By Patrick Gibson
Photo Credits: Atlético Ottawa
In the wake of the departure of Zakaria Bahous, Atletico Ottawa has reached an agreement with CF Montreal to loan midfielder Ilias Iliadis for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Signed in January 2023, Iliadis featured 7 times for the CF Montreal first team before being shifted to the U23s and making appearances in Ligue 1 Quebec. The 22-year-old was born in Toronto but played the majority of his youth soccer in Greece with the academy of one of the country’s Big Three, Panathinaikos. In 2021, he began to make appearances for the club’s reserve side in the second division, totaling 34 and scoring twice over a season and a half before signing with CF Montreal. In his time with the Panathinaikos Academy, Ilias also managed to make two appearances for the Greek u17 national side.
As stated earlier, this is Atletico Ottawa’s solution to the departure of Zakaria Bahous. In his time in Greece, Iliadis featured mostly as a defensive midfielder, a role that Bahous had been tasked with in his final handful of appearances with the club. This acquisition will also help to ease the burden in that role for Alberto Zapater. Despite the overwhelming success of his transfer, we must remind ourselves that Zapater is 38 years old and can’t be expected to play every single minute for the rest of the season. Allowing Zapater to remain fresh for the stretch run as we contend for a playoff position is crucial, so even before he steps onto the pitch, there is a real benefit to this signing. As well as Bahous was starting to acclimatize to that position, it was not his natural spot on the pitch, and bringing in a true DM in his place will hopefully bring confidence to the rest of the team.
Additionally, Ilias provides the ability to cover along the left side of the pitch. With the number of injuries that have been sustained to our traditionally left-sided players, Atletico Ottawa has been forced to get creative down that flank. Iliadis primarily featured as the left wing-back when playing for CF Montreal earlier this season. While Gianni dos Santos and Max Tissot are progressing well, the status surrounding Abou Sacko and Miguel Acosta, who has filled in at left-back the last two weeks, remains up in the air. While he did not set the world alight in his time in the role in Montreal, his capacity as a left-footed player will be a valuable piece to maintaining a formation that does not look held together with duct tape and chicken wire.
This signing is one that will likely not have a long-term impact on the club. Still, Sergio Camus, who was signed on a short-term loan towards the end of the transfer window, had a tremendous impact in the stretch run that saw Atletico Ottawa claim the 2022 regular season championship. While I’m not sure that Iliadis will be the one piece that completely pushes this team over the top, he has the potential to put his stamp on the remainder of the campaign and ensure Atletico Ottawa goes back to the playoffs again.
Having joined CCSG in 2022, Patrick started his footie career playing at the age of 4 and began watching the pros around the same time. While the first pro team he supported was Manchester United, as soon as Atlético Ottawa came to town, he was immediately on board. His wealth of footie knowledge has been a constant asset, along with his role as caretaker for Atléti Wikipedia pages.