2021 CPL regular season (The Kickoff) — Match #19 Cavalry FC vs. Atlético Ottawa July 11, 2021 at 9:00 pm ET/8:00 pm CT IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca

After a 2-0 loss to Forge FC in midweek, their first defeat of the season, Cavalry will try to bounce back on Sunday against an Atlético Ottawa side hoping to snap a three-game losing streak.

This will be the second match between these teams this season. Cavalry beat Ottawa 4-1 on June 30th, thanks to a pair of goals from Ahinga Selemani, as well as a couple of late strikes from Victor Loturi and Elliot Simmons. Miguel Acosta scored the lone goal for Ottawa on the night, a brilliant run into the box to get the ball back from Malcolm Shaw and fire it home.

Overall, Cavalry are 2-1-1 thus far, while Atlético are 1-0-3. The CPL's newest club haven't been blown out in their other two losses, but they often looked second-best against Valour and Pacific, and were ultimately punished for it. Despite having the best preseason of any club in the CPL, that hasn't seemed to translate to the season itself -- they seem to be lacking cohesion when attacking, and are struggling to score goals as a result.

Their only other goal, a late winner from Viti Martinez in their season opener against FC Edmonton, was also a brilliant goal -- and is responsible for their only points thus far. Apart from those two moments of magic, Ottawa have looked rusty in attack, a situation made worse by key player Ryan Telfer leaving the bubble to play for Trinidad and Tobago at the Gold Cup.

It isn't time to press the panic button for Mista's side just yet, but he wants to improve his side's attack as soon as possible, especially on the mental side of things.

"I think it's more mental," he said ahead of Sunday's contest. "We need to create the confidence in our side. When you lose a game, everything seems like it's wrong -- sometimes we make a mistake and lose the game and think everything is bad, but that's not the reality.

"We need to improve, especially the attack because we need to make more chances to try to score goals. We need to take more responsibility when we have the ball because they (his players) are very good with the ball, but sometimes when you make a mistake the confidence is very bad. We need to recover and think that everything will be positive."

Something that all eight clubs are dealing with at the moment is fatigue, especially now that each club has played 4-5 times in the span of two weeks. Each team has played their other four opponents for The Kickoff once already, so teams will also start to have a bit of an idea of what each other look like, and perhaps how to beat them. Ottawa will be the first team that Cavalry have played twice, and vice-versa.

"I think they'll have probably watched [Cavalry's 2-0 loss to Forge midweek] and thought that's how Forge cut us open, and I imagine that's how they're going to try and get at us. Perhaps now, because we beat them convincingly in the last game, that shoe is on the other foot. I think it's going to be a very cagey match -- that's what we're talking about with our guys is being ready to suffer, and to deal with things that aren't always going to go our way.

"That's how good teams are made -- it doesn't always have to be pretty, sometimes you have to roll the sleeves up and be gritty as well. We think they'll give us a tougher test the second time through, because now they've played us, now they'll have a better understanding of how to prevent, and how to try and penetrate."


  • Will Ottawa find their scoring touch?: Ottawa have scored just two goals this season -- a number that sees them tied with HFX Wanderers for the fewest in the league. Wanderers forward Joao Morelli scored twice on Saturday, bringing the Wanderers up to four points, and also leaving Ottawa in eighth place with three points. As mentioned above, Mista wants his attack to start to click better and start scoring. Malcolm Shaw has been making some good movement off the ball when he's been on the pitch, but he's mostly been left stranded as his teammates have been unable to get him the service he needs. Ottawa is really missing last year's standout attacker Francisco Acuña, but with Atlético Madrid youngster Alberto Soto set to join the club in the near future, an attacking midfielder to link the attack and defense is exactly what this team has been missing.​
  • Who's in Cavalry's best backline?: Cavalry have played four different groups of defenders in their first four matches. The only player to start all four matches is left back Tom Field, while Mo Farsi has started three matches at right back after Daniel Kaiser started the season-opener there. Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has started two of Daan Klomp, Karifa Yao and Mason Trafford in each game to get everyone involved. After their 0-0 draw against HFX Wanderers on July 3, Trafford had a lot of praise for his fellow centre-backs. “All of our centre-backs can play, we’re lucky in that regard," he said, adding that Cavalry "have a really good centre-back core". It was the young duo of Klomp and Yao who played between Farsi and Field last time these teams met, so we'll see who Wheeldon Jr. will give the nod to this time around.​
  • Ottawa's centre-backs the first building block to end losing streak: despite picking up three straight losses, Ottawa's backline has looked good for large parts of their games. The 4-1 loss to Cavalry aside, they only gave up one to high-flying Pacific FC (on a moment of "Messi-like" brilliance), and kept a clean sheet against FC Edmonton. Drew Beckie has started all four matches at centre-back, and looked like one of the league's best in that position over that span. He's played alongside Milovan Kapor in three of those matches, with youngster Keesean Ferdinand alongside him for the first Cavalry FC matchup of the season. With Brandon John the other option in the middle of the defense, coming off the bench so far in 2021, Ottawa have a very solid group with a lot of experience. Wanting to end the losing streak that they're on, Beckie will need to continue to be rock-solid, and continue to bring the best out of those around him if Ottawa are to hold off the strong Cavalry attack and get back on the right track.​
ALL-TIME SERIES Cavalry FC wins: 1 || Atlético Ottawa wins: 1 || Draws: 0 Previous match: June 30th, 2021 – Atlético Ottawa 1-4 Cavalry FC KEY QUOTES
"[We knew that] once we played four games we'll have a good idea of the opposition -- but then it gets harder, we've got to play four in 10 days. Having not had so many games to playing a bunch of them, there's going to be fatigue, there's going to be niggles, loss of form, mental lapses. Right now it's about who stays stronger for longer. That's what we're talking about, being able to suffer but brace the suffering and being uncomfortable. I think we're looking forward to that challenge." -- Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr

"[Cavalry's 4-1 win over Ottawa on June 30] was a very painful defeat. It's a completely different game, we are completely different because we have more experience here. We need to take advantage and try to improve." -- Atlético Ottawa head coach Mista

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!​

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