FC Edmonton extended their unbeaten streak to three matches on Friday night, as the long weekend of CPL action began with a 0-0 draw between the Eddies and Atlético Ottawa at TD Place in the nation’s capital.
Ottleti, hoping to maintain their place atop the table as the weekend begins, deployed a lineup with four changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Forge FC. Carlos González handed starts to a pair of U-21 Canadians in Zakaria Bahous and Owen Antoniuk, in an effort to help his team reach the 2,000-minute quota. FC Edmonton boss Alan Koch, meanwhile, only made two changes to the lineup that beat HFX Wanderers last weekend, bringing Masta Kacher and Marcus Simmons into the team in place of Simon Triantafillou and T-Boy Fayia.
As expected, the hosts came out on the front foot, pressing very high for the first five minutes in search of an early goal. Ottawa kept the Eddies pinned back for a period, winning a string of consecutive set-piece attempts, but the visitors held firm and, soon after, found their footing in the game.
Possession was almost perfectly even in the first half after Ottawa’s early onslaught, although Atleti seemed to spend slightly more time in the attacking half. Edmonton did have a handful of good chances, though, as Tobias Warschewski came close on two occasions to scoring in stunning fashion — although the first attempt, a flick in the box, was offside, and the second, a shot from distance, barely fizzed over the crossbar.
Neither side produced a truly golden opportunity in the first 45 minutes, though, and ultimately they returned to the dressing rooms scoreless. Both managers chose to turn to their benches at that point to try something new in the second half; González introduced Keven Alemán in place of Antoniuk, while Koch brought in Triantafillou to replace Kacher.
As scoring opportunities continued to be hard to come by for Ottawa in the early second half, it wasn’t long before González saw fit to add Vladimir Moragrega and Sergio Camus as well, in hopes of finding the goal to put them over the top. Koch countered by deploying Cale Loughrey into his backline in place of Bicou Bissainthe, who had been playing on a yellow card for a while.
The match found a sluggish pace toward the final 10 minutes, becoming increasingly disjointed with a number of stoppages as both sides struggled to move the ball fluidly into the attacking third. The Eddies had one dangerous counter-attacking break in the 86th minute, as Terique Mohammed came blazing down the left flank, but his cutback pass was cleared to safety at the last moment. Ballou Tabla brought the crowd to life a couple minutes later with a curling shot from outside the box, but his strike missed the top corner by inches.
A difficult night for Atlético Ottawa became even more so on the brink of stoppage time, as a few moments fell in the Eddies’ favour and prompted a flurry of protests from the home bench. Ottawa coach González earned a red card for his troubles, as the frustrations compounded for the hosts.
Despite one final push in the dying moments, Ottawa were unable to find their breakthrough, as they were held scoreless at home for a second consecutive outing.
7′ — Yellow: Shamit Shome (FC Edmonton)
27′ — Yellow: Bicou Bissainthe (FC Edmonton)
43′ — Yellow: Ollie Bassett (Atlético Ottawa)
50′ — Yellow: Abdou Sissoko (Atlético Ottawa)
78′ — Yellow: Mamadi Camara (FC Edmonton)
89′ — Yellow: Cale Loughrey (FC Edmonton)