Gabriel Bitar (8', 48') scored a brace to lead the Ottawa South United (OSU) Force to a historic 3-1 win over east division hosts Aurora FC on Matchday Two of L1O Kickoff 2017.
The Ottawa team was playing their first ever League1 Ontario match, and the team started brightly.
"It was a good game," said OSU head coach Traian Matheas.
"First and foremost we were well organized and the quality was good. We have lots of youth and enthusiasm and passion to play the game. They have performed well and they wanted it and it's important to use this as a stepping stone to go to the next one."
Gabriel Bitar, OSU Force (Photo: Samantha Connell-Tombs)
Aurora bounced back from the early deficit courtesy of a sumptuous chip just ahead of the half-time whistle by ?? (44') and head coach Derek O'Keeffe said the team were on a high during the break.
"I think we went in at half-time with high spirits," he said. "We had a good and well-deserved equalizer and we talked at the half about maintaining that momentum and concentration. Unfortunately, we didn't."
"There were lapses of concentration that allowed them to get a second one, and with the wind as it was the second one was a tough one, especially at the start of the second half. The boys had good spirits, they tried to come back but unfortunately that second goal killed us," he added.
"The third one, the penalty, I thought was questionable but the referee is out there and doing his job so I'll let him do his job. After that we just found it hard to get on the ball, get our passes together and lacked a bit of quality in the attacking third."
(Photo: Samantha Connell-Tombs)
Despite the change in scoreline before the half, Matheas felt few changes were in order to set his side up for the second half rally. A final penalty from Dario Conte (?) put the result out of doubt, but the head coach felt there was room for improvement ahead of upcoming matches.
"After the Aurora goal, I definitely didn't want to change the back four because it is important to have stability there, but I did make some changes in the midfield so we could close the ball early and stop the balls going forward," he said. "I think it helped retain the momentum right to the end."
"We made no change at all to team shape until late in the game," he added.
"I thought the shape was good, they were cohesive and they moved well off each other. I saw at the end that players started to labour a little, and the players that went in have a role in the team and that is the way to look at the changes."
"I would like to see more speed in the play and win the ball quicker from better positions. the fitness has to get up. We tried to keep the ball as much as possible and we tried to get it back as quickly as possible."
(Photo: Samantha Connell-Tombs)
O'Keeffe's optimism was also undiminished, in spite of the opening day loss for the hosts, and focused instead on the bigger picture.
"We have a very young side, and a lot of young kids making their League1 debuts today," he said. "They'll take that as a lesson, and you can only move forwards from here. We'll take away the lessons learned from conceding goals, for sure, we'll review the game, reflect, and look to improve on what we've done."
"We always finish on a positive, we have to move forward, and it's a long season ahead. We'll improve for sure. I'm delighted to be here."
"Coming from Ireland, and playing in England, I've seen the improvement in Canadian soccer over the last few years. It's come a long way, and for me personally it's a great honour to be managing Aurora this year. It's a fantastic club with fantastic history, and it's a fantastic environment to be in."
Aurora FC will next play North Toronto Nitros on Saturday May 6 at St. Maximillian Kolbe H.S., Aurora.
Ottawa South United (OSU) Force will next play Masters FA Saints on Saturday May 6 at L'Amoreaux, Scarborough.