By Ben Ralph
Photo Credits: Vancouver FC and Canadian Premier League
Two days ahead of the Sunday afternoon clash between Atlético Ottawa and Vancouver FC, Atlético Ottawa Coach Carlos Gonzalez joined the pre-game presser to discuss the upcoming match and the season so far. Here are all the details:
Firstly, Gonzalez took stock of Sunday's opponents: a team that Atlético have got the better of twice this season. Gonzalez said Vancouver is “growing” regardless of their position at the bottom of the table.
“The league is a very equal league in which every team and every game is a good battle. And well, at the end of the day, in two games, everything can change. So we don't see too much, or we don't look too much at the standings. At the moment, we only look at our opponent as a good opponent,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez also commented on the new Vancouver loan signing Alejandro Diaz.
“He's a pure nine. He's a player that behaves really well in the 18-yard box… He usually scores on first touch, and he usually is well-prepared for those type of situations. So, yeah, we know him quite well. He's a good sign for them, and we will try to keep him away from our box,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez commented on the vastly-improved defensive solidity in his own team, which has earned back-to-back clean sheets over the past week.
“We are tweaking things, and we are improving in small details because, at the end of the day, the goals in the games that we received were because of details, small mistakes, not big things. So that's the things that we are focusing on.”
Looking at his own players, Gonzalez said his young players are progressing really well – particularly 19-year-old Brazilian midfielder Gabriel Antinoro.
“I'm happy for the level and the consistency of the performances that he's given. I think that physically he's evolving really well, and also he's showing now his technical capacities,” Gonzalez said.
In other squad news, Gonzalez reported that Sacko had a medical test yesterday, but he hasn’t yet received the results, while Tissot and Dos Santos edge closer to a return to the first team.
Sunday will be Atlético Ottawa’s third game in a week, while their opponents have not played since July 7th. Gonzalez indicated that there may have to be some movements in the starting lineup due to low energy.
Schedule aside, Gonzalez said he always looks forward to the boost of playing in front of a home crowd.
“It's always an extra (boost) having our fans here, our families, the people that we play for, it's very important to feel that we have the backup of them and we have that energy that we need in certain moments.”
Finally, Gonzalez said he was “very proud” of Nathan Ingham and Noah Verhoeven, who each reached 100 appearances following the game against Cavalry.
“They have great experience in the league and that they can give this extra addition to the team with experience and, yeah, looking forward because I think that a couple more [100-CPL-capped players] will appear during the season,” Gonzalez said.
Sunday's match (the ever-exciting ‘beach day’ themed match) kicks off at 2 pm, and we hope you join us before and after the game for drinks 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.