May 27th, 2024

Atletico Ottawa and Pacific FC play to scoreless draw in Canadian Championship play

By The Canadian Press on May 8, 2024.

Pacific FC's Josh Heard, left, and Atletico Ottawa's Maxim Tissot battle for the ball during the first leg of their Canadian Championship quarterfinal match in Ottawa in this Wednesday, May 8, 2024 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Tim Austen, Freestyle Photography *MANDATORY CREDIT*

OTTAWA – Atletico Ottawa and Pacific FC played to a scoreless draw Wednesday in the first leg of their Telus Canadian Championship quarterfinal.

It was a matchup of the two top teams in the Canadian Premier League, each unbeaten with 10 points from 3-0-1 records. Atletico scored a league-leading eight goals in its four league outings – and a record seven in the cup preliminary round – while Pacific has yet to concede a goal.

Pacific’s well-organized defence blunted Ottawa’s high-flying offence on the night.

The return leg is May 29 at Starlight Stadium in Langford, B.C. In the event of an aggregate tie after the two games, the team with the most away goals wins.

The Ottawa-Pacific winner will face either the defending champion Vancouver Whitecaps or Cavalry FC in the semifinal. The Whitecaps, looking for a third straight Voyageurs Cup, hold a 2-1 lead going into their second leg at B.C. Place Stadium.

It was 10 C at kickoff at TD Place Stadium, feeling like seven degrees.

Both teams had long spells of possession in the first half, but they essentially cancelled each other out with few scoring chances and it was scoreless at the break despite Ottawa beginning to take control.

Ottawa captain Maxim Tissot came closest to scoring in the 42nd minute on a free kick that deflected off a defender and bounced off the crossbar.

Ottawa outshot Pacific 7-2 (2-0 in shots on target) in the first half.

Tissot and Pacific forward Reon Moore went down in an awkward collision early in the second half but both were able to continue.

Ottawa appealed for a penalty in the 55th minute when Matteo De Brienne went down in the Pacific penalty box after tangling with Kunle Dada-Luke but referee Marie-Soleil Beaudoin was unmoved.

Ottawa sent on some firepower in the 60th minute in the form of Ballou Tabla and Ruben del Campo, who had four goals in his previous three matches.

Adonijah Reid and Zakaria Bahous came on in the 78th for Pacific, adding to the visitors’ attack. Tabla blasted a shot off-target in the 90th minute.

Ottawa outshot Pacific 9-4 (3-1 in shots on target).

The game was a reunion of sorts for several players.

Midfielder Manny Aparicio and defender Amer Didic both left Pacific after last season to join Ottawa. Former Ottawa goalkeeper Sean Melvin started for Pacific.

The two teams reached the quarterfinals in different ways.

Ottawa set a tournament scoring record in the preliminary round, thumping Valour FC 7-0, while Pacific needed a stoppage-time equalizer and penalty shootout to dispatch the semi-pro TSS Rovers after the game finished knotted at 1-1.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024.

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