Atletico Ottawa and Valour Remain Undefeated

Atletico Ottawa and Valour Remain Undefeated

It wasn’t the result either team wanted but if I was Valour I would be happy. Valour managed to salvage a draw against an undefeated Ottawa team, in a cold and empty Winnipeg IG Field. 

Valour managed to strike first in the 3rd minute of play which knocked the wind out of Ottawa for a period of the game. Ottawa regained their confidence and found the back of the net in the 32nd minute which ended in the game finishing 1-1. 

Ottawa started a side without league MVP Ollie Bassett who picked up what the gaffer is calling a slight hamstring injury in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday against HFX where Ottawa won 3-1. 

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Game Summary

The game had barely started when Valour had a quick shot on the net which originally looked like it was going to bounce wide. It did not, the shot caught Ingham off and bounced awkwardly into the back of the net, which put Valour up 1-0 only 3 minutes into the match. 

Ottawa was visually shaken after that play and did not quite get their mojo back until later on in the half. The game picked up around the 25th minute of play with both teams looking for a goal. 

Valour FC goalscorer Diego Gutierez scored his first career goal in the club’s 1-1 draw with Atlético Ottawa on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at IG Field in Winnipeg. (JOSH KJARSGAARD/VALOUR FC /Winnipeg Sun)

Ottawa managed to strike back with what was arguably their first real chance on net all game. Malcolm Shaw played a quick pass in behind the Valour defence where Dos Santos ran onto the ball, he hit the ball across the net onto the post where it bounced in. 

Ottawa should have got a second goal soon after with Assi receiving the ball in the 6-yard box where all he had to do was slot it home, unfortunately, the ball took a weird bounce, hit off his ankle and went sky high. 

The rest of the game was fairly routine for Atltico Ottawa, with solid defending for the most part, and when the defence slipped Ingham was there to bail them out. 

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The game ended 1-1 with Valour going top of the table at the time of writing with 1 win and 1 draw, while Atletico Ottawa is in 6th with 2 draws so far. 

Valour had 11 shots this game with only 2 on target with 58.8% of ball possession. Ottawa had 9 shots, with 4 of those on target, and 41.2% of ball possession.

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Analysis

Ottawa managed to do fairly well in this game even with the absence of MVP Ollie Bassett. Noah Verhoeven picked up the slack, playing in a more central midfield role, covering both defensive and attacking responsibilities. He was at one point in the match the most forward player. Miguel Acosta was also called upon to fill in at midfield which is far from his normal role as a right wingback. He played a more defensive number 6 role but did not look too out of place in the centre of the park. 

Ottawa still needs to figure out its attack. Last season it was well known that Ottawa struggled for goals at times, more so at home than on the road weirdly enough. This game was no expedition. Now it could be that it’s only 3 games into the season (I am counting the canchamp here) and that the new players in Salter, Dos Santos and the old players in Shaw haven’t had enough time to build chemistry together or with the midfield yet and that later in the season it will be firing in goals. Or for some reason, Ottawa is just incapable of attacking. Either way, something needs to be done about it. The fact that our leading goal scorer last season was from midfield is a little concerning especially now that he is out injured.

Valour defender Andy Buquero Ruiz and Ottawa winger Gianni dos Santos wrestle for the ball (Brook Jones/Winnipeg

Valour can’t seem to win. I am not talking about their football here, even though they are playing some great football for a team that most people thought would be competing for the wooden spoon this season. I am talking about their attendance. It is abysmal. The supporter’s section at IG Field is tucked away in a corner and was only half full. The rest of the stadium was empty, and that is with the cameras facing the crowd. Now it could just be because the Jets had a playoff game or because it was 3 degrees but either way there should be more people. 

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What’s Next

Ottawa has a week off now with their next game being at home on April 29th at 5 pm EST against York United. 

Valour gets a full week off with their next game away at Cavalry on April 30th at 5 pm EST.


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