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The Forward Press: Atléti’s Rise from CPL basement built on “solid pillars”

By Ben Ralph

Photo Credits: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

Atlético Ottawa completes a hat-trick of home wins as they vanquish Vancouver FC 3-1. Goals from Acosta, Antinoro, and Haworth were enough to give Los Rojiblancas the three points in front of over 4000 beachwear-adorned fans. To accommodate a presser that ran a juicy 45 minutes in length, here is all the highlights from the post-game presser.

The Quotes - Carlos Gonzalez:

Photo Credits: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

On the performance: “[Atleti] were hungry, they had commitment, they had desire in every single action… Although we had two good results before, they fought so hard to win today.”

On improving the squad from last year: “The more players that you have and the better players that you have, it’s easier to get to where you want to get to.”

On the squad's defensive improvement: “This is like the basement of a house. If you want to build a house, you have to do it from solid pillars. Now we are starting to be solid. In the first games we were wobbling a little bit.”

On the impact of Zapater: “What he creates around him is very good things. He is, as a person, a very humble guy… He knows that he comes to help us. He knows that he has to be somebody in which the young players can focus and see a reference.”

On Antinoro: “He’s here because we knew that he had a special talent and he was a very good player that could grow so much. Physically, he’s evolving in the right way. He’s now capable to give more high intensity efforts during the games and the technical capacity. We never had a doubt in him.”

On the future: I don't think that a month ago we were the worst team of the Cpl. And I don't think at the moment that we are the best team of the Cpl. We can be the best team. Let's see what the future says.”

On the team's response to Vancouver’s equalizer: “The team is being more mature in their reactions. Maybe a few months ago when we concede a goal, we started to be a little bit more nervous. Now the team have a solid guideline in which we can hold on to… We were searching the victory and the players are conscious of the tools that we had on the bench. That's why I feel that we keep going.”

On Ingham as captain: “Usually I prefer as a coach having field players wearing the band because it's easier to dialogue to the referee. But I felt that, in this moment, Nate is doing a good job… he's giving us solidness, he's giving us calm, and he's helping the performance of the team.”

The Quotes - Gabriel Antinoro

Photo Credits: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

On the performance: “The first thing is about winning. Winning at home feels better than winning away. And my goal, I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been waiting.”

On personal growth: “I started the year quite well, playing a lot. And I had a rough moment where I was a bit frustrated that I wasn't playing a lot. But I kept working. I kept believing that I was here for a reason and enjoying every opportunity that I have. And I feel like I grew a lot, physically, mentally and tactically.”

On working for his chance: “Even when I wasn't playing, I was confident that I could be playing… “Just work and be patient.” That's what [the staff] told me the most. You're young, be patient. Your time is going to come. Just be ready for it.”

On scoring in front of the fans: “Amazing. You have no idea. Amazing.”

On how Carl Howarth assisted his goal: “Carl spoke to me right before we went in, when we went to warm up. He’s like “look at the game now. Be ready, be ready. Don’t force too much, but when there is an opportunity, go.”... In the second half, players start getting tired or they start taking more risks and start opening up. And we trained this, to fill every spot in the box. So I knew the ball could go there, or at least I could drag a defender for someone else.”

On Zapater: “He shocks me every day. How physical he is, how aggressive, how much he wants to win. Obviously, there's the language barrier, but he doesn't need to speak. It’s the emotion that he plays and how he tells it. It’s easy playing with him.”

On the tight-knit team dynamic: “It’s amazing. We all want to win. Doesn’t matter who scores, who is on the pitch. We all want the best for the team. Last week the example was Assi, a player I grew up with. He scores his first professional goal. I was more happy for him than I was, maybe for this goal today. So it’s just being happy for each other, working for each other, being there for each other.”

Atléti’s breathless schedule will screech back to regular pace as the squad prepares for Halifax Wanderers next weekend. Kickoff for the game is 3 pm on Saturday, July 22, and if you’re looking for a tight-knit team dynamic, you can always join the CCSG watch-along at the Glebe Central Pub on matchday. See you there!

About Ben

Ben Ralph is a die-hard football fan and a journalism student at Carleton. He has been supporting Everton through the ups and downs (but mostly the downs) and could not believe his luck when he stumbled across Atlético Ottawa in 2021. Now part of the Atleti faithful, his dream has always been to write football stories, and he is excited to join other fans as writers for CCSG. His football journalist idols are James Richardson and Charlie Eccleshare from The Football Cliches Podcast.

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