Welcome to CPL50, a series where we’ll reveal the top 50 players from the 2021 Canadian Premier League regular season, as voted on by a panel of coaches from all eight teams and media from OneSoccer and CanPL.ca. For more information on the voting process and method, click here.
Atlético Ottawa's first representative in CPL50 is their workhorse Spanish fullback Miguel Acosta. The 23-year-old signed in the Canadian capital in May 2021 from Atlético Baleares in Spain's third division, but most of what he knows about football he learned in the prestigious academy of La Liga giants Atlético de Madrid (parent club of the CPL outfit). Acosta arrived at Ottawa and immediately established himself as a player coach Mista could rely on every week, and as a result he ended up playing almost every single minute for the club this year. Acosta led the entire CPL in minutes played with 2,430, remaining on the pitch for the full 90 minutes of all but one of Ottawa's CPL games in 2021 (and the only one he missed was for a yellow card accumulation suspension). He scored two goals for the club, including this impressive equalizer against Cavalry that saw him run the length of the pitch to start and finish an attack: Acosta won the joint-most duels this season for Atlético Ottawa with 130, and he completed the second-most passes on the team. In a season where very little was consistent for Ottawa, Acosta was always there to step up for them. He split his time between left-back and right-back depending on where he was needed, and toward the end of the season he was able to contribute more to the attacking play as an advanced fullback once Ottawa began playing with five at the back. With such an impressive footballing pedigree, the Madrid native demonstrated the vision taught on the academy pitches of Atlético, paired with a determined workrate and resilience in a difficult season.
The rest of the CPL50 countdown is available here. Five more players will be revealed per day until December 22.