By Ben Ralph
Photo Credits: York United / David Chant
Atlético's positive momentum was slowed Friday night with a loss to York United FC. It was a bitter pill to swallow, not just as a result but in the way the match played out. Atléti dominated the first 45 minutes of proceedings but lost on the finest of margins, hitting the post three times during the match and conceding in unlucky circumstances. On another day, Atléti could have taken its chances and run out comfortable winners, instead, it finds itself in sixth place after week 9. Carlos Gonzalez and captain Carl Howarth joined the post-match press conference to discuss the 2-1 loss. Here are the main takeaways:
Taking the podium first was Carl Howarth, and before addressing the game, he talked in length about York United’s Pride night, which he said was “bigger than football.” During the match, York donned their Pride jerseys which were unveiled earlier in the week. Haworth said the CPL needs to use its platform to “keep educating people.”
“It's an incredible night seeing all the flags and the social media content that York did throughout the weeks leading up to this game. I think it was a very successful night,” Howarth said.
Howarth said he hopes that the league can continue to raise more money throughout the month and can “keep the conversations going,”
“I think obviously there's still work to be done…keep the conversation going, keep educating, but I think we focus on the positives, how far we've come, and all the work that especially the supporters groups have done throughout the league and all the organizations have done,” he said. “It's been really good to see, and it's been really special to be a part of as well.”
Moving on to on-pitch proceedings, Haworth described the Atlético performance as “good” but “lacking in a couple of key moments.”
“I mean, anybody watching the game, I think you would probably agree that we deserve more from it, at least a tie. Like I said, we had the chances. It's just about capitalizing on those. So I'd be worried if we weren't getting into those areas and we weren't creating those chances.” Haworth said. “Just one of those…it wasn't our night”
Carlos Gonzalez, who spoke next, said that performance in critical moments made the difference. “I feel that York didn’t win the game, I feel that we lost it completely,” he said.
Gonzalez also, however, echoed the sentiments of Haworth, arguing that luck was not on the side of Atléti, which saw three shots cannon off the post during the match.
“Sometimes the coin gets to the other side all the time. But as I say, always, if we know that we are in this moment, we have to do the things better. It's only about controlling what we can control. And I think that if we are better in the box, if we were better in the box today, we have had won the game.”
One of the critical moments came late in the game when York striker Osaze De Rosario converted from an in-swinging corner. Set-piece situations have been an Achilles heel for Atlético all season, and Gonzalez was willing to admit that it’s an area his team has struggled in.
“We spoke about this in the halftime. If there was any chances that they win us today was in set pieces or any type of crossing situations or a transition. Not much more things. So yeah, it's true that we are being a little bit soft defending those type of situations.”
Gonzalez wasn’t all negatives in his postgame. He was assertive in his belief that the game plan worked during the match, especially in his deployment of Zach Verhoven on the left wing. He said all Atléti needed was a final pass or an “ending situation” to win the game, which never came.
Gonzalez assured that the team will continue to build on its momentum and that even though they lost the match, the team played well and created chances. He said the team needs to be more clinical.
“When you have the goal situations, you have to be clinical, you have to score. This is about scoring. And when you are defending, you cannot concede an own goal and a corner in the minute 80. So this makes a difference,” Gonzalez said.
Atlético will be hoping it can find its momentum as it returns home against Vancouver FC next weekend. The last time the two sides met, Atlético was much more effective in goalscoring situations, putting five goals past a weakened Vancouver side. The game will also feature Bruce, a rescue pup who was found missing two of his paws, and several other dogs available for adoption at the Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue. Kickoff next weekend will be on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm at TD Place Stadium, and we hope you’ll join us for drinks before and after the game at the Glebe Central Pub!
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.