Ogla Mbala as before the game was even a third of the way in, the Longueuil striker would knock home two more past Simmons on his way to a hat trick.
A calm, collected, and experienced home side would continue to hold the possession numbers the entire half as an already feisty OSU would turn to frustration causing foul after foul.
While ultimately few of these fouls would end up being of any significance, Ottawa’s Anton Pellerin-Petrov broke the cardinal rule of defence in footy, being never to break up a promising goal-scoring opportunity with a foul.
But alas, Pellerin-Petrov grip on Longueuil’s Charles-Emile Brunet jersey was enough for referee Sheila Couture award Brunet the free kick and Ottawa their first red card of the season.
After another five yellow cards and a short scrum between the sides at the ’31, the first half would come to end with the 4-nil scoreline. That fourth CSL goal was conceived from a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box that flew in to the top left corner behind Simmons.
Going into the second half, a tactics change by OSU coach Peter Mapendere led his side to fall into a 4-4-1 formation to fully implement the more defensive playing style associated with their parent club, Atletico Ottawa.
This ‘Anti-‘ or ‘Brexit-‘ style of football – one where a team’s only offensive pushes come from counterattacks and the focus in on denying opposing chances – put Atletico Ottawa in the spotlight last season, with some claiming their style to be “boring”.
When asked about whether he thinks his team plays better in a defensive posture, OSU Atletico captain Miles Cornwall said that him and his teammates have “been trained in that style of the ‘mid block’… and so it helps us press on the counter and try to create as many chances as [possible]”
But it is undeniable, both for Ottleti and their League1 Canada affiliate, that it works well in limiting goal scoring opportunities for their rivals, as CS Longueuil were held back to a seldom few chances in the second half, while Ottawa were nearly able to capitalize on four occasions.
Unfortunately, none of those chances came to fruition and OSU would return home with zero out of three available points.
After the game, CSL captain Jonathan Hurtis said that his team had not truly changed their modus operandi from one half to the next, no matter the score line. “From the start of the game we wanted to score, to replicate our win from last weekend”, referencing CSL’s 1-0 win over AS Blainville.
“We wanted to come out and make a difference quick, and we did that with four goals before half. Going into the second [half], we knew we had to stay serious, respect our opponents, all the while still playing our game.”
For his counterpart, OSU’s Cornwall views his team’s youthfulness as both a blessing and a curse. To him, Ottawa’s downfall came from a lack of experience in certain situations combined with a need for stronger communication between its 11 men. The team at large would later agree that their attacks were unequal and disorganized.
“No matter where we are, it’s going to be us against the world as we are the only Ontario team in a Quebec league. We understand that we need to come together, communicate more, and execute when the time comes” said Cornwall.
That time might come as soon as next Saturday as OSU make the trip back to Greater Montreal to take on AS Laval, who currently sit 0W-0D-3L.
As for CS Longueuil, they will continue their 2023 campaign in Joliette, QC next Saturday, taking on CS Lanaudière-Nord, this time with an over .500 record.
Header Image Photo Credit: Mohammed Taha / @mohammed.photographe
[Author’s note: the interview with CS Longueuil captain Jonathan Hurtis was conducted in French and then translated from French to English for the purposes of this article. I would also like to thank Mohammed Taha (@mohammed.photographe on instagram) for granting me permission to use his photo for this article.]