It was an inaugural home match full of celebration for Atlético Ottawa, as they beat HFX Wanderers 2-1 thanks to a late winner from Brian Wright.
After joining the league ahead of the 2020 season, most of Ottawa’s games have been in bubble environments, but they were finally able to take the pitch at TD Place in front of a sold-out crowd — an attendance announced at 12,064.
After struggling to recapture his 2020 Golden Boot-winning form in the early part of this 2021 season, Akeem Garcia scored his first goal of the season in the 12th minute. After Atlético Ottawa goalkeeper Dylon Powley brought Garcia down in the penalty area, the Wanderers striker was given a penalty, which he took himself and converted, giving the visiting side an early 1-0 advantage.
Following the conceded goal, Ottawa were certainly given the wake up call they needed, and upped the tempo as they pushed for a goal in front of their home fans. They were missing the final key pass on several occasions, but they were building momentum and creating chances from set pieces.
Ottawa had a good chance in the 36th minute, as the ball fell in the box after a corner kick, but nobody was able to get to it before Peter Schaale cleared it away from danger.
After continuing to fight for an equalizer, they’d get it in the 39th minute off the head of Malcolm Shaw. Ben McKendry curled a dangerous corner into the box, overhitting it slightly, but Drew Beckie leaped and got his head on the ball, playing it back across the box. The ball went to Shaw, who redirected it into the back of the net with his head for the first home goal in club history.
Raúl Uche tried an audacious bicycle kick from just in front of the net with moments left in the half, but nothing would come of it and the first half ended 1-1.
Ottawa continued to have the majority of the chances in the second half, with Shaw among others challenging the Wanderers backline. He’d leave the match to a loud ovation in the 71st minute, replaced by Brian Wright.
Wright would score the game winner, giving the home side a 2-1 lead in the 87th minute. From a few yards out, he chipped the ball over an oncoming Christian Oxner, watching it drop into the goal before celebrating in front of the home fans.
It was a first goal of the season for Wright, who earned his side an important three points in their TD Place debut.
12′ — Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers)
39′ — Malcolm Shaw (Atlético Ottawa)
87′ — Brian Wright (Atlético Ottawa)
16′ — Yellow: Stefan Karajovanovic (HFX Wanderers)
57′ — Yellow: Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers)
82′ — Yellow: Drew Beckie (Atlético Ottawa)
88′ — Yellow: Brian Wright (Atlético Ottawa)