Vancouver FC picked up their first-ever result against Atlético Ottawa on Saturday, as they picked up a crucial 2-1 win at Langley’s Willoughby Community Park thanks to a late James Cameron winner.
Thanks to that, they also kept their playoff hopes alive for at least another week, too climbing to within 12 points of the line with five games to go.
As for Ottawa, they dropped down into a tie for fifth place, narrowly staying in a playoff spot for the time ebeing on goal difference.
To begin the game, Ottawa’s Zach Verhoven had an early sight at goal in the 3rd minute, flashing a dangerous half-volley from well outside of the box, sending it just wide of the mark with his attempt.
At the other end, however, Vancouver would do well to fashion up some danger of their own in the 6th minute, as they found the game’s opening goal on just their first attack.
After a great through ball from Gabriel Bitar, Mikaël Cantave did well to separate himself from the defenders and slot the ball into the bottom right corner, giving his team the early lead with a composed finish.
Yet, that lead wouldn’t last long, as Ottawa would then level the score in the 18th minute.
It’d come nearly out of nothing, too – on a routine possession sequence, Vancouver’s goalkeeper, Callum Irving, slipped on the ball, creating an unforced turnover. From there, the ball would fall to Ollie Bassett, and Ottawa’s talisman would make no mistake, slotting home into an empty net for his league-leading 11th goal of the CPL campaign.
Then, building off of the momentum of that goal, Ottawa nearly grabbed the lead in the 26th minute. After a nice bit of trickery from Rubén del Campo, he’d unleash a powerful shot from the edge of the box, only finding himself denied by the crossbar on the attempt.
Eager to regain the lead, Vancouver would have a good look at goal in the 38th minute, as Kadin Chung managed to open up space for a shot with a nice move, but his attempt would be easily saved by Nathan Ingham in the Ottawa goal.
From there, however, other than a pair of half-chances from Ottawa’s Carl Haworth that didn’t end up threatening the goal, the game would reach half time still tied at one.
On the other side of the break, Vancouver would come out strongly, as they continued their search for another goal.
As a result, Bitar would flash a dangerous shot towards goal in the 50th minute, sending his shot just wide of the target from distance. Then, in the 55th minute, James Cameron had a look from distance on his left foot on the second phase of a corner, but his shot would sail over the goal.
Having done well to absorb the Vancouver attacks, Ottawa tried to push back with some pressure of their own. Because of that, they’d nearly score in the 61st minute, as the ball fell to del Campo inside of the box, but his attempt would trickle just wide of the post after a deflection.
Shortly after, Ilias Iliadis would attempt a half-volley from the edge of the box in the 69th minute, but his shot would also sail just past the post.
Not wanting to let Ottawa take over the game, Vancouver did well to respond with the best chance of the half, as Bitar managed to get on the end of a perfect Alejandro Díaz flick, but despite beating his man and creating a wide-open shot inside of the box, he’d slash his shot wide of the mark.
Continuing the end-to-end action, Iliadis nearly put Ottawa in the lead with a good shot in the box in the 74th minute, but his shot would be nicely saved by Irving.
Then, from there, a chaotic minute of play would ensue.
First, at one end, Vancouver though they found their winner in the 76th minute, as Shaan Hundal found the net after a nice counter-attack, but his goal would be disallowed for an offside. Then, at the other end, Jean-Aniel Assi did well to unleash a strong shot from a good area, forcing Irving to palm his shot over for a corner.
Doing well to keep up a busy half of action, Iliadis would continue to chase his goal. To his credit, he’d come closest to doing so in the 85th minute, as he had a good look from inside of the box, but his shot would be denied by the strong palms of Irving.
Yet, despite all of the attempts, the game seemed destined to finish as a draw as it reached the 90th minute.
From there, however, is where Vancouver would find a moment of magic. After a nice run from Hundal, he’d force a rebound on a dangerous shot at Ingham, and the ball would fall right to a wide-open James Cameron.
Faced with an open net, the 18-year-old would make no mistake with the finish, slotting home his first professional goal to give his team a late lead.
They wouldn’t be content with just that goal, either – Renan Garcia nearly made it three not long after, as he caught all of a free kick from just outside of the box, one that nearly trickled through Ingham’s hands, going out for a corner.
Then, soon after, the referee would blow his final whistle, allowing Vancouver to claim all three points on the day.