Atlético Ottawa 2-1 FC Edmonton — CPL Match #72 – Canadian Premier League


Final score: Atlético Ottawa 2-1 FC Edmonton
Scorers: Tabla 70′, 74′; Warschewski 86′
Match of the 2022 season: 72
CPL matches: 322


Match in a minute or less

Atlético Ottawa returned to the win column on Sunday, surviving torrential rain and several lightning delays to defeat FC Edmonton 2-1 at TD Place. After a scoreless first half that saw both teams play in a massive downpour, Ballou Tabla finally found the breakthrough in the second half for the hosts, scoring twice in five minutes to put Ottawa ahead.

The Eddies found their way back into the game in the dying minutes when Tobias Warschewski scored a long-range free kick, but the equalizer slipped past them and eventually Ottawa got all three points, moving up to third in the CPL standings.


Three observations

Tabla shines as offensive talisman for Atlético Ottawa

Atlético Ottawa have lined up in several different attacking formations this season, and while not all of them have been too successful, they have done well recently in unlocking Ballou Tabla’s abilities. For this match, he was deployed in a more central position than he usually plays, and he seemed to really enjoy the change. The 23-year-old had the freedom to drift between half-spaces and wide-areas, looking for spaces where he could run on the ball.

Tabla finished the game with a stunning eight shots and five dribbles, serving as the main attacking force for his team – his strike partner Brian Wright had a much calmer afternoon, with one shot and just 16 touches.

Ultimately, this is exactly the kind of game Atlético Ottawa hoped Tabla could deliver when they signed him; his talent has been well known in Canadian soccer circles for some time now, but consistency has sometimes been an issue for him. So far this year, however, he has been very effective under coach Carlos González in a number of different roles.

The job Tabla was asked to do on Sunday was tough, which required him to cover a lot of ground and look for ways to get behind Edmonton’s five-man defense.

“I love this position because I feel close to the opposite net,” Tabla said of his role in a front two. “I can receive the ball in 10 or I can do a few runs behind because I’m creating space behind, so I think that’s a good position for me.”

His coach, González, explained that he was particularly happy to see Tabla rewarded with goals, suggesting his confidence was in danger of sinking due to a lack of goals in recent weeks.

“I’m happy for him,” González said of Tabla’s post-match. “The attackers, they start to be in this dynamic sometimes where psychologically they have an internal battle with the goal-scoring situations. He had two similar situations in the first half, then in the second half he showed he was an excellent player. He showed personality… I’m happy for him because he has now unlocked the situation and can play with a little more psychological freedom, which I think is very important for all of us.

If Ottawa can continue to put Tabla on the ball in the attacking third, especially with passes from the middle of the field to him, they can score a lot more goals in the future – which can be very important for them in improving their +1 goal differential that trails all their rivals in the top four.

‘Inexperience, immaturity’ hurts Eddies in thin-margin contest

The story of this game is well known to FC Edmonton. They were tight and hard to break for most of the contest, and had a chance to score a hard-earned point away from home until a very brief moment of extinction doomed them.

As with last week’s loss at Cavalry, the Eddies were undone by individual moments they couldn’t handle. The first goal was a sloppy giveaway for which Abdou Sissoko was just a little hungrier to steal the ball, and the second was poorly defended as the backline failed to collect Tabla who was sneaking up behind them.

Again, there’s a lot to like about how Edmonton played at times. They had 10 shots and won 53% of the game’s duels, doing well in winning second serves and looking for counter-attacking opportunities. Gabriel Bitar, in particular, played well in midfield, winning 11 out of 15 duels and making three successful dribbles.

Yet once again, the Eddies return home empty-handed despite their best efforts. Head coach Alan Koch was again frustrated after the game, although quite optimistic due to the positive moments created by his team.

“I sound like a broken record, but our inexperience, our immaturity sometimes catches up with us,” Koch said. “Again today we fought well for about 70 minutes. Two small minor errors – and a bit of quality obviously from Tabla – and we lose the game. It’s not easy, we’ve played 19 games. Not all games have been the same as this one, but they’ve been damn close.

“We go out, we’re organized, we work hard, we give everything we can, and unfortunately there are just times we struggle with, and that’s part of growing up running a very , very young team like We have.”

With their next game next Sunday at York United – a team the Eddies beat 3-0 in their last meeting – Koch’s side will be hoping to improve their game management and their ability to deal with those individual moments that let them down. recently.

Weather conditions cause rambling lightning delay returnback and forth game

This game was a bit of a stop-and-go affair, with the kickoff delayed by more than half an hour and the halftime slightly extended due to lightning in the Ottawa area. The unusual timing, as well as the period of the first half when the rain fell in patches, meant that both teams struggled to find a rhythm in the game, especially in attack.

The fairly cautious play towards the end of the first 45 was an indicator that the two teams might not quite be clicking, especially in the rain when players were likely having trouble seeing their teammates. The two coaches both acknowledged after the match that the 15 minutes of rain was a huge game-changer and it was a very difficult period to play. Ballou Tabla suggested he had never starred in anything like this, explaining that it was heavy running with his boots so wet.

“It was the longest game I’ve played in my life,” added Eddies midfielder Gabriel Bitar. “I come back from a half-time of 30 minutes with thunder. But as a player you have to adjust and I think they did a better job of adjusting than us and they got the result.

Admittedly, it was a game in several distinct phases, with generally much better football in the second half.

“The halftime game was very difficult,” admitted Ottawa boss Carlos González. “We were watching the weather, what the weather was going to be like in the second half. I think we played, like, two or three kinds of games in the first half, so we were preparing our brains to be able to give the best in any situation. I told them with the rain, simplify and play forward, try to avoid close passes. In the absence of rain, keep the plan we worked on during the week and improve these details.

Luckily, with the rain dissipating at halftime, the 45 seconds were much better in terms of quality of play. Ottawa, in particular, started to look more organized and were able to get back to plan he had been working on before the game, creating attacks from midfield and trying to find Tabla in the channels of the attacking third.

Ironically, Ottawa’s passing accuracy was actually worse in the second half (77.2% vs. 82.6%), but they still looked a lot more dangerous after the break.

Credit is also due to the TD Place supporters, most of whom stayed through the rain storm and delays. Ottawa fans were finally rewarded for their commitment after what was a very important win for the club to bounce back from last week’s home loss to Forge.


CanPL.ca Player of the Game

Ballou Tabla, Atletico Ottawa

A fairly easy choice, with two goals and eight shots from a very impressive afternoon’s work. As mentioned, Tabla was the main talisman of Atleti’s attacking game, constantly getting behind the Eddies’ defense to cause problems.


And after?

Both of these teams will be on the road next weekend. Atlético Ottawa will head west to take on Pacific FC next Saturday, August 13 (5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT), while the Eddies will once again be in Ontario when they face York United on Sunday, August 14. August (4:00 a.m. ET).

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