2021 CPL regular season — Match #65 Atlético Ottawa vs. Forge FC September 8, 2021 at 7 pm ET TD Place, Ottawa, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available here



MATCH PREVIEW

The Champions make their first-ever visit to the Nation's capital as Atlético Ottawa hosts Forge FC Wednesday evening at TD Place. Both sides come in with 15 games played and will be searching for three points for different reasons — the Hammers looking to solidify their postseason position (currently in third on 25 points), while Ottawa hope to make up on ground on the rest of the league as they find themselves in last place in the table with 13 points.

Forge last played back on Friday on the East Coast where they fell 2-0 to HFX Wanderers thanks to goals from Stefan Karajovanovic and Peter Schaale, both Halifax players getting their first of the season in the win. Hammers Head Coach Bobby Smyrniotis called the game at Wanderers Grounds an "anomaly" in his side's recent form — unbeaten in four league fixtures and six contests in all competitions prior to the loss last Friday, that claim feels warranted. His team will be aiming to re-find their attacking prowess on Wednesday at TD Place.

Enjoying a week between games and the Labour Day long weekend to regroup ahead of a tough test at home, Ottawa was last in action when they drew York United 2-2 last Wednesday, showing great resiliency to erase two Nine Stripes leads on the night. Miguel Acosta and Malcolm Shaw provided the offence for Mista last week with the latter now sitting tied for second in league-wide scoring with Pacific's Alejandro Diaz on six goals.

While this will serve as the first meeting between these two teams at TD Place, Atlético have travelled to Hamilton's Tim Hortons Field twice in the past month with the hosts coming out on top on both occasions, Forge winning 2-0 back on August 8 before doubling the damage in a 4-0 victory on August 25. Each side will welcome the other once more next month, first in Ottawa on October 3, and back in Hamilton for their fifth and final meeting of the regular season on October 16.

As Ottleti look to continue to string together strong home performances, what better way to kickstart a strong second half of the campaign than with a statement victory over Forge?

Make your match picks prior to kickoff at canpl.ca/predictor for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2021 CPL Final!



3 THINGS TO WATCH:

  • Ottawa search for change in mentality and a change of fortune against Forge:
In their two games this season against Forge (both away), Atlético Ottawa played well for the majority of the first halves then made crucial errors (a Viti Martinez red card in the first game and conceding a penalty in the second) just before half-time and then struggled to find a way back into the match. Mista is aware that has to change. "We need to be more responsible inside our own box because these mistakes are frustrating as we do find it a bit difficult to score goals. We keep repeating the same patterns, we did a great job against Forge in the last game but we lost our brain when we conceded a penalty and the next five minutes we completely lost our focus and we were not the same team. In this sport you can receive bad news, concede a goal but these are not reasons to change your mentality. I am happier now since we played Forge, because the last two games at home, we have had great news by getting late goals to get points."
  • Forge looking to get back to their identity and rebound from loss in Halifax
After claiming ten points from a possible 12 in the final four games of August, the 2-0 loss to Halifax to kick off September was not a result or a performance they are used to. "We are still doing a pretty good job and we just have to keep at it," reflected Smyrniotis ahead of a trip to the capital. "We need to stick to our principals - up the tempo, get good possession, good movement, lots of numbers in certain zones and that's what we were lacking in the last game. Maybe it was too much confidence, sometimes we are going to have one of those after a six game unbeaten run. We just need to reset at TD Place, a good pitch and that's a positive thing for the soccer we are looking to play." Smyrniotis did mention that Dejan Jakovic, Chris Nanco, Kwame Awuah and Maxim Tissot will miss Wednesday's game.
  • Reinforcements coming for Mista & Soto likely to slide into midfield:
Despite struggles against Forge, Mista was in a jovial mood as he met the media ahead of the game: "I am proud of my players and how we are playing and now we are in better form and players are returning. The last two games we have only had 15 players available but five players have recovered and this is great news," said the Spaniard. The team added that the only injured players unavailable for Wednesday's match are Drew Beckie, Vashon Neufville and Brandon John, while Ryan Telfer is suspended as is integral midfielder, Ben McKendry. When asked how he can replace McKendry, Mista highlighted the versatility of Alberto Soto, who has played deeper in the midfield, including in the last matchup against Forge. "Forge have a lot of solutions when defending and they are not scared when they have the ball so we need Soto close to the ball as possible. When all my players are available, I do like Soto as a number ten but with many midfielders out I am comfortable playing him in midfield if I have to and we do have some doubts about Viti (Martinez) who took a kick in the last game and we will have to see if he can play."
ALL-TIME SERIES

Atlético Ottawa wins: 0 || Forge FC wins: 3 || Draws: 0


Previous match:

August 25, 2021 — Atlético Ottawa 0-4 Forge FC

KEY QUOTES:

"We know Forge, we have a lot of respect for them, they are a great team but now we need to win against them. This is a great moment to take a step forward and say we are Atlético Ottawa, we need to win and bring great news for our supporters." — Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista

"I keep saying we are about a week away from getting everyone back into the lineup, but we maybe another week away and it maybe the situation for the whole season. It is something we are learning to deal with and there are no excuses, we have a deep lineup and a deep set of players who we will rely on in a very important stretch for us in September, which is pivotal month for us" — Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis​

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