Atlético Ottawa are the new leaders in the Canadian Premier League, as they scored two penalties plus one from open play en route to a comfortable 3-0 away win over York United on Sunday afternoon at York Lions Stadium.
Hoping to string together a pair of wins for the first time this season, York United made three changes to the XI that beat Cavalry FC on Tuesday. Portuguese winger Kevin Dos Santos slotted in at left wing, as Noah Verhoeven and Cédric Toussaint played in midfield ahead of the suspended Isaiah Johnston and Jordan Wilson. Ottawa, meanwhile, made just two changes to the side that played Valour midweek, as Brian Wright replaced Vladimir Moragrega up top and Carl Haworth came in on the right flank.
Atlético Ottawa got the party started just 11 minutes into the first half. Zakaria Bahous brought down a loose ball near the top of the box and attempted to turn goalward, but York’s Santos was a little too eager with his challenge and sent Bahous to ground — prompting referee Mo Mohseni to point to the penalty spot. Ballou Tabla stepped up and scored the spot-kick with a good strike to the left post, which goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos came close to stopping but couldn’t quite reach.
The next 20 minutes of the half were fairly uneventful, with only a handful of half-chances for either side, but eventually Ottawa struck again near the 35-minute mark. The visitors moved quickly up the pitch on the counter as Maxim Tissot drove the ball forward along the left touchline, and he spotted striker Brian Wright in good position for a through ball behind York’s backline. Wright, managing to keep himself onside, beat his defender to the ball and came in on goal all alone, making no mistake with a cool finish inside the right goalpost to make it 2-0.
Coming out of halftime, York looked to have improved significantly, taking far more trips into the attacking third and coming close to scoring on a few occasions, but their hard work did not pay off and things instead got worse for the hosts around the hour mark. After Ottawa advanced the ball upfield, Diego Espejo worked his way into the box and was stopped by Roger Thompson, who took Espejo down with a late tackle and Atleti were awarded another penalty.
This time, it was Ollie Bassett who stepped up to the spot for the visitors, making no mistake with a low driven strike to the left post and putting his side ahead 3-0.
York manager Martin Nash made a handful of substitutions to try and at least find a goal, as Lowell Wright, Mateo Hernandez, and Lisandro Cabrera all came into the game. They had a few good chances — including one header by Osaze De Rosario that just barely missed, and later a strike by Toussaint that hit the goalpost — but the Nine Stripes’ frustrated attack still couldn’t find its way through.
So, the referee blew full time on a match that Atlético Ottawa saw out comfortably, moving themselves all the way from fourth up to the top of the table on goal differential after a massive road win over a York side struggling for momentum.
11′ — Ballou Tabla (Atlético Ottawa) (Penalty)
35′ — Brian Wright (Atlético Ottawa)
62′ — Ollie Bassett (Atlético Ottawa) (Penalty)
62′ — Yellow: Roger Thompson (York United)
90+1′ — Yellow: Zakaria Bahous (Atlético Ottawa)