By Ben Ralph
Photo Credits: Phil Larivière
Make way, make way; we have a new contender for the CPL game of the season! York United and Atlético Ottawa famously make for a competitive fixture, and boy, oh boy, La Fiesta Night did not disappoint as the Ontario clubs slugged out a 3-3 draw. ATO will be the happier of the two to grab the point after twice coming back from deficits and ending the day ahead of York in the standings with a game in hand. Carl Haworth bagged himself a brace and the Man of the Match award. He and Carlos Gonzalez joined the post-game presser, and here’s what they had to say:
The Quotes - Carlos Gonzalez:
On how well the team handled going behind: “We are strong. We are in a moment that we have a strong mentality. I think that this game, maybe at the beginning of the season, the result will be quite a different result. Today we were capable to hand into the game, to grab the game, and to maintain the game alive.”
On what was said at halftime: “In halftime, we make the team acknowledge that although the feelings that we all had at halftime were a very bad taste, we make them realize that we did quite a few things good during the first 20 minutes… These type of games in which you go to halftime, I think the best thing is to keep calm, to realize of why the game is going like that and to step into the second half with a clean mind.”
On how halftime sub-Rubén Del Campo’s changed the game: “Rubén is this type of player that he goes into his limit in every single action. We see it every single day in the training sessions. Offensively, defensively, he goes to the limit and well, putting him in halftime we were looking for these type of situations to push a little bit more to the limit to the center backs of York.”
On Atlético not settling for the draw: “We wanted to get into the game and to win the game more with the heart than with the brain. So the instinct was there and we wanted to win the three points today, but we couldn't and we have to grab it as a positive thing.”
On the performance of former ATO striker Brian Wright: “It's quite usual every time that a player plays his former team, he does a great game and a great performance. Today wasn't the day that we wanted that for Brian. It's the reality. But, yeah, I hope that he has a good season, but he doesn't score many goals because we need them to lose points is the reality.”
The Quotes - Carl Haworth:
On which goal was his favourite: “For what it meant to the team, probably the first one and cheeky little nutmeg there as well. So that was nice. So, yeah, scored a few free kicks in my day, but that first one was nice too.”
On the press that led to Atlético's first goal: “Credit to the staff to prepare us for this game. We tweaked a few things. We got our wingbacks a little bit higher up and we wanted to be on that kind of front foot in their half and try and win balls in the attacking third. So that was kind of the mentality going into the game. And I think we pressed really well at times. “
On the on-field conversations to keep motivation high: “Once we conceded that second goal, going over to a couple of the guys and just saying, ‘hey, let's stick to what we're doing well, we're not playing poorly, we've just had that tough ten minutes, so let's get back to what we know. Let's move the ball side to side, let's open them up a little bit before we go direct’… Even if we just kept it at two nothing, it would have been a success with the way the game was going.”
On the 5258 fans in attendance: “All credit to them. And this is something we wouldn't have seen in the past on a long weekend. People are going to get away. They're like, ‘we've got other things to do.’ But now it's like, ‘well, let's hold on, let's wait one more day. Let's go watch this game. They're doing well.’ It's a fun atmosphere, a fun environment for the family.”
The next opportunity to cheer on Los Rojiblancos at home won’t be for three weeks now, as Atléti embarks on a two-game road trip with stops in Langford and Winnipeg. Clearly, a lot of emotion went into playing York, as Haworth and Gonzalez both indicated how much they will be looking forward to a rest before jetting off to face Pacific FC on Sunday.
Pacific sits second in the league on points, though recent form has been less than kind to the Tridents. To cheer on Atlético Ottawa during its road travels, come on down to the Glebe Central Pub on matchday for our CCSG live watch-along. We hope to see you there!
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.