PREVIEW: Atlético Ottawa vs. Pacific FC — Tridents set for tough clash against CPL’s best
Canadian Premier League

2024 CPL Regular Season — Match #50
Atlético Ottawa vs. Pacific FC
July 7, 2024 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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The 50th match of the 2024 Canadian Premier League season kicks off a Sunday doubleheader, as Atlético Ottawa host Pacific FC at TD Place.

Both sides currently sit in playoff spots, but have teams hot on their heels. Ottawa remain in first place after a hot start to the campaign, but Pacific has slipped down the table in recent weeks after two straight losses. The Tridents are currently in that fifth and final playoff spot entering play, but could drop out of the playoff positioning if they lose and Cavalry FC beat Valour FC later on Sunday.

Last week, Pacific lost a fourth-consecutive Salish Sea Derby to provincial rivals Vancouver FC, with a 2-1 defeat at home.

Thomas Meilleur-Giguère opened the scoring in the 38th minute, but the Tridents didn’t hold the lead for long, conceding to former Pacific star Alejandro Diaz just two minutes later. Elage Bah won the match for the visitors in the 82nd minute, turning and firing the ball past Daniel Zadravec to secure the three points.

The Tridents face an interesting dilemma now where they are in need of a win in CPL action to boost their confidence and playoff positioning, but they also must keep an eye on a massive Canadian Championship match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night.

Miki Cantave and Kunle Dada-Luke battle for the ball at Starlight Stadium. (Photo: Vancouver FC/BChevalier)

Ottawa are coming off a dramatic 4-3 victory over Forge FC last week at TD Place.

After the hosts took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a second-minute overhead kick from former Forge man Aboubacar Sissoko, the floodgates opened. The Hammers scored twice in the first minutes after the break to take the lead, before Ottawa responded with two goals of their own in the 62nd and 70th minutes — scored by Amer Didic and Ruben Del Campo. When Kwasi Poku scored in the 88th minute to tie it up once again, it seemed as thought the points would be shared, but Liberman Torres broke the deadlock in the 93rd minute, heading home a dangerous cross into the box from Dani Morer to pick up the full three points.

It was the second time in June that a cross into the box from Morer led to Ottawa gaining points at home — the other being a 101st-minute cross onto the head of Alberto Zapater on June 2 against Halifax Wanderers to rescue a draw with the final touch of the football.

“I think that that’s part of the genetics of the players, they’re winners and they try to bounce back in every situation,” head coach Carlos Gonzalez said in his pregame press conference on Friday afternoon. “At the end of the day it’s something we can build on but also on the other side as in coach, I prefer to have more advantage at the end of the game so that we don’t have to win games in those type of situations.”

Atlético Ottawa celebrate their late winner against Forge FC last week. (Photo: Matt Zambonin/ Freestyle Photography)

Ottawa and Pacific have already met three times this season, all in May — once in CPL action and twice in the Canadian Championship.

After a dull 0-0 draw at TD Place on May 8 in the first leg of their Canadian Championship quarter-final, Atlético Ottawa picked up a 1-0 victory at Starlight Stadium in CPL play on May 17. Ottawa visited the west coast again on May 29, but this time Pacific came away with a 2-1 victory on their home turf to book their spot in the Canadian Championship semi-finals.

As mentioned, the Tridents will play the first leg of that semi-final against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night at Starlight Stadium.

All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, FuboTV, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980.


  • Pacific need a win to avoid danger of falling out of playoff spot: For the second time this season, Pacific FC are on a two-game losing streak, and risk falling out of the playoff positions on Sunday if they lose at TD Place. With Cavalry FC two points back of Pacific in the standings, they could overtake them into fifth with a win and a Tridents loss. For Pacific, a confidence boost going into Wednesday’s Canadian Championship first leg against the Whitecaps would also do them a world of good. Losing and/or falling out of the playoff spots wouldn’t be the end of the world with more than half the regular season remaining, but Pacific need to find some good form sooner rather than later if they are going to challenge for the CPL Shield or North Star Cup come the end of the season.
  • Morer causing selection headache for Ottawa: Twice in June, Dani Morer helped save the day for Atlético Ottawa with stoppage time crosses into the box that led to goals, and picking up more points as a result. The first was a cross for Alberto Zapater to rescue a point against Halifax Wanderers, and the second time came last week — a cross to Liberman Torres, whose header won a seven-goal thriller for Ottawa against Forge FC. Carlos Gonzalez admitted on Friday that Morer is giving him a bit of a selection headache as he and others continue to find good form, but as expected didn’t reveal if he would be in the starting lineup or not. Whether from the start or off the bench, Morer has been making an impact of late, and keeping him as a late-game weapon against tired legs could be the best option going forward.
  • How much will Tridents rotate ahead of huge Canadian Championship match?: Ahead of that aforementioned Canadian Championship semi-final against the Whitecaps, how much Pacific rotate their squad in this match will be interesting to watch. As much as they need a win in CPL play, the focus will likely be on the midweek tie, with an eye to causing an upset against their MLS neighbour again and being one step closer to playing for a trophy. Pacific has dealt with a lot of injuries in recent times but with players starting to return to full health, it may be wise to not risk anything and leave a few at home. Playing a full B team certainly shouldn’t be expected either, but Sunday could provide an opportunity for James Merriman to give a few players an opportunity to start, and others to rest, to make sure everyone is match fit for a huge occasion in front of their home supporters in the cup.


Atlético Ottawa: Ingham; Twardek, Didic, Singh, de Brienne; Zapater, Sissoko, Aparicio, Bassett; Tabla, Del Campo

Pacific FC:  Gazdov; Mukumbilwa, Amedume, Meilleur-Giguère, Lajeunesse; Young, Lamothe, Yeates; Tîrcoveanu, Zanatta, Heard


Atlético Ottawa wins: 5 || Pacific FC wins 5 || Draws: 6

Last meeting:

May 29, 2024 — Pacific FC 2-1 Atlético Ottawa (Canadian Championship)


“I think that we’ve seen a very solid Pacific, a team that is difficult to break. It’s true that they are losing a little bit of power offensively, and they are not scoring very easily, but they are very competitive, and they are a team that if you are not in your best version, they can punish you and they can take points from you.” — Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos Gonzalez

“We need to respond, we need to be together, we need to be there to fight and we want to win. We want to turn the page, we want to fight for three points and show most importantly that we can get back to our best football.” — Pacific FC head coach James Merriman