2021 CPL regular season (The Kickoff) — Match #23 Atlético Ottawa vs Valour FC July 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm ET/4:00 pm CT IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca

The midweek action in the Canadian Premier League comes to a close on Thursday with a match between Atlético Ottawa and high-flying Valour FC.

Both got back in the win column on the weekend, with Ottawa defeating Cavalry 2-0 and Valour beating Forge FC for the second time this season, this time a 1-0 victory. With the win, Ottawa ended a losing streak and jumped up into 5th place, while Valour claimed top spot and became the first team to reach double-digit points on the year with their fourth win through five matches.

These sides have already met once before in 2021 -- a 2-0 win for Valour on July 3rd. In that game, a strike from Raphael Ohin at the end of the first half would be the match-winner, a thumping effort that Dylon Powley was unable to keep out.

Moses Dyer would double the lead from the spot in second-half stoppage time, sealing all three points for the hosts. Mista has stressed multiple times recently that he'd like his team to improve defensively to keep more goals out, while simultaneously trying bring more cohesion to an attack that has lacked it at times this season. That won't be an easy task -- Valour are currently tied for the league lead for most goals scored -- tied with Pacific FC on eight goals, although Valour have a game in hand after Pacific's 0-0 draw with HFX Wanderers on Tuesday. They've also conceded the fewest goals in the league, conceding just twice -- both in a 2-1 loss to York United on July 7. This matchup hasn't been kind to Ottawa thus far, as the club are yet to pick up a point against Valour through two matches. Valour beat them 4-0 at the Island Games last season, and the aforementioned 2-0 loss less than two weeks ago on July 3rd.

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!


  • Jonathan Sirois in scintillating form: On loan from MLS side CF Montreal, 20-year-old Jonathan Sirois has been brilliant in goal for Valour FC. In four matches, Sirois has kept four clean sheets -- a CPL record for most clean sheets in a row -- and made 13 saves. What's even more impressive is that those were the first four appearances of his professional career. He is yet to make an appearance for CF Montreal, and he didn't play during his one-match emergency loan to the Vancouver Whitecaps at the 2020 MLS is Back tournament. "We've been pleased with Jonny, he's done everything we could ask really," Rob Gale said this week. "It's a team effort -- if we keep a clean sheet it's indicative of the 10 men in front of him, as much as it is [of him]. He's done well, he's a mature lad -- he promised us he'd come in with the presence and maturity to be the number one, and compete for that spot, and he's done really well."​
  • Atlético Ottawa's versatility important to their success: After starting each of his club's first four games at centre-back, Drew Beckie was moved to right back for Ottawa's 2-1 win on Sunday over Cavalry. The move allowed Mista to bring in Brandon John, giving a first start of the season to a player who was impressive at centre-back during the Island Games. Beckie didn't look out of place at right back, and Mista said in his pre-match press conference that Beckie's versatility -- as well as the versatility of several players on Ottawa's roster -- is crucial to what the team is trying to achieve this season. "Sometimes when you need to do the first eleven, you can make moves and [the opponent] doesn't know," he said. Zach Verhoven is another player capable of playing several positions, including at right wing, where he was very effective against Cavalry, or at right-back, as is young defender Keesean Ferdinand, who can play anywhere across the backline.​
  • Ottawa have tough challenge against in-form Jean-Baptiste: Andrew Jean-Baptiste has had a brilliant start to the season, proving again that he's among the best centre-backs in the CPL. He has been in the CPL's Gatorade Team of the Week twice already in three weeks, after impressing at both ends of the pitch. He's helped the aforementioned Jonathan Sirois keep four clean sheets thus far, and is also tied for second place with two goals on the attacking side of things -- both headers from set pieces. His contributions off the pitch are invaluable as well as one of the club's co-captains. "He's a leader, he knows how to manage a game. It's a great example for young defenders -- if you look at Italy in the European Championships, Bonucci and Chiellini and how they don't have to be the quickest or the most intimidating. His ability one-on-one and his collective decision making is very good."​


Atlético Ottawa wins: 0 || Valour FC wins: 2 || Draws: 0

Previous match:

July 3, 2021 – Valour FC 2-0 Atlético Ottawa


"We had a great game versus them, but we lost. We know what mistakes we made in that game, and we try to resolve them for the next game. We're conscious that we have a very difficult game, but we are confident in ourselves." - Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista on Valour FC

"They're coming together, you can see it. They've spent a lot of time together -- their defensive organization, their two banks of four. They get narrow, they get across, they get tight. Once they're in their low block, they feel most comfortable." - Valour FC head coach Rob Gale on Atlético Ottawa

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