HIGHLIGHTS: Pacific FC vs Atletico Ottawa (August 13, 2022)
Pacific FC took all three points from a tight clash between two top-four sides on Saturday, as they downed visitors Atlético Ottawa 1-0 at Starlight Stadium thanks to an early Josh Heard goal to climb into second place in the league table.
Pacific opened proceedings in the early stages, as left-back Nathan Mavila pounced on a loose ball and sent it forward for Josh Heard, who noticed the opportunity and took the ball down all alone in the penalty area. Heard took a good touch and put his shot past Nathan Ingham, giving Pacific a 1-0 lead in the early stages of the match.
Atleti spent the next phase of the match seeking an equalizer, but their plans took another hit shortly after the goal, as midfielder Ben McKendry picked up an injury and thus manager Carlos Gonzalez was forced to insert Keven Aleman into his side, adding a different element to the visitors’ build-up play.
The Tridents continued to operate on the front foot in the first half, attempting to strike in transition despite Ottawa having an advantage in possession. Still, they couldn’t create much in the way of top-class scoring opportunities, as they ultimately had to settle for a one-goal lead heading into halftime.
Pacific came out of the break well-prepared to play with the lead, and they continued to be protagonists in the second half. With Atleti not pressing particularly aggressively, Pacific were content to build up with possession toward the opposing half, slowing the pace of the match to keep control of the ball.
Not long into the half, Pacific boss James Merriman turned to his bench to add further defensive solidity. He deployed Jamar Dixon into midfield, taking off right-back Kunle Dada-Luke and pushing Abdou Samake over to the flank. Soon after that, Merriman added Matteo Polisi, replacing Kamron Habibullah to provide some extra bite in the front line.
Carlos Gonzalez eventually did see fit to call on reinforcements for Ottawa, as he introduced Owen Antoniuk in place of Carl Haworth with about 15 minutes left to play. He added Drew Beckie and Brian Wright to the mix shortly after as well, hoping that a set-piece opportunity might fall his side’s way in the dying stages.
Atleti would not ultimately be able to string together a scoring play, though, as Pacific defended well and saw out the victory. With the three points, the Tridents climbed ahead of Cavalry FC into second in the CPL standings, joint with first-place Forge but behind on tiebreakers. Ottawa, meanwhile, remained in fourth place, as they look to solidify their own playoff position midweek against HFX Wanderers.
8′ — Josh Heard (Pacific FC)
19′ — Yellow: Vladimir Moragrega (Atlético Ottawa)
29′ — Yellow: Marco Bustos (Pacific FC)
79′ — Yellow: Josh Heard (Pacific FC)
89′ — Yellow: Drew Beckie (Atlético Ottawa)