By Ben Ralph
Photo Credits: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography
After four quick trips around the Sun, Atlético Ottawa football is back, and at this stage of the season and the way things are going, today's game may be coming a little quicker after the last than some might have hoped. Though the dreary performance at Vancouver may still linger at the forefront of some minds, Carlos Gonzalez seems confident that a quick turnaround may be exactly what Atléti needs to close that chapter and move on to the next. After all, a win today would make ATO sole proprietors of third place in the league, only a point behind the Tridents. Carlos Gonzalez joined the pregame presser Thursday afternoon ahead of Pacific FC, and here is what he had to say:
The Quotes: Carlos Gonzalez
On the cause of costly last-minute mistakes: “These type of mistakes are created because of the ambition of the team in certain moments. The tie or the draw is not enough for us, so we are taking some type of risks and we are wanting the victory. So we have to be a little bit more smart in certain moments.”
On how Pacific FC has changed since last visiting TD Place: “You face teams and opponents four times in a season. It's important that you can surprise them. You can have different systems in which you feel comfortable and a little bit alternatives in attack and defense. So it's true that [Pacific] changed a little bit their formation, but I think that their principles are always the same. They have a clear style… So nothing will change.”
On Ollie Bassetts scoring and what it says about Atleti forwards: “Mainly I think that Ollie is finding good spots, high spots in which situations are appearing for him and he's ending in the right way… I don't think that it's an issue that other forwards are given a bad level. I think that at the end of the day, Ollie now is playing in a new position in which we are putting him in high spots… I feel that all our forwards are doing a good job. Some of them are scoring more, some of them are scoring less, but you can see that they are adding into the team.”
On rotations from the XI in Vancouver: “I think that we're in a moment of the season that we've been now working for eight months, and the energy is where it is. And it's normal that all the teams now, in a week of three games, start to change XIs and start to give rotations or give the opportunity to all the players to add into the team. But I think that that's one of the keys of a strong team, having many players available to give a good performance.”
On fan impact: “We owe the fans a lot of things. We hope to see them tomorrow, cheering the team and supporting the team. They are, as always, our player number 12. We're going to feel them, and we're going to need them. So I'm sure that we are going to give our best, and we're going to make tomorrow afternoon a good moment for them.”
You heard the man! Two home games left in the season, so get on down to TD Place for the most important game of ATO football so far. Gonzalez seemed to insinuate he might shuffle his pack a little, perhaps a response to the performance at Langley as well as the glut of returning faces to the Atlético ranks. Meanwhile, Pacific FC looks uneasy in that second-place position, having won only one of its last five matches and traveling to Ottawa amid a goal drought relative to early season form. The Tridents will also be without midfielder Cédric Toussaint after he was handed a two-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. Additionally, it is unclear if Amer Didic will play, as he seemingly served a suspension for yellow card accumulation in August. However, he only accumulated his fourth yellow in the last game (as one yellow should have previously been removed for the Good Behaviour Incentive). Given it is noted he served the suspension in August, he will likely be available, though it does raise some questions about Yellow Card Accumulation.
Be advised that it is a rare 5:30 kickoff to accommodate CityFolk folks. As always, we hope to see you at the Glebe Central Pub before and after the game for drinks with the CCSG. 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.