Final Score: Atlético Ottawa 3-1 Cavalry FC Goalscorers: Beckie 2', Shaw (39', penalty), Wright 72'; Loturi (18') Game of the 2021 season: 75 CPL match: 210

MATCH COVERAGE: Sights & Sounds: Atlético Ottawa 3-1 Cavalry FC || HIGHLIGHTS: Beckie, Shaw & Wright end Atlético Ottawa winless skid in emphatic 3-1 win over Cavalry FC

Match in a minute or less

Atlético Ottawa ended their eight-match winless skid Saturday with an energetic 3-1 win over Cavalry FC in front of a stellar home crowd at TD Place. Captain Drew Beckie opened the scoring in the opening minutes, completing an emotional return to the team after a layoff (more on that later). Cavalry’s Victor Loturi equalized soon after, only to see that cancelled out by a streaking Brian Wright taken down in the box by ‘keeper Marco Carducci in the second half – Malcolm Shaw calmly finished the resulting penalty. Wright found the net on the other side of halftime, too, for his fourth goal of the season. Carducci’s opposite, Dylon Powley, gave the match its highlight after saving a penalty and follow up from Sergio Camargo, insuring an impressive and empathic win from the last-place side over championship hopefuls Cavalry. Saturday was Ottawa’s first win since August 14, the club’s home opener. The result also brings Ottawa’s all-time record against Cavalry to 3-1-0, with wins at the 2020 Island Games and the season-opening Kickoff bubble of note.

Three Observations

Drew Beckie goal on return gives a feel-good boost to Ottawa side

It was a dream start for Ottawa Saturday for two reasons: Drew Beckie’s goal after two minutes and, well, the fact it was Beckie who scored it. His tap-in seemed like it was meant to happen as TD Place erupted in cheers. The former Ottawa Fury defender had been sidelined for much of his club’s nine-match winless run due to a complication with a COVID-19 exposure earlier this year. Beckie, who has dealt with heart complications previously, wasn’t sure he’d ever been able to play football again, giving Saturday’s start an even sweeter meaning. "There are things that happen in life that you don't have control over," Beckie recalled after the match, discussing his previous hospitalization. "I was cleared to play and trained for a couple of days so my fitness wasn’t great but I got through it, and the guys were great and we got the results." After the match, coach Mista spared nothing in his praise of the veteran, who kept Ottawa’s backline rigid in the face of Cavalry’s attack. "He makes the team better," Mista said. "When Drew plays the team has a different character. I’m so happy to have players like Drew on my team."

Ottawa's biggest win of season could give hints to future core

Ottawa’s lineup Sunday featured six changes from their last match to Pacific, starting with Vashon Neufville and Drew Beckie returning from injury and Ryan Telfer from suspension – turnover that seemed to energize a side in a major winless streak. The team was well-drilled, pressing with a purpose to create several high-quality turnovers that led to chances and goals. It was, arguably, Ottawa’s best performance of the season if not in club history. This ultimately forces us to put the victory into context for an Ottawa team in last with eight league matches to go – the top four playoff spots are certainly unrealistic, giving Mista ample time to find which players should be brought back for 2022. Goalscorer Brian Wright was integral to all three goals, defender Matthew Arnone racked up a staggering 13 clearances, while Dylon Powley’s double save was nothing short of brilliant for his team and the home crowd. There are spots on this Ottawa squad to be earned. Saturday’s match might be the first hint at what those players might be.

Wheeldon Jr. has questions answered in fourth match without a win​

Cavalry FC coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. entered Saturday's match looking to snap a rare winless streak. He abandoned Cavalry’s back three for this Ottawa match while resting veterans Nik Ledgerwood and Mason Trafford. The setup put emphasis on the wide areas with the likes of Daan Klomp and Mo Farsi matching up with opposite numbers Neufville and Telfer. It was also, obviously, a different look in attack – a potential remedy for the Cavs’ goalscoring woes that didn't pan out on the scoresheet. In the sort of bittersweet style seen out of the Calgarian club recently, Wheeldon Jr. concluded it was "probably one of the most dominant losing performances I've ever been a part of." Wheeldon Jr. switched the team to an aggressive 3-4-3 after the hour mark, bringing on Sergio Camargo and Ahinga Slemani. The team gave up several high field giveaways, though, which was a major undoing over the 90 minutes. "We’re getting answers for the players that can take us there," Wheeldon Jr. said, admitting he made a mistake for resting aforementioned veterans. "Christmas came early in Ottawa – all three goals are just our fault. "I take responsibility I chose to rest a few of the senior players and I got some really good answers today which helps in the grand scheme of things. It’s not about winning the league table as we know, it's about how we're going to do in the playoffs. "I start to know what our best team from performances like that." Player of the Match

Brian Wright, Atlético Ottawa Ottawa’s lone striker was given one job: Get in behind Cavalry's backline... He did that so incredibly well. The physically imposing striker created all three goals with some clever, well-timed running and pace as he stretched the Cavs defence from the back, giving his wingers and midfielders space. His finish on the third goal was something special, too.

What’s next?

Both teams will return to their respective halves of the country Wednesday, starting with Ottawa’s trip out east to face HFX Wanderers FC (5:30pm ET/6:30pm AT). Cavalry will face FC Edmonton in an Al Classico tilt live from the Albertan capital later in the evening (10:00pm ET/8:00pm MT). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.

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