Three Takeaways: Atlético Ottawa Won Crucial Road Playoff Game

Atlético Ottawa Won a Big Game on the Road Against Pacific FC on October 15, 2022

LANGFORD, BC – The Canadian Premier League champions Pacific FC, hosted Atlético Ottawa at Starlight Stadium. However, the game did not go as planned as Atlético Ottawa won the crucial road playoff game at Starlight Stadium.

Atlético Ottawa Won an Important Playoff Road Game at Starlight Stadium

Full Game Summary

Atlético Ottawa Shifted the Momentum When Ballou Tabla Scored

As good as Ottawa was in the first half, they got dominated in the second half. It was only after Ballou Tabla scored that the game started to change. That goal was scored thanks to a big mistake by Pacific FC goalkeeper, Callum Irving. Irving was too high off his line and Tabla took advantage of it as Ollie Bassett delivered a terrific pass.

  • Tabla almost scored in the 90+4-minute of play as he received a great pass from Malcolm Shaw.
  • Zach Verhoven scored in the 90+5-minute of play as he rocketed the shot past Irving and into the top corner.

The nation’s capital really had most of the possession in the extra minutes of the second half, which was why the team from Langford conceded the goal late. It also puts Langford in a tough position heading into next weekend.

Atlético Ottawa Did Well in the Counterattack

While Ottawa got nothing from their counterattack in the first half, it kept Pacific FC on its toes. There are many instances of this.

  • Pacific FC turned over the ball, which resulted in a Bryan Wright shot, which missed the target in the 16-minute.
  • They forced Pacific to turnover the ball in the 22-minute but were not able to take advantage of their possession of the ball.

There were also other chances in the first half. A turnover led to a corner for Atletico Ottawa. Ottawa then was able to find Ballou Tabla, who hit the post as it went out of the net. These instances show that Ottawa did its best on its road leg. They waited and when they got a turnover they tried to pounce on the opportunity.

Atlético Ottawa Played Good Defence and Goalkeeping

The defence and goalkeeping of Atletico Ottawa played a big role in them winning the game. In fact, they did not allow Langford to get a shot on goal in the first half. That is an impressive stat, especially when Langford was pressing early in the game.

  • Tissot intercepted the ball from Marco Bustos in the fifth minute.
  • Diego Espejo cleared the ball in the 28-minute.

Ottawa did not play as well defensively in the second half as Langford was the better team for that half until Tabla scored for Atlético Ottawa. Still, it allowed goalkeeper, Nathan Ingham to step up. He made a fantastic save in the second half.

Pacific only had two shots on target, but Ingham was ready when his calling was needed. That is also hard to do sometimes when goalkeepers are not tested much in front of the goal.

Other Factors

Pacific FC had many chances to score and turn the game around before Atlético Ottawa ended up scoring two goals. One moment could be the fifth minute, when Sean Johnson, skyed the ball wide in a dangerous scoring position.

  • Kamron Habibullah had a great chance but missed the target.
  • Marco Bustos got past Tabla, and almost scored, but the goalkeeper made the save and it hit the post.

The moral of the story though was that Pacific only had two shots on goal with 13 shots in total. The team from Langford will be wondering if they could have done more to get a result at home.

READ MORE: CPL and MLS: The growing relationship with Canadian MLS Teams

The Canadian Premier League Playoffs Resumes Next Week

Next Sunday, the second leg of the Forge FC-Cavalry FC and the Pacific FC-Atlético Ottawa game will take place. The Pacific FC-Atlético Ottawa game will take place at 2:00 p.m. ET at TD Place Stadium in the nation’s capital. This is while Forge FC will host Cavalry FC at Tim Hortons Field at 5:00 p.m. ET after drawing 1-1 at Spruce Meadows. Fans can watch both game live on OneSoccer and Telus.

This is also the third-straight time in knockout/playoff competition, that Pacific lost at home at Starlight Stadium. They lost to York United FC in penalties in the Canadian Championship and also lost to C.S. Herediano. The only home win Pacific had in playoff/knockout soccer this year was against the Jamaican side, Waterhouse FC, where they won 6-0 in their home leg.  As a result, Pacific FC now has a huge mountain to climb to defend the North Star Shield that they won last year against Forge FC.

Yes, the road goal rule is not in effect in the CPL playoffs. Even so, the Pacific team will have a tall task in front of them as they need to at least win by two goals on the road to take it to penalties. Ottawa is in the driver’s seat heading into next week. The season series though is in Pacific’s favour. They won two games and drew and lost once each against Ottawa. This included winning 1-0 on the road at TD Place Stadium. So even if Atlético Ottawa won a big game, they cannot be complacent next week at home.

Photo Credit: James MacDonald of Pacific FC on October 15, 2022.