PREVIEW: Atlético Ottawa vs. Pacific FC — 2022 Match #34

2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #34
Atlético Ottawa vs. Pacific FC
June 5, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT
TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario
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Earlier last month, the soccer community in Ottawa was all excited to welcome back former Ottawa Fury goalkeeper Callum Irving as Pacific FC made their first-ever trip to the nation’s capital. That is, perhaps, until he made 10 saves as Pacific came away with a narrow 1-0 victory against Atlético Ottawa.

The sides will renew acquaintances at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday at TD Place Stadium with Ottawa looking to do what they could not in that last meeting: beat Irving in net and ultimately beat Pacific.

Ottawa has been excellent since that match, going undefeated in league action and returning home having picked up back-to-back road victories for the first time in club history. They are looking to build on that result to create even more history: another win would be the first time Atléti has won three consecutive league matches.

Their most recent win, 1-0 midweek against Valour, was especially meaningful as it came in response to a 6-1 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Winnipeg outfit earlier in the season. They put on a defensive masterclass in that match, limiting Valour to just a single shot on target and 0.26 expected goals.

Defensive solidity has continued to be a hallmark of this Ottawa group of late, as that match was their third clean sheet of the season. They went the entire month of May without conceding more than one goal in a match, something manager Carlos González points to as a key to their long-term success.

“I think this is a key point,” said González earlier in the week, “if you are not solid [defensively], you have to be really really good in the attack. The intention of the team from the start since we arrived here is to create a solid team, a compact team, that competes against any opponent. We are reaching that state as a team.”

Pacific FC also hasn’t lost since that match in league play but hasn’t quite looked up their dominant standards of late. They needed a pair of second-half goals to claw back a point against Valour this past weekend, and have only led a match for a combined 14 minutes in their last three games in all competitions.

Picking up just a pair of points in their last two matches, both at home has allowed Cavalry and Ottawa to gain ground on them in the table. What was an eight-point gap at the top of the table two weeks ago has now diminished to four, with Pacific having played one more game than both Cavalry and Ottawa.

Ottawa would love to see that gap shrink to a single point, although Ottawa manager González has been quick to point out that it is still early in the season and results at this time of year are far from decisive when it comes to sorting out the final order of the table.

A win against Pacific, however, something that Ottawa still feel was deserved in their last meeting, would go a long was towards indicated that will be towards the top of that table come the end of the season.

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All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980. Tous les matchs de l’Atlético Ottawa sont aussi disponibles en français sur OneSoccer.


  • Pacific ready for a tour of Ontario: Through the first nine matches of the season, the defending champions have arguably had the easiest schedule in the league. Six of those games have come at home, while their only extended road trip was made easier by the fact that they only had to travel a couple of hours down the road to play Cavalry after a midweek meeting with FC Edmonton back in late April. That changes this week, as Pacific will spend the next three weekends in Ontario in what will surely be one of the toughest stretches of their season. After visiting Ottawa this weekend, they head to Hamilton the following Sunday, where they lifted the North Star Shield last season, to take on Forge FC. Finally, on Saturday, June 18 they are at York Lions Stadium, looking for revenge against a York United side who knocked them out of the Canadian Championship. Not only will this be a lot of travel time for Pacific, they are also playing three of the top five best home teams in terms of points accumulated so far this season. Starting this weekend, this stretch will give Pacific a chance to truly prove that they are the top team in the league.
  • Ollie Bassett the centrepiece of Ottawa’s rise: Carlos González isn’t one for individual praise. Ask him about a specific player, and he will be quick to highlight how that player is made better by those around them, and within the context of the team. He is right, to be fair, the biggest contributing factor to Ottawa’s success this season has been their adherence to a system and identity. But within that identity, one player, in particular, has thrived, and González was at least willing to acknowledge that he has seen improvement from Ollie Bassett with each passing game. Again, midweek against Valour, Bassett willed Ottawa to victory as time and time again he found his attackers in the final third until a brilliant through-ball to Carl Haworth finally resulted in an Ottawa goal. He had 21 passes into the final third in that match, and an impressive 91% pass accuracy (demonstrated by the chart below). Bassett continues to be one of the top chance creators in the league and if Pacific is looking to limit Ottawa on Sunday, they would do well to start by limiting the influence Bassett has on the match.
Courtesy: Opta
Courtesy: Opta
  • Pacific needs to be patient against stingy Ottawa backline: This sport, so often, comes down to a game of moments. The last time these two sides played Pacific made their moment count, while Ottawa was unable to turn their various opportunities in that match into something tangible. If anything, Ottawa has become even more difficult to break down since then, with only five big chances allowed in their last five league matches. Pacific will need to take their chance once again if they want to leave TD Place with a favourable result, but just as critical is not forcing the issue too much. Ottawa has become excellent at patiently waiting out their opponent, before pouncing on them when they get overaggressive or make a wayward pass. Pacific will have to match that patience, and perhaps more, in order to make sure they don’t leave themselves vulnerable to the Ottawa counterattack. The below chart shows the average positions of players on both teams the last time Atlético played Pacific. Note how many Pacific players (six) average position was in the Ottawa half while just three Ottawa players pushed up the pitch. Despite that, Ottawa outchanced Pacific during that match. Expect Pacific to once again give up chances if they aren’t patient enough on the ball.
Courtesy: Opta
Courtesy: Opta


Atlético Ottawa: 1 || Pacific FC: 3 || Draws: 1

Previous match:

May 7, 2022  — Atlético Ottawa 0-1 Pacific FC


“Last year? The reality is everything is different. Most of the squad is different, the staff is different, so I think that nearly all is different” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González