10-man Atletico Ottawa will feel like they dropped 2 points in their first-ever game, as York 9 overcame a two-goal deficit in
the new Ontario derby, 'ONrutico'.
A Josephy Di Chiara 62nd-minute penalty completed York 9's comeback in their season opener against the new Ottawa franchise as the game ended 2-2.
Despite being second best throughout most of the match, it was Atletico Ottawa who found the breakthrough on the cusp of half-time. Mohammed Kourouma finding the back of the net after some excellent play by left-back, Vashon Neufville.
It was a quickfire double as Atletico added to their tally just after the break. An exquisite first-time ball by captain Ben Fisk unlocked York's defence. Francisco Acuña found Malcolm Shaw in the 6-yard area for an easy tap-in.
Elation quickly turned to despair when Di Chiara got on the wrong side of Neufville who brought him down, earning himself a second yellow card and a sending off.
Two goals in two minutes brought York 9 level. Substitute Max Ferrari showing blistering pace down the right-wing before teeing up his fellow rookie and second-half substitute Lowell Wright.
Di Chiara added to Atletico's woes when he converted the penalty he had won after being down in the box by substitute Jared Phillips.
York 9 were unable to capitalise despite their second-half dominance, settling for a share of the points in their season opener.
York 9 lack clinical edge as Atletico Ottawa surprise many
Even if this were a regular-season, as Atletico Ottawa took centre stage in their first Canadian Premier League match, few people would've known what to expect, and York 9 appeared to take a cautious approach.
Seemingly content to sit back they allowed Atletico to move the ball around at the start of the match, with Neufville and former Pacific FC captain, Fisk, both looking dangerous for the Ottawa side.
However, there was no clinical edge and, as you'd expect, the team lacked a little chemistry. York 9 grew in confidence, counter-attacking well and calling veteran goalkeeper Nacho Zabal into action multiple times.
The first yellow card of the match was branded in the direction of Atletico full-back Neufville as he caught Di Chiara (who's excessive complaining also earned him a booking) late and with his studs, a moment that would prove pivotal later in the game.
It only took twenty-minutes for York to start imposing themselves on the match. The ever-lively Di Chiara was at the heart of the attack as his cross-come-shot rolled agonizingly wide of the upright with Ryan Telfer unable to connect.
Telfer then squandered two promising opportunities to give York 9 the lead. After riding a challenge at the halfway line he stretched his legs, Atletico unable to keep up with his pace, before firing a shot straight at Nacho.
Minutes later, with a freekick on the right and everyone expecting a cross, York's number 18 had the Atletico keeper scrabbling across his goal-line and will have been happy to see the ball skim the top of the frame as Telfer attempted to find the top corner.
With half-time approaching, Atletico started to get into promising positions as they pushed forward with both Neufville and Malyk Hamilton, causing issues from the full-back positions.
It was the former that provided the spark required and maybe even some inspiration for Bayern Munich's Canadian full-back.
On the cusp of half-time, isolated against Kyle Porter on the wing, the left-back trusted his pace and raced to the byline before cutting the ball back to the edge of the six-yard area. Kourouma, who was afforded a criminal amount of time and space, calmly took a touch and slotted home.
Lightning does strikes twice, but the red card turns the tide.
Atletico started the second half in the same way they finished the first. Fisk released Acuna with an ideally waited ball over the top of the defence. The Ottawa number 8 kept his composure as he dashed into the penalty area, squaring it to Shaw who was never going to miss.
York 9 weren't out of the game for long though. On the 50th minute when Di Chiara got on the wrong side of Neufville, left-back made a clumsy challenge and clattered into the playmaker, earning himself a second yellow and an early shower.
To say it turned the tide would be an understatement as the fortunes of a now frantic Atletico side went from bad to worse. York 9 substitute, the youngster Ferrari, provided fresh legs and electric pace.
Exploiting Atletico's weakened defence, Ferrari was released down the right-wing, sprinting past centre-back Milovan Kapor, his pull-back was slotted into the net by his fellow youngster and substitute Wright.
Jared Phillips, brought on to bolster Atletico's defence, had only just been introduced when he committed the same mistake as Neufville; letting Di Chiara get on the wrong side. His reckless challenge brought down the York 9 playmaker, and the referee pointed to the spot.
The 62nd-minute penalty was converted by Di Chiara, paying no attention to the keeper's mind games, sending Nacho the wrong way to bring York level.
Atletico spent the rest of the match holding on with the game resembling a training ground 'attack vs defence' scenario, with Kapur leading by example clearing cross after cross. Heavy legs and cramp stopped the flow of the game multiple times, much to York's dismay, an issue that may come back to haunt Ottawa with so few days for recovery.
Despite their 16 shots York 9 weren't able to find a winner as Atletico Ottawa held firm to claim their first-ever point in the Canadian Premier League.