2021 CPL regular season — Match #96 Atlético Ottawa vs. Valour FC October 20, 2021 at 7 pm ET/6 pm MT TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Buy tickets here

Atlético Ottawa begin their final homestand of the season on Wednesday night, hosting Valour FC at TD Place. The visitors, almost certainly needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, come to town after a 3-2 loss to Pacific FC on Saturday, while Ottawa return home after falling 2-0 to Forge FC at Tim Hortons Field earlier in the day. The loss confirmed that Ottawa were officially eliminated from playoff contention, while Valour got some help from FC Edmonton and Cavalry FC on Sunday, as they drew with Valour's rivals for the fourth and final playoff spot -- York United and HFX Wanderers, respectively. Unable to pick up any points themselves, Valour remain four points back of York for fifth place, and five points back of HFX Wanderers, who currently occupy that important fourth-place spot. All three teams have four matches left, with Ottawa playing each of them once. Needing three points, Valour are up against a team that they have had a lot of success against. In three past meetings with Ottawa in CPL action, they have won all three by a combined score of 7-0. At the Island Games in 2020, Valour scored four goals after the hour mark in a dominant 4-0 display. Fraser Aird scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, Andrew Jean-Baptiste doubled the lead in the 78th, and Dylan Carreiro and Jose Galan scored in the final moments of their first win of the season. In 2021, they met twice at The Kickoff at IG Field, where Valour won both contests. Raphael Ohin and Moses Dyer scored in a 2-0 victory on July 3, while it was Dyer again -- and again from the penalty spot -- who won the second match 1-0 when they met 12 days later. The two sides also squared off in this year's Canadian Championship, on August 21 at TD Place. Brian Wright opened the scoring for Atlético Ottawa, but two goals from Austin Ricci and one from Sean Rea saw Valour jump out to a 3-1 lead. Viti Martinez scored in stoppage time, but it was too little too late, and Valour won the tie 3-2.

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  • Ottawa missing key members of backline: The home team will be without two important defenders on Wednesday, as Vashon Neufville and Drew Beckie both miss out through suspension. Neufville is serving a one-game ban for picking up his fourth yellow card of the season against Forge FC, while Beckie is beginning a two-game ban following his eighth caution of the year in that same match. Neufville has missed a significant portion of the season through injury, so Ottawa know that Miguel Acosta is a reliable option to start on the left, but replacing Beckie has proven to be a bit more difficult. The Canadian centre-back has been crucial in the middle of their backline, and a vocal leader in a team that has sometimes lacked defensive solidity. He'll miss their final two home matches of the year, and will have one more chance to play this season, in the team's final match away to HFX Wanderers on November 7.​
  • Valour make final push for the playoffs: While Ottawa were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, Valour still have a shot at reaching the top four. Currently in sixth, four points back of York United in fifth, and five back of HFX Wanderers in fourth, Valour will need a lot of help if they're to quickly rise up the standings with just four games remaining. They start with this trip to Ottawa, before returning home to play the Wanderers. After that, they close the regular season with an Alberta road trip, playing away to Cavalry and FC Edmonton. If they're going to make the playoffs, Wednesday's game is as close to "must-win" as they get, and they would also need a positive result against HFX. It's not impossible, but for a team that came flying out of the gates at The Kickoff with six wins in eight matches, they certainly haven't made it easy for themselves -- picking up just 10 points in the 16 matches since.​
  • Ottawa enter final homestand of the season: Ottawa have struggled for parts of their first full season in the CPL, but have played well at home. Since playing their first home game at TD Place in mid-August, Ottawa have picked up a pair of wins (that first home against HFX, and more recently against Cavalry), as well as drawn three times. As has been the case in many of their games this season, they have outplayed their opponents in other matches at home, but the numbers don't necessarily reflect it. The fans have turned out in large numbers, which head coach Mista and his players have regularly praised throughout the season, and the Ottawa boss is hoping to put on a show for them in their final two home games, against Valour on Wednesday and York on Sunday. "These last two games here in Ottawa are very special for us," said Mista in his pre-match press conference. "It's our first year, and we maybe need some good news for the supporters. They can feel proud with the work we did during this very hard season."​


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

Previous match:

July 15, 2021 — Atlético Ottawa 0-1 Valour FC


"We have less pressure than them because we are not in the same situation, but we are professional and need to do our work until the last minute here. We are Atlético Madrid and Atlético Ottawa, we need to be professional and this is our job -- our job is to win the last three games." -- Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista on facing the three teams battling it out for playoff spots in their last three matches

"I told the guys if we want to come here and get three points or get points in the home of the team that is leading in the standings -- it’s important that we at least match their intensity, if not go beyond that. Today, early in the game, we didn’t do it. We were second to every ball. It wasn’t by lack of desire, you’re also playing for a team that works for that and has been successful because of their intensity and how aggressive they are in getting behind the opposition. That’s the game and we just need to respond. And we have a game on Wednesday to respond right away.” -- Valour FC head coach Phillip Dos Santos after his side's 3-2 loss to Pacific FC on the weekend

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