Final Score: Atlético Ottawa 1-1 York United Goalscorers: Rivero (65′), Soto (89′) Game of the 2021 season: 48 CPL match: 183

Match in a minute or less

In a contest where both goalkeepers displayed moments of brilliance to keep their sides in it, Atlético Ottawa and York United settle for a point apiece in a 1-1 draw Wednesday evening at TD Place. It took a penalty kick to solve Dylan Powley in the Ottawa goal while Niko Giantsopoulos had his clean sheet spoiled in the dying moments thanks to an arrowed strike from distance by Atlético's Alberto Soto. In a back and forth match where both sides produced enough quality chances to stake their claim to all three points on another night, the draw felt a fair result at the final whistle.

Three Observations

Giantsopoulos a giant in goal for York Although his clean sheet was ruined in the closing moments of the contest — albeit by a strike he could do very little about — Niko Giantsopoulos came up big for York United on several occasions Wednesday evening. His highlight-reel stop on Malcolm Shaw's 33rd minuted header was likely the crown jewel in this particular performance but Nine Stripes head coach Jimmy Brennan said it was far more than the odd stop here and there that Giantsopoulos provided York against Ottawa: "Niko is a great goalkeeper and you can see that he's one of the best shot stoppers in the league," Brennan told reporters post-match. "He was very disciplined in his approach, you could see he was orchestrating from the back, constantly talking, organizing the back four and he came up big." Since Nathan Ingham was forced off midway through the game against Forge earlier this month, York has rung off three straight positive results on the road (including the second half against the Hammers where Giantsopoulos came in to relieve Ingham) with the former Cavalry keeper in goal. With a strong two-man tandem backing a resolute defensive group, Brennan has grown accustomed to good goalkeeping this season and while he appreciates the recent efforts of Giantsopoulos, it's all part of the next man up mentality this group has looked to instill amid so many injuries in the early portion of the season: "At the end of the day, that's a goalkeepers job, to keep the ball out of the back of the net and he made some great saves." Ottawa shot attempts a sign of improved execution Back on August 2, Ottleti found an early lead at Wanderers grounds as Ryan Telfer headed home 21 minutes in and looked set up for a positive result on the road. After Halifax responded with two goals of their own to take the lead, Ottawa failed to find a second goal but perhaps the more frustrating facet of the loss was the lack of efforts to equalize the team came up with once behind — a blocked Tevin Shaw effort in the 90+3' was the next time they even attempted to test Christian Oxner in the HFX goal. Between a 2-0 loss to Forge at Tim Horton Field on August 8 and their home opener once again facing the Wanderers, head coach Mista called for more bravery and self-belief from his group, a wish his team delivered on as they found two goals on 15 shot attempts at home this past Saturday. Proving it was no fluke, Atlético fired 21 shots towards York United's net on Wednesday and while assistant coach Ajay Khabra is happy with the volume of looks his group have been aiming at goal over the past two games, it's been more about getting in the right areas than shooting for the sake of shooting: "Of course they have to be quality shots but I think it just shows that we're trying to keep the ball.. we're trying to do those things that are going to make our team successful," Khabra said after the game on his team keeping York's keeper and backline honest throughout. "It probably shows that we were on top today and a lot of those shots were quality opportunities." "Some games you can take a whole bunch of shots but if they're not quality opportunities it doesn't matter... today I think there was a lot of quality opportunities and it comes down to burying them but I think we're doing well and we're improving every game which is what we're concerned about and hopefully the results will come." Both sides continue to search for first win in fixture In their only previous meeting in the past, the two teams played to a 2-2 draw during last year's Island Games —a match where Ottawa jumped out to a 2-0 lead before going down to 10 men and ultimately conceding twice in the second half. This time around, the 1-1 final scoreline was a result that neither side seemed fully satisfied with post-match but Brennan was able to take away some positives from this one, particularly as it marked three straight games away from home picking up at least a point: "The guys were very organized at times today, we make it difficult for the opposition. We've just got to understand that we've got to close the game out when it's that last few minutes of the match... but overall I'm very happy with our work ethic and the way we're playing right now." In the other dugout, Khabra was also happy with the way Atlético performed in many facets of the game but as the team currently chasing the pack, sitting in last place in the table, any performance worthy of three points where you fail to win is difficult to accept: "I think we probably in my opinion did enough for the win but that's football and you've got to make the most of your chances and we let chances go... I think we were the team on top and if there was one team that was going to come out on top, that was gonna win, it was us." These two clubs get another crack at finding that first win against another when they face off on September 1 once again in Ottawa at TD Place. Player of the Match

Alberto Soto, Atlético Ottawa While MOTM honours may have gone to York's Giantsopoulos' prior to conceding, it was the man who broke his clean sheet that was the real difference-maker for Ottawa on Wednesday, not just in finding his team's lone goal. Soto attempted five shots (two hitting the target) and completed 54 of his 60 passes, 45 of which were in the attacking half of the pitch. In the early stages of the season, Atlético often lacked that cutting edge in the final third which led to a shortage of true scoring chances. In Soto, they appear to have found something of a solution. What’s next? Both side's next fixture comes in the Canadian Championship preliminary round on Saturday where York United is set to host League1 Ontario club Masters FA (3 pm ET), while Valour FC heads to the nation’s capital to take on Atlético Ottawa (7 pm ET/ 6 pm CT). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.

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