2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #105
HFX Wanderers FC vs. Atlético Ottawa
October 1, 2022 at 2 p.m. ET/3 p.m. AT
Wanderers Grounds in Halifax, Nova Scotia
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The Canadian Premier League’s top team heads into Halifax on Saturday looking for a clean sweep of the season series against the host Wanderers. Atlético Ottawa has won all three meetings between the two sides so far this season.
The last time they did so came in dramatic fashion during a 3-2 victory in the nation’s capital. After Halifax’s Sam Salter had equalized from the penalty spot during stoppage time, Ivan Pérez scored mere moments later to give Atleti a famous victory.
Unlike the other three matches being played this weekend across the league, this one has no playoff implications. Atleti is the lone team to have clinched a postseason berth, while Halifax’s loss to Pacific this past weekend eliminated them from playoff contention.
Atleti, meanwhile, could make their worst to first narrative official as they do have a slim chance to wrap up the regular season title this weekend in Halifax. A win for them at Wanderers Grounds, plus a loss for Forge and a loss or draw for Pacific would see Ottawa awarded the honour.
The match will be Halifax’s final at home this season, and with that in mind, they will be looking to put on a good performance in front of the crowds that have stuck with them all year at Wanderers Grounds.
“We would like to end the season on a positive note, on a competitive note,” said Wanderers head coach Stephen Hart. “It is fan appreciation day, so we want to show that appreciation.”
Prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Pacific FC, Halifax had been quite good at home, going without a loss in four home matches before that midweek clash. Those were also the only two goals that they have allowed in the past four matches, and they have four clean sheets in their last six.
Ottawa, meanwhile, hasn’t lost since August 13 — a stretch of seven straight. Last weekend they clinched a playoff spot for the first time in club history with a statement 3-1 victory over Cavalry FC at Spruce Meadows.
They too have been in good defensive form. Ottawa hasn’t allowed more than a single goal against in a match since that August 17 meeting with Halifax, who scored twice that night in the aforementioned 3-2 loss.
After scoring a goal of the season candidate last weekend against Cavalry, Ballou Tabla will miss this match for Ottawa through suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Make your match picks prior to kickoff at canpl.ca/predictor for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2022 CPL Final! To learn more about ComeOn!, click here.
All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980. Tous les matchs de l’Atlético Ottawa sont aussi disponibles en français sur OneSoccer.
3 THINGS TO WATCH
- Ottawa has a chance to become the league’s “best ever” road team: A big reason for Atlético Ottawa’s rise this season has been their consistency. They have found an identity and style of play that has been effective and been able to replicate it wherever they play. This could, in turn, help them to make a little bit of league history this weekend if they can pick up a win at Wanderers Grounds. That would mean their 28th road point of the season, surpassing the previous best of 27 set by Cavalry FC in both 2021 and 2019. They could also tie the league record for most road victories, with eight, something Cavalry also achieved in both of those seasons. Ottawa is coming off yet another impressive road performance, where they scored three goals against Cavalry at Spruce Meadows for the second time this season. This was made all the more impressive when considering the fact that the Cavs currently have the best home points per game (2) of any club in the league.
- Halifax dealing with key absences, including captain Rampersad: Halifax will be without multiple key players when they take to the field on Saturday, Stephen Hart confirmed during the pre-match press conference on Friday. That includes the club’s two minutes leaders this season, Zachary Fernandez (2,100 played) and Andre Rampersad (2,097). The two players also rank fifth and sixth in the entire league for minutes played respectively, and have been central to the Halifax side this year. Captain Rampersad, in particular, was approaching a meaningful milestone as he is two matches away from reaching his 100th played for the Wanderers. He, however, had to be removed after just 27 minutes against Pacific on Tuesday. Mour Samb will also miss this match, while recent signing Gabriel Escobar is done for the season. Hart said there are a few other players as well who the club is monitoring and would be considered day-to-day at this point.
- Ottawa still needs to hit U-21 minutes threshold to be playoff eligible: Aside from chasing a first-ever regular season title, Atleti has one other major matter of business they need to take care of before season’s end: their U-21 minutes. Ottawa has made progress in this department over recent weeks, particularly with Zakaria Bahous becoming a mainstay in their starting lineup. Zachary Roy, meanwhile, has also seen an increase in minutes over recent weeks at fullback. However, Atleti still needs an additional 220 minutes over the next two matches. Each team is required to have ,2000 minutes played by domestic U-21 players. Should Atleti not reach that threshold, they would be deemed ineligible for the playoffs.
HFX Wanderers wins: 4 || Ottawa wins: 4 || Draws: 2
August 17, 2022 — Atlético Ottawa 3-2 HFX Wanderers
“Ottawa with the announcement from the commissioner that the winner of the league will be recognized and of course receive prize money, Ottawa would dearly love to finish first. So it is their ambition to come here and get points, last time they did it… we are in a position where we would like to be spoilers of that. Our competitive nature should kick in because of the disappointment of everything that has happened. ” — HFX Wanderers head coach Stephen Hart