PREVIEW: Pacific FC vs Atlético Ottawa — Match #73

2021 CPL regular season — Match #73
Pacific FC vs Atlético Ottawa
September 19, 2021 at 2:00 pm PT/5:00 pm ET
Starlight Stadium, Langford, British Columbia
Watch Live: // Tickets available here

Atlético Ottawa head out west for a first trip to Starlight Stadium on Sunday, to take on Pacific FC in the day’s lone CPL match.

Pacific can extend their lead atop the standings to six points with a win, after Cavalry drew 1-1 with Valour FC on Saturday, while victory on the road would move Ottawa with two points of FC Edmonton, and a chance to move closer to climbing off the bottom of the table.

This will be the fourth meeting all-time between the two sides, and their third and final match of the season.

In 2020 at the Island Games, Ottawa won the first-ever matchup between the sides, as Viti Martinez scored a dramatic 90th-minute equalizer to keep Ottawa in contention for a spot in the second round. They wouldn’t make it in the end, but the win was an important one in their inaugural season.

In 2021, the two sides met twice at The Kickoff in Winnipeg. Josh Heard scored the lone goal in a 1-0 Pacific FC win at IG Field in the first match, but it was their second contest of the season that was full of action. After Malcolm Shaw scored twice in the opening 15 minutes to put Ottawa on the front foot early, a red card to midfielder Ben McKendry put his side down to 10 players in the 22nd minute.

Alejandro Diaz pulled The Tridents back within one in the 35th minute from the penalty spot, and scored twice more in the second half to complete his hat trick and give his side the lead. Terran Campbell sealed a 4-2 victory for his side in the 74th minute, and Pacific battled back from two goals down to take all three points.

That loss for Ottawa saw them drop to the bottom of the table at the end after eight matches, and they’ve been stuck there since. Pacific, meanwhile, are in first place at the moment, just a few points in front of Cavalry FC.

On Sunday they will be without attacker Ryan Telfer and defender Nyal Higgins, both of whom miss out through suspension.

Sunday’s match will also feature a small ceremony to officially celebrate the renaming of Pacific’s home venue to Starlight Stadium.

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!


  • Mista happy with how Ottawa’s playing, but results aren’t going their way: Even though the table says that Atlético Ottawa are currently in 8th place, and the stats show they’ve lost three matches in a row, head coach Mista is happy with how his team are performing. Against York United last time out, for example, Ottawa mostly shut down York United’s attack in an impressive defensive display, but a pair of individual mistakes at the back saw The Nine Stripes take all three points. The same can be said at the other end of the pitch — the club are getting themselves into good areas at times, but mistakes are preventing them from taking full advantage and regularly find the back of the net. “It looks like your work is not good, but when we watch the video with everyone together, we play very well,” Mista said on Saturday. “Especially in the last month, or month and a half. We need to continue exactly the same, and at the end what we need for the result will come pretty soon.”
  • Pacific unbeaten in five, with several players in good form: Pacific FC have gone five matches without losing in all competitions — started by their 4-3 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship — and several players are in red-hot form. Despite missing star attacker Marco Bustos — who is still “day-to-day” according to head coach Pa-Modou Kah — Pacific FC’s other players have continued to perform at a high level, and are all stepping up to pick up results, to the delight of Kah. “He’s full of confidence,” Kah said of the in-form Manny Aparicio in his pregame press conference. “The likes also of Terran Campbell and [Alejandro] Diaz are finding the net… Josh Heard, they’re producing. We’re on a good roll, which is fantastic, and we’ve just got to keep it going.” After this match against Atlético Ottawa, they turn their attention to the Canadian Championship — and a quarterfinal battle with Cavalry FC.
  • Zach Verhoven returns to Starlight Stadium: Now plying his trade for Atlético Ottawa, former Pacific FC player Zach Verhoven is making his return to Starlight Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Verhoven, from Burnaby, BC, made 33 appearances in all competitions over two seasons for The Tridents, scoring three goals and adding three assists. He has also played in the Vancouver Whitecaps academy, with the UBC Thunderbirds in U SPORTS, and with TSS Rovers in the PDL — and knows soccer in British Columbia better than most. Verhoven joined Atlético Ottawa this past offseason, and has picked up a goal and two assists over 17 appearances in 2021, playing as either a right back, or higher up the pitch in a more natural attacking role. “Zach did a very good job in the last game,” said his head coach Mista. “Zach is not a fullback, but he changed his mentality and could defend very well. I always say that we need players that can play in different positions, it’s better for the team and for the player, and Zach is a perfect example of that. We are very happy, and it’s special tomorrow that he plays at home.”


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

Previous match:

July 21, 2021 — Pacific FC 4-2 Atlético Ottawa


“I don’t think they’ve changed much (since the last time the teams met). They’re a team that are still trying to find their groove… things haven’t always gone their way. It’s definitely a match that people cannot expect to be a walkover — we will have to earn every inch of everything on Sunday, but it’s a match I’m looking forward to.” — Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah

“We’re playing one of the best teams in the CPL. They have one of the best rosters in the CPL. We played them in the bubble, unfortunately we saw a red card, but the first 25-30 minutes were perfect for us because we scored two goals and I think we were better than them. I hope tomorrow we are better in front of the other goal and can score, because we create a lot of chances, but the problem is — for the confidence especially — we don’t score [them].” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista