The old saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” For Atlético Ottawa and York United, by the end of Wednesday night, the third draw in three matchups between the teams, some things felt the same, but others were undoubtedly different.
In a matchup that one Twitter account dubbed “ONRoute-ico,” York United (4-6-5) entered TD Place fifth in league standings and on game two of their four-game road trip trying to avenge a disappointing 3-1 loss to Forge FC on Saturday. For Atlético Ottawa (3-4-8), the season has not been as kind. Despite pulling out a 2-2 draw against Halifax on Sunday, the side still sits at the bottom of the CPL standings and enters this homestand with visions of a winning streak to push them back up the standings.
There were two former U SPORTS players in each of the starting eleven with Zach Verhoven (UBC Thunderbirds) and Matthew Arnone (York Lions) for Atlético, while Dominick Zator (Calgary Dinos) and Isiah Johnston (CBU Capers) were on the pitch for York.
In a nod to the future of U SPORTS, Jaeden Mercure entered the night on the bench for Ottawa. The 18-year-old signed a developmental contract with Atlético Ottawa on August 10th and will join the MacEwan Griffins soccer program in the fall.
After conceding a penalty kick to Joao Morelli in the second minute against Halifax Wanderers on Sunday, Ottawa’s head coach might have been hoping for a quieter start against York but the beginning of the night was not without excitement.
Just three minutes in, a York United cross brought the entire Ottawa defence together to make three stops in front of Teodor Obadal. At the same time, not even moments later, the red and white stormed back down the pitch for a direct Brian Wright shot that got smothered up by Nathan Ingham in the York net. In the 18th minute, though, it was a sneaky pass into the box from Max Ferrari, fresh off a contract extension with York until 2024 that slipped by the foot of Matthew Arnone and landed squarely in front of Michael Petrasso, who made no mistake and gave York the early 1-0 lead.
“Nicholas did a good job back-heeling it to me, I saw Mike make the run, and it was a great finish by him, a great team goal,” Ferrari said. The teams traded a few more chances, but it remained 1-0 York heading into the second half.
The final 45 minutes kicked off with Atlético showing some jump. Despite an early yellow card handed out to Tevin Shaw in the 51st minute Miguel Acosta jumped on a bad giveaway from former Calgary Dino Dominick Zator and buried it to tie the game.
Just eight minutes later, a great pass right to the top of the Atlético box connected with Alvaro Rivero, who chipped it over a very far out of his box, Teodor Obadal. With Dylan Powley unable to dress, it left the 19-year-old Obadal, the only available keeper for Head Coach Mista’s Atlético roster. The young Serbian had an up and down performance throughout the night in just his second appearance in the Canadian Premier League.
The game looked like it might be out of reach for Atlético late until Malcolm Shaw stepped up again. Fresh off being the hero with a late penalty kick on Sunday to tie the game vs Halifax, Shaw fought through deep York pressure off a feed into the box before curling and dropping a shot into the low right corner past Nathan Ingham.
For Mista, the ability of his team to come back from deficits has stood out the last two nights “You always have some mistake or some problem, but the deal is the reaction you have when you have a problem or make a mistake.” Mista said, “I love when they have the reaction and that they continue fighting. It doesn’t matter if it’s minute twenty-five or ninety-four.”
On the other side, despite his team’s strong play throughout the night, conceding a pair of leads left Coach Jim Brennan longing for more from his young York roster, “They are resilient, they’ll keep going until the end, but the thing is you’ve gotta learn to keep the lead.”
U SPORTS on the pitch
For the four former (and one future) U SPORTS soccer players who took the pitch it was a quiet night on the offensive end and a rough showing on defence. Dominick Zator had one shot on goal for York United, but his giveaway directly on the foot of Miguel Acosta allowed Atlético Ottawa into the match. Matthew Arnone came close for Ottawa but could not grab the Max Ferrari pass that led to the first York goal but nearly made up for it in stoppage time with a last-second header that landed just inches above the crossbar. Jaeden Mercure made his Atlético Ottawa debut in the 76th minute, coming on for Brian Wright.
- York United heads out to the east coast for a Monday night matchup vs Halifax Wanderers, Kickoff is at 7:00
- Atlético Ottawa is off until Wednesday the 8th when they look for revenge vs Forge FC after falling 4-0 on August 25th : Kickoff is at 7:00pm.
Cover Photo: (Atlético Ottawa / Freestyle Photography / Andrea Cardin)