HIGHLIGHTS: Atletico Ottawa vs. Pacific FC (May 6, 2023)
In the most dominant performance to date in the Canadian Premier League’s 2023 season, Pacific FC defeated Atlético Ottawa 4-1 at TD Place Stadium on Saturday night.
Pacific scored twice inside the first nine minutes, as Sean Young and Josh Heard found the back of the net in the sixth and ninth minute respectively. Ayman Sellouf added a stunning 34th-minute goal, while defender Amer Didić put the match well and truly to bed in the 69th, if it wasn’t already. Ollie Bassett had the lone consolatory effort for the hosts in the 52nd minute.
The importance of Manny Aparicio, who was returning to the starting lineup for the first time since the season opener, to Pacific FC was on full display just six minutes into the match. After Djenairo Daniels applied initial pressure to the Atleti backline, Aparicio won the ball from Miguel Acosta. He then burst behind the Ottawa backline and squared the ball across the goal to Sean Young who tapped home his first goal of the season.
Just three minutes later a clever touch from Aparicio kick-started another Pacific scoring play. He found Sellouf, who slid the ball through the legs of a defender into the path of Daniels, who found captain Heard in the middle to give the visitors a stunning 2-0 lead nine minutes into the match.
It was a dreadful start for the host Atlético Ottawa, who have now conceded first in all five matches they have played in all competitions this season, as well as for goalkeeper Sean Melvin who was making his first start of the 2023 season with Nate Ingham not included in the matchday 18. Pacific should have added a third in the 32nd minute when Heard squared for Daniels, who inexplicably sent the ball over the bar.
But the Tridents could not be denied in the opening half. A minute later, however, Sellouf intercepted a Melvin goal kick and slalomed his way through multiple Ottawa defenders, before sliding the ball home. It was one of the early candidates for goal of the season, an exhibition of the young Dutch attacker’s incredible dribbling ability. The 3-0 scoreline would hold into half-time, capping off what was easily the most dominant half of football a CPL side has played so far in 2023.
In response, Carlos González made a trio of substitutions to start the second half, with Zakaria Bahous, Jean-Aniel Assi and Karl Ouimette replacing Gabriel Antinoro, Diego Espejo and Zachary Verhoven.
Just like Pacific in the first half, Ottawa scored six minutes into the second half. A clever set play routine saw Noah Verhoeven backheel a ball into the path of Bassett, whose knuckling strike eluded Emil Gazdov in the Pacific net to cut the lead to 3-1.
Pacific put yet another nail in the Atleti coffin in the 70th minute, however. An inswinging Sellouf corner was volleyed home on the goal line by Pacific defender Didić for a fourth for Pacific.
The hosts certainly didn’t give up, despite the insurmountable deficit. Bassett and Gianni dos Santos both had good chances thereafter, but were unable to test Gazdov.
The 2022 regular season champions, Ottawa, ultimately suffered their second straight loss at home, and are winless through their first four games of the season. Perhaps even more alarming, it was the eighth straight match they have gone without winning at TD Place Stadium.
6′ — Sean Young (Pacific FC)
9′ — Josh Heard (Pacific FC)
34′ — Ayman Sellouf (Pacific FC)
52′ — Ollie Bassett (Atlético Ottawa)
69′ — Amer Didić (Pacific FC)
44′ — Yellow: Malcolm Shaw (Atlético Ottawa)
54′ — Yellow: Jean-Aniel Assi (Atlético Ottawa)
75′ — Yellow: Aboubakary Sacko (Atlético Ottawa)