PREVIEW: Atlético Ottawa vs Forge FC — Match #83 (ComeOn! Match of the Week)

2021 CPL regular season — Match #83
Atlético Ottawa vs. Forge FC
October 3, 2021 at 3:30 pm ET
TD Place, Ottawa, Ontario
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

After advancing to the next round of the Concacaf League in midweek, Forge FC turn their attention back to the CPL, and head to TD Place to face Atlético Ottawa in the ComeOn! Match of the Week.

Three of Forge’s last four matches have been in cup competitions — two Concacaf League legs and a Canadian Championship quarter-final win over Valour FC — with their last CPL match a 2-1 win over Pacific FC on September 25.Mo Babouli scored the opening goal six minutes into that match, before Tridents attacker Alejandro Diaz tied it up just before halftime. Coming off the bench for his long-awaited Forge debut, Omar Browne gave his new side all three points with an 80th minute winner.

That same night, Atlético Ottawa pulled off a 3-1 win over Cavalry FC, but fell 2-1 to HFX Wanderers in their most recent match on Wednesday. Ottawa have given up a lot penalties this season, and it was a shot from 12 yards out that again saw them fall into a hole. Golden Boot favourite Joao Morelli stepped up and buried a goal to make it 1-0 in first half stoppage time, before scoring a second goal in the 54th minute. Ryan Telfer scored for Ottawa later in the second half, but they weren’t able to complete the comeback.

With FC Edmonton drawing with Valour on Saturday, Atlético Ottawa are still just two points back of The Eddies, and can jump over them with a win.

This fixture hasn’t been all too kind to them, however, with Forge winning all four previous meetings — three of which have come in 2021 — and Ottawa failing to score on all four occasions.

Two of their three matches this season have come at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. In the first meeting on August 8, two goals at the end of the first half dug a hole that Ottawa were unable to climb out of, especially as Viti Martinez was sent off just before the break. Mo Babouli scored a penalty in the 39th minute, before Garven Metusala added a second for The Hammers four minutes later.

In their second meeting, Ottawa hung on for most of the first half, before another penalty — converted by Daniel Krutzen — put them down a goal at the end of 45 minutes. Woobens Pacius scored a pair of goals early in the second half, before Chris Nanco added a fourth for the home side to round out a comfortable victory.

Their third match — at TD Place, where Ottawa have been so good at home — was much closer, with Pacius again scoring against Ottleti, winning the game 1-0 with a second-half strike. The young striker has had their number, but with Drew Beckie back in the Atletico defence and in good form, they will see if they can shut him down this time around.

After Sunday’s match, the two sides will meet one last time on October 16th.

Make your match picks prior to kickoff at for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2021 CPL Final!

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  • Kyle Bekker misses out through suspension: Forge FC captain, and reigning CPL Player of the Year, Kyle Bekker won’t be available for Bobby Smyrniotis’ side on Sunday, as he serves a one-match suspension. While you always want a player with his abilities in your squad, Smyrniotis admitted that getting a day off isn’t the worst thing in the world for Bekker, who leads his team in minutes played in 2021. “He’s put in a massive effort, and you look at the effort that was just put down in Panama from him, just all across the park,” said the Forge boss. “Now we’re getting to the point where we’re almost fully healthy, and rotation is going to be needed in the squad. We’re competing in three competitions, and we want to make to make sure we’re competing for trophies in all three of those competitions, and to do that we need every body that we have. This comes as a little bit of a blessing, you never want to have Kyle Bekker out, but sometimes it makes the coaches job easier when he’s not able to put the shirt on.” Bekker was named Player of the Week this past week.
  • Dylon Powley stepping up in big moments for Ottawa: Dylon Powley has stepped up on many occasions for Atlético Ottawa this season. His side have lost many close games, dropping points on split-second defensive errors and penalties conceded, but Powley has kept them close in a lot of matches with big saves. He has faced a ton of shots, and is tied for second in the CPL with 59 saves this season in 19 matches. As well as being good with the gloves, Powley is one of the best goalkeepers in the CPL at playing with the ball at his feet. His 613 passes lead CPL netminders, as he serves as a trusty outlet for defenders to pass to and start plays from the back. “I don’t want the typical goalkeeper like years ago where the goalkeeper is only a goalkeeper,” said Ottawa head coach Mista. “Modern soccer needs a goalkeeper that can play the ball like a defender or midfielder. Dylon is very good when he has the ball at his feet.”
  • Achinioti-Jönsson crucial to Forge’s defensive structure: Forge FC have often switched between a back three and a back four this season, a tactical flexibility made possible by Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson. The Swedish midfielder usually operates in a defensive role, and at times in 2021 has played even further back as a central defender. It was partly a forced change due to a number of injuries in the Forge backline, but even as they’ve started to get healthier, Achinioti-Jönsson has sometimes been deployed in that role. His ability to do that also allows Forge to change formation mid-game, and allow their two fullbacks to get higher up the pitch. “Alex and I talk a lot about the tactical versatility in a back three or back four,” said Forge defender Daniel Krutzen ahead of the match. “Even with the team we talk about it a lot, it’s nice when you have players who are on the same page and know what’s expected in those kinds of systems, it only makes it easier for each other to play in those systems together.”


Atlético Ottawa wins: 0 || Forge FC wins: 4 || Draws: 0

Previous match:

September 8, 2021 — Atlético Ottawa 0-1 Forge FC


“Our feeling about my team is completely different than [what the tables says]. We play well, especially the last 12-13 games… I’ve talked with a lot of the other coaches of the other teams, and players, and they recognize that the team deserve [so much] more.” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista

“They’re a very tough team to beat, that’s for sure. I think they show very big resiliency, especially playing at home. They’re a team that keeps things very tight and doesn’t give a lot to the opponents, and a very good team on the counter-attack. A lot of good individual players on that team — if you look at the standings, I don’t think that reflects who they are as a team when you look at the results and how close a lot of games have been for them.” — Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis