Final Score: York United 1-1 Atletico Ottawa
Goalscorers: Wilson 90+1′; M Shaw 49′
Game of the 2021 season: 87
CPL Agreement: 222
Match in a minute or less
Atlético Ottawa and York United enjoyed themselves under the lights at York Lions Stadium for 100 minutes and came to a 1-1 draw. A penalty beautifully drawn by Ryan Telfer and taken by Malcolm Shaw looked poised to play spoiler, straining a York team desperate to take advantage of a game that was imminent in a frenetic play-off race. That urgency reared its head in a frenetic long stoppage time in the second half, when Jordan Wilson finally converted a second ball from a corner, sending a tense York Lions Stadium entranced. With the result, York was two points ahead of HFX Wanderers FC for the fourth and final CPL Playoff spot with six games to go. Ottawa, who is last in the CPL, formally avoided elimination from the playoff battle with their point.
Ottawa’s First Back Five Pays Dividends
Ottawa had a conservative back-three with two traditional midfielders in Ben McKendry and Chris Mannella and fullbacks Miguel Acosta and Vashon Neufville. It was Mista’s first time using such a form—a quirky change and one that ultimately matched many of Ottawa’s strengths as a direct team. Ryan Telfer’s clinical finish, Malcolm Shaw’s pressure and neat combos with Noah Verhoven all gave Ottawa reason to grin.
The team also grew in the game, for half an hour the squad seemed comfortable in a new formation, something that gave them almost all three points.
“Sometimes we have to try a different system – if they have five or six guys on the attack, this is the best way to handle them,” Mista said after the game.
“I thought we did a good job with it… Thanks to the players and how they’ve adapted to it,” added defender Drew Beckie. “It’s a dangerous team, York, and I thought we handled them well.”
Ryan Telfer looked reborn against former club
Let’s talk about Ryan Telfer – Ottawa’s off-season domestic signing roster has been brilliant in places…with layoffs, such as the Gold Cup with Trinidad and Tobago, and a red card suspension that kept him out of Ottawa’s goalscoring lists and out of many talks .
But Friday night was one of those beautiful places. Attacking defenders, the powerful winger played with fire. He also matched the Ottawa’s obvious defensive instincts, falling back on defense to record a team-leading four tackles, though he coughed up the ball more often than expected. It was a shame he didn’t score and got a brilliant penalty – one of the times he managed to control the heightened pressure from York.
It’s hard to imagine why he would have one of his best moments against his former team at York United. The CPL’s first ever goalscorer left York this off-season with an abrupt end. Friday’s performance in Telfer tells us two things; Ottawa has been missing out on his formative presence on offense this year and let’s face it, if he can play as sharply as he did against his former team, the sky is the limit.
Results are not obvious
It can be tempting to start predicting results so late in the CPL season — even on the Friday of a long weekend (you can admit you thought you’d skip this game on OneSoccer). Here’s some advice: absolutely not.
Ottawa’s draw, while it may have felt like a loss, is the latest in a string of notable disruptions to CPL’s game – Edmonton’s win over Pacific FC and Ottawa’s own win over Cavalry FC come to mind. The result, as mentioned, will be seen as a missed opportunity for York, who are now two points clear of the fourth and final play-off spot above Halifax.
Previous analyzes on this website had compared Halifax and York run-ins. The Nine Stripes were supposed to have a favorable price, but that advantage, to put it bluntly, has now disappeared.
“Honestly, we’re pissed off,” York coach Jimmy Brennan said after the game. “We expected three points and are disappointed.”
Brennan also rested a number of key players, including Max Ferrari, who missed his first start of the season. He can’t blame him either – busy schedules and a tempting home run against the team in last place is understandable to say the least.
But Friday’s game is just another example, and something the top clubs in CPL should be wary of – all results have been learned.
CanPL.ca Player of the match
Ryan Telfer, Atletico Ottawa
Hard to see past the ex York winger. Spurred on by a story with a villainous attack, Telfer gave us a vintage display last seen at York’s home base.
Both clubs now head to Alberta on rare Western Canadian road trips. Mista and co. depart for Edmonton, ready to face the Eddies Tuesday night (9pm ET / 7pm MT). York will be right behind them to take on Cavalry FC on ATCO Field Thursday (9:00 PM ET / 7:00 PM MT). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.