Match Analysis: Atlético Ottawa 0-1 Pacific FC


Final Score: Atlético Ottawa 0-1 Pacific FC
Goalscorers: Josh Heard (63′)
Game of the 2021 season: 13
CPL match: 148

Match in a minute or less

An inspired Marco Bustos led Pacific FC to their second win of the season against a disappointing Atlético Ottawa team in an entertaining match that kicked off matchday four in the Canadian Premier League. Brilliant Bustos and his right wing mate Kadin Chung caused Atlético problems throughout the match and contributed to the game’s only goal, finished off well by the in-form Josh Heard just past the hour. It would finish 1-0 but the game wasn’t as close as that scoreline suggests.

Three Observations

“BC Connection” on the right is a pathway to points for Pacific

If teams do not respect what Pacific FC have on the right and leave left backs isolated they are going to have a hard time against this team. The ‘Bustos-Chung Connection’ already had terrific chemistry heading into this season, were very good in their opening win of the season over HFX Wanderers and found another gear on this night. This sport is all about combinations and in Bustos and Chung this is a truly formidable pair in this league. “As a winger and a full back they have the best understanding in the league in my opinion,” said their boss Pa-Modou Kah post match. The pair dazzled in space found down the right against Mista’s team set-up in a 4-4-1-1 shape. Spaniard Rafael Nunez on the left of a midfield four can look dangerous going forward but often left back Vashon Neufville was left isolated in a two-on-one situation. A lot of this is down to the clever movement by Bustos who often finds time in the half spaces that forces opponent left backs to stay narrow and create a lane for Chung. “When Kadin has the ball on the right, I always know that space is there for me inside,” admitted Bustos after the game. “For me he is the best right back in the league, we have a good understanding of our play. He has a football brain and the way he plays creates space for me and the way I play creates space for him, the ball does the work.”

As early as the fifth minute, Chung’s cross into Terran Campbell forced a save from Dylon Powley, the two Pacific dangermen combined again twice more soon after with attacks only denied by defender Drew Beckie who admitted later that they needed to get more pressure out to the ball and, in particular, to Bustos. The second half saw the trend continue, Chung dancing around Nunez before supplying a chance for Matteo Polisi and soon after the Spaniard allowed him to dribble into the box far too easily again. Mista’s men could do little to stop it and in the 63rd minute the inevitable happened as Chung found Bustos in a dangerous position and the Winnipeg born man went to work. Full of confidence, he picked up the ball in his favourite inside right slot, dribbled towards the penalty box making two important touches, looking to shoot before understanding he couldn’t and using his third and final touch for a sublime pass that went through the legs of the unfortunate Milovan Kapor and into Heard who finished well. The goal showed a real glimpse into the maturation of Bustos as a player, slowing down in key moments before providing a crucial game-defining moment. It proved to be the most important chapter in a game that was full of Bustos and Chung stories.

 Atlético Ottawa still struggling to create

There are some positives to take from this team through four games but most of them come from a defensive standpoint. Drew Beckie and Milovan Kapor read the game well as a pair, young Canadian Keesean Ferdinand, who started at right back but was taken off at half-time, did well in the first half against Ollie Bassett, operating wide left, but struggled in possession of the ball, playing through the press and igniting attacks from deep and that epitomizes Ottawa’s struggles so far this season. Ben McKendry was outstanding in the middle of the park again, passing the eye test with the stats to back it up, leading the game in tackles and possessions gained but any real attacks of danger filtered out quickly for his team. “It’s still a work in progress but we need to be better in certain moments,” admitted Beckie and it isn’t hard to see where those moments are with the team scoring just twice through four games.

“We need to find solutions,” Mista admitted after the match explaining that exciting number ten Alberto Soto’s debut was delayed due to paperwork issues with his international transfer certificate. They hope he will be available this weekend but will still be without Ryan Telfer who this week qualified for the Gold Cup with Trinidad & Tobago.

Pacific find another level and continue to impress

It was certainly a day for Bustos and Chung to get the headlines but the collective performance by Pacific is one that will please their coaching staff the most. “Today we dominated from start to finish,” said a delighted Pa-Modou Kah after the game. He added it was one of the team’s best ever performances and no one could argue with that. Pacific know they want to become serious contenders in 2021 and with that comes expectations that top level performances on a consistent basis are required. After two good, but not great, games they found a new gear in this match and used possession with a real purpose. In Josh Heard they have a humble player who is in terrific form in front of goal and they controlled the midfield with Manny Aparicio sitting it out with a slight knee injury and Ollie Bassett playing the first hour in a more attacking left wing position. Lukas MacNaughton also had another terrific performance in defence and appears to have taken his game to another level this season as well. Player of the Match

Marco Bustos, Pacific FC

Wearing the captain’s armband for the first time he produced a magnificent performance, assisting on the game’s only goal that allowed him to just beat Chung to the player of the match award.

What’s next?

Pacific FC take on York United at 5pm ET/4pm local on Saturday July 10th while Atlético Ottawa take on Cavalry FC in the Come On! Match of the Week on Sunday July 11th at 9pm ET/8pm local, following Canada’s Gold Cup encounter against Martinique. Watch all games live on OneSoccer.