PREVIEW: FC Edmonton vs. Atlético Ottawa — Match #90

2021 CPL regular season — Match #90
FC Edmonton vs. Atlético Ottawa
October 12, 2021 at 7:00 pm MT/9:00 pm ET
Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta
Watch Live: // Tickets available here

A rematch of the first game of the 2021 Canadian Premier League season, FC Edmonton host Atlético Ottawa on Tuesday night in the 90th match of the year.

Both teams are coming off 1-1 away draws over the past few days — Mista’s Ottawa side picked up a point against York United on Friday, and Alan Koch’s Edmonton squad earned a draw away to Cavalry on Saturday.

These sides have only met each other three times before, with all three matches featuring some late drama. Two of those three meetings were played earlier this season.

The aforementioned curtain raiser on day one of the 2021 CPL season was a closely-contested match, won at the death by Ottawa’s Viti Martínez with a well-placed shot from the top of the box that curled into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0. They met again, also in the CPL’s season-opening bubble at IG Field.

In the second tilt, Zach Verhoven’s fourth minute goal seemed as though it would be the winning one, but Kyle Porter stole a point for The Eddies in the 86th minute.

They also met once at the Island Games in 2020 — a match that ended in a dramatic 2-2 draw. Francisco Acuña scored twice in the opening 15 minutes for Ottawa, a lead that they would hold onto for most of the match, before some late heroics. Keven Alemán scored in the 88th minute to give The Eddies a spark, before Easton Ongaro tied it up in stoppage time to complete the comeback, and give the team their first (and only) point of the shortened 2020 season.

The two sides are ranked seventh and eighth overall in the league standings this season — with Edmonton sitting five points ahead of Ottawa in seventh place. While he remains adamant that his team are focusing more on growth than making the playoffs in 2021, Alan Koch’s side are just eight points off the fourth and final playoff spot, although it still seems extremely unlikely with three teams ahead of them also battling it out for one spot.

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  • Can The Eddies continue their good run of form?: FC Edmonton are unbeaten in their last three matches — their longest such streak of the season. After narrowly losing 3-2 at home to Cavalry FC on September 29th, they have drawn 1-1 with Valour FC, picked up a big 2-1 win over Pacific FC, and drawn 1-1 with that same Cavalry side — this time at ATCO Field. Head coach Alan Koch has said on multiple occasions that his side have shown signs of continued growth, and by picking up five points against teams ahead of them in the table — including two of the top three teams — in the span of seven days is no small feat. Edmonton are scoring a lot of goals at the moment — especially Easton Ongaro, who has six in his last seven matches — and have been defensively sound. Amer Didic was rested against Cavalry as well, and The Eddies will only strengthen their defence by adding one of the CPL’s best centre-backs to the fold.
  • Will Mista use five at the back again?: Last time out against York United, Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista opted to use a 5-4-1 formation for the first time, and for the most part it worked wonders. After that match, Mista said that he used the back five against The Nine Stripes because of the number of players York push forward in attack, which is a problem they could have with FC Edmonton as well. The Eddies are also capable of playing a very attacking lineup — with a fully rested Easton Ongaro among them after being rested on Saturday. To defend against the “Eddie Kreugers” — Ongaro and his partner-in-crime Tobias Warschewski, who have combined for 13 goals (Ongaro has ten of them) — Mista’s team may opt to try the back five again, to hold things down defensively. On the wings, fullbacks Jeannot Esua and Fraser Aird are more-than-capable of giving opposing defenders nightmares as well.
  • Edmonton stop at home briefly during busy cross-country schedule: Returning home after a quick road trip across Alberta to Calgary, FC Edmonton return home for one game at Clarke Stadium before hitting the road again. Between September 25th and October 26th, The Eddies will have travelled to both coasts, Ontario and Manitoba and played eight times in total — stopping at home three times in that span. It’s been a hectic schedule for them, and will continue to be busy in the final stretch of the season. “We joked about it this morning with our staff,” Koch said after Saturday’s match against Cavalry. “Fourteen days ago we were in Halifax, last weekend we were in Winnipeg, today we’re in Calgary, next weekend we’re in Toronto, and the following weekend we’re in Victoria again. It’s a crazy schedule for us, I know it’s a crazy schedule for every team, but we have to take care of our players physically and mentally.”


FC Edmonton wins: 0|| Atlético Ottawa wins: 1 || Draws: 2

Previous match:

July 18, 2021 — Atlético Ottawa 1-1 FC Edmonton


“We’re excited to play every team we play. When we have been playing Pacific, and Cavalry, and Valour every few days, it’s nice to play different teams. We haven’t seen Ottawa in a while, so we look forward to that challenge. Ottawa have been dangerous, they’ve shown that they can go and compete against the best teams, but we think we can too. Every game is an important three points. — FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch

“Sometimes we need to try a different system – when they accumulate five or six guys in attack it is the best way to handle them.” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista on the formational change in his side’s game against York United