There are very few good things about being down 1-0 at the half. Players are tired, morale is down and the coach is frustrated.
The starting midfielders are struggling, and Nick Dasovic of Whitecaps FC 2 has choices to make.
At the 46’, 19-year old Canadian youngster Owen Antoniuk takes the field for Jay Herdman. 30 minutes later, Elage Bah plays an expertly struck longball to forward Simon Becher.
With just the slightest tip of his head, the ball lands right at Antoniuk’s feet, and a right footed slice puts the ball past St. Louis’ keeper to bring the game to 1-1. WFC2 would go on to win the match 2-1, with Owen’s goal being key to this victory.
Owen broke into the Vancouver-based development team after the 2-year long interruption stifled his playing time
. Luckily, the introduction of MLS Next Pro in 2022 gave him the much needed time to play, and he’s since clocked 470 minutes across 13 games, picking up 3 goals along the way.
He’ll be bringing an exciting injection of speed and forward momentum to a counter-attack focused Atletico Ottawa currently lacking in players who fit the playing style as he joins the Boys in Stripes on a development loan.
Owen’s loan is for the remainder of the season so he can develop before returning to Vancouver, but things can change fast in football. One of, if not the biggest, advantage Antoniuk brings to The Glebe is his age.
Owen becomes the 4th U21 player in the squads roster, and he’s one with the
attitude and aptitude to fit into the starting 11 right away.
This is a huge boost to ATO right now, as Ottelti needs to average 99 U21 minutes per game for the remainder of the season or face some vague consequences that could include missing the playoffs. Right now, Zakaria Bahous is the only eligible player consistently clocking minutes, with 398 of 616 recorded minutes being his.
Owen brings with him a lot of similarities to Bahous. Both are young, speedy Canadian midfielders with strong passing abilities, as well as the vision to place themselves on the receiving end of anything from long, weighted airballs to snappy headers within 10 yards of the net.
In the 13 matches he’s played with WFC2 this season, they’ve won 32% (4) of their matches, while they lost 67% of the games he hasn’t appeared (2).
It seems as though CarGo and the ATO front office have stolen the Whitecaps lucky rabbit’s foot, and we here at CCSG certainly welcome that.