Final Score: Atlético Ottawa 2-0 Valour FC Goalscorers: Shaw 57', Telfer 64' Game of the 2021 season: 96 CPL match: 232
Match in a minute or lessGoals in the second half from Malcolm Shaw and Ryan Telfer saw Atlético Ottawa move off the bottom of the table on Wednesday night, picking up a 2-0 victory at home against Valour FC. Despite Valour's dominance in terms of possession of the ball, over 60% on the night, Ottawa were the ones who made it count the most. The defenders held down the fort for the home side, who picked up just their third clean sheet of the season, and their sixth win.
Valour still mathematically in playoff race, despite missed opportunityPlaying against Ottawa, the last-place team in the CPL entering Wednesday's match, Valour had a chance to pick up a much-needed win and inch toward the top four, but failed to take advantage of that chance. The 2-0 defeat sees them remain five points back of 4th-placed HFX Wanderers, and four back of fifth-placed York United, and those two sides have a game in hand. Wednesday's match was essentially must-win for Valour, but they are still mathematically able to finish the regular season in a playoff spot. It will take some big results, and help from other teams, for Valour to sneak into the playoffs, but head coach Phillip Dos Santos still believes his team have a shot if they take care of what they can control. "I don't want to think about elimination when there's still nine points to be played," said Dos Santos after the match. "Depending on what happens on the weekend, it could still be status quo, it could be the gap being bigger, we have to wait and see now. Obviously more difficult, but not impossible. We have to keep fighting -- that's my mentality, and that's the mentality I want the guys to have." "If someone is already thinking about vacation, he's going to have to tell me, and I'll put someone on the field who still believes. That's the way I go about it."
Sirois and Powley put on a show in goalValour's Jonathan Sirois and Ottawa's Dylon Powley have been two of the best goalkeepers in the CPL this season, and were both excellent in opposite creases on Wednesday night. Number one and two in the CPL's saves leaderboard -- Powley leads 82-80 on the year after this match -- the duo have kept their sides in matches all season long, with Sirois also leading the league in clean sheets with eight. Powley stopped all six of Valour's shots on target on the night, while Sirois made five at the other end of the pitch, including two massive saves in the first half. He came out of his goal to block a low shot from Malcolm Shaw in the 33rd minute, before make a quick kick save in the 45th minute to deny Ben McKendry. At the other end of the pitch, Powley's most important save was a punch over the bar to deny Rocco Romeo a goal. Valour had 26 shots on the night, but were only able to test Powley six times, with his defence also making seven important blocks. "Even though we had control, they still had the best chances in the first half, so he kept us in the game," said Valour head coach Phillip Dos Santos about Sirois. "Jo came out big when he needed to come out big, but he's done that for the majority of the season so it's not a surprise for me."
Zach Verhoven impressive once again at right backCrucial in the lead up to both of his team's goals, Zach Verhoven played another good game at right back on Wednesday. Ottawa head coach Mista has played Verhoven on the right side of defence this season, after he had played higher up the pitch in his two seasons at Pacific FC. Adjusting to the position well, Verhoven hasn't looked out of place at all, and may win himself the right back job for next season if he keep playing the way he has been. He made a fantastic run down the length of the field before laying the ball off to Malcolm Shaw to put away the opening goal, and followed it up with another low pass into the box that Ryan Telfer smashed home a few minutes later, bringing his assist tally to a team-leading four on the season. Defensively, he added three tackles and two clearances. He's now in a three-way tie in second place on the CPL's tackles leaderboard -- along with teammate Miguel Acosta, who had nine of the 40 he's made this season on Wednesday alone. They, along with FC Edmonton's Paris Gee, sit two back of Forge FC's Elimane Cisse in that category. Happy, but not satisfied, with his performance after the match, Verhoven told reporters that he "could have had four or five" assists in the match and wants to sharpen up his final ball in the matches ahead. "We are so, so happy," added Mista after Wednesday's match, also mentioning that Verhoven is an important player off the pitch in Ottawa's locker room as well. "Maybe at the beginning of the season he never played like a fullback. He adapted perfectly, and improved a lot, and it's his job because he works everyday."
CanPL.ca Player of the MatchZach Verhoven, Atlético Ottawa The Ottawa right back assisted both of his team's goals, and put in a solid shift defensively, in his side's impressive clean sheet victory.
What’s next?Atlético Ottawa's next match is their final home match of the season, against York United on Sunday, October 24 (2 pm ET). Valour head back to IG Field for their final home match of the season as well, against HFX Wanderers on Tuesday, October 26 (7:30 pm CT/ 9:30 pm AT). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer. In addition to its website and app, OneSoccer is now available on TELUS channel 980 and on Fubo TV. Call your local cable provider to ask for OneSoccer today.