Royal Beauport Wins In 1-0 Upset At OSU Atletico Home Opener
In a season which Ottawa South United – now known as OSU Atletico – has a lot to prove, they have kicked off the 2023 L1 Quebec campaign off with promise.
Unfortunately for the capital’s semi-pro club, after a 2-1 win last weekend over CS Lanaudiere-Nord, visitors Royal-Select de Beauport would spoil the hosts’ home opener on Saturday at Carleton University’s Taag Park.
The sun was shining on the Atletico-affiliated side with a strong north wind balancing out the sunny skies accompanying heat. Though it truly felt that the real reason it was so hot was due to the intensity of the match.
Right from Referee Kevin Cabeceiras’ first whistle, the two teams complimented each other well. Unlike their parent club, Atletico Ottawa, Head Coach Peter Mapendere had his players in a 4-2-3-1, allowing his side to play more aggressively while also maintaining a strong back line.
Unfortunately for Mapendere’s side, with the wind as an uncontrollable variable, OSU’s deep balls down the wing followed by crosses into the box could not be capitalized on.
This is where Beauport’s coach, Samir Ghrib, tried to take advantage of his squad’s newfound playing style. Saying before the match, Ghrib knew that going into this game “[Ottawa] will be very much in their own heads as this is their home opener… we have a new team that is stronger than last year with better chemistry.”
Eventually, Ghrib’s new team – one described as having undergone a total reworking in the off-season – got the upper hand as a nice touch by Beauport’s Otian Gilchrist Dagnogo put the visitors up 1-0 at the half.
But unlike last year, OSU Atletico were not without their chances. As said by OSU’s Peter Mapendere, the new dynamics within his “incredible team” led two two fantastic opportunities, the first of which came before Beauport found the back of the net as a strike by Atletico Ottawa prospect Omar Darwish, wich from 25 yards out struck steel, bouncing down behind the Quebec keeper, off the goal line, and then out.
Another injection of intensity and talent came at around the 65th minute as Mapendere sent in his star striker and another Ottleti signing, Jaeden Mercure. The moment Mercure hit the pitch, there was a change in the pace of the home club that led to more opportunities in and around the Beauport penalty area.
Speaking on Mercure’s performance, Mapendere notes that he made the decision to keep Mercure for a late-game sub – as opposed to starting him – was to keep the team fresh. He adds that ‘I know with his pace and his quality, he can create chances out of nothing. He is excited we are excited about and can compete at the highest level.’
“That’s the difference between us today and last year. Last year when we looked at the bench, we couldn’t change the game, but now we have a bench with players who can come in and make a difference.”
The rest of the match would be defined by a tension between the teams, resulting in one yellow card a piece, and Mercure’s entry into the pitch. No matter what OSU threw at keeper Philippe Blouin, nothing could get past him and he held fast until the final whistle.
As explored in the off-season with OSU’s Craig Stead and Mapendere, OSU have made strides to improve their performance on and off the pitch, and it shows. The product on the field has become a noticeable threat to an opponents d-line and off the field their newly revamped relationship with their city’s pro club, Atletico Ottawa, has brought more eyes onto them, and it shows. A rough count of Saturday’s premier match had approximately 130 people in attendance for the home opener.
OSU now have to wait until the May 20 to get back in the win column as they travel to Longueuil, QC to take on CS Longueuil. Longueuil and Ottawa have had similar starts to their seasons so far: their first match against CS St-Laurent saw them go down by four in an eventual 5-1 loss followed up by a 1-0 over the reigning PLSQ Cup champs AS Blainville.
As for Royal-Select Beauport, they return home to Quebec City in preparation to host the black and gold of CS Lanaudiere-Nord.