Well, that escalated quickly.
If you read my last post, you’ll know that Atletico Ottawa were 500/1 to win the CPL this season – in fact, we were predicted to finish bottom of the table even by some of the most optimistic betting sites in the UK.
Don’t jump too far ahead – we’ve not actually won anything yet, but we have taken a huge step towards that goal.
Yep, we finished top of the pile in the Spring Season. And, frankly, that’s a little mental.
Let us quickly reflect on how the 14 game Spring Season played out.
We absolutely flew out of the blocks, avenging our Island Games Final defeat to York9 by stuffing them 5-1 at their place. We followed that up with another three wins meaning we had already opened up a four-point gap at the top after a mere four games. Easy, eh?
Whoa, there sparky – not so fast.
We backed that top start up with four consecutive losses – seeing us drop down to 5th and me scrabbling around North America trying to find goalkeepers as I’d lost confidence in the two I’d signed.
Damn you, FM21 – you are harder than I thought.
Or are you?
Suddenly things turned around, and I still don’t really know why or how.
At this point, I think we needed an eight-point swing after Cavalry just kept winning and winning but we started doing our bit once again – four wins and one 0-0 draw in the next five set us up for a hell of a final showdown with Cavalry on the final day of the season. In fact, as fast as we were improving wheels were coming off their bus equally rapidly. We headed to Spruce Meadows knowing a point would be enough to see us qualify for the grand final as the Spring Season champions.
And then this happened.
We utterly smashed them. Pure and unadulterated Strikerless gold as we ran through them. Job well and truly done.
This was our Spring Season in full.
Next up, we have a two-legged quarter final against Vancouver Whitecaps to look forward to before the Fall Season gets underway.
Naturally, I want to go and win the Fall Season too – and I have no idea what actually happens if we win both the Spring and the Fall. I presume we will play someone in the Final, just not sure how that works. In 2019, Cavalry won both ‘seasons’ and played the twice runners-up, Forge – who ended up winning the final. Poor old Cavalry, they seem to fall at certain hurdles.
Let’s have a quick fly around some important parts of this first half of 2021.
As I mentioned, goalkeeping has been a worry – Artmenko started well, then became terrible (I mean, worse than Kepa terrible) and I tried the other lad, Saundry. He was worse, so I put Artmenko back in, told him to buck his ideas up and, in fairness, he did – ending the Spring Season with an average rating of 6.75.
However, I did sign two Canadian U20 international keepers who were currently free agents and I think they will fight it out for the #1 shirt in the Fall Season. Saundry will be moved to an affiliate or given a free.
I had high hopes for Keesean Ferdinand before the season started but quickly it was this lad who became our most important defender.
Teaguer is averaging 7.68 so far this season and has been brilliant – even though I had to gamble on resting him for the Cavalry showdown. He is certainly a player to build around and I would imagine he’d be one who gets sold on in the next two seasons.
Muenkat proved to be a match-winner once more.
I started him on the bench, as per the superstition, and he didn’t let me down coming on as sub in the first game and finishing off York9.
But, eventually, I trusted him from the start and he started scoring when he was in the starting XI as well – bonus. Four starts, off the bench 10 times and he netted 10 CPL goals.
Coups has got better and better.
In the last three matches, he was key and played better than he has done to date – hopefully, he can continue on that path.
This chart shows us in a good light.
Above average in all areas – happy with that. Overperforming on xG is good – one area of concern is the conceding more than our xGA.
We’re also not that clinical – despite overperforming on xG (as contradictory as that sounds).
In fact, I’m going to check that statement with the guys at totalfootballanalysis.com. Surely scoring more than xG suggests means we are in fact clinical, no? Hmmm.
I do like this addition.
Though it would make sense to tell us how many actual goals each team scored too.
Same feedback really, we let in 12 and that would be good to see on the chart.
Still, top of the xG and bottom of the xGA tells me we are doing somethings well.
How are we approaching the Fall Season other than just wanting to win, again?
I’ll be spending time extending contracts of the younger players who are really impressing. They run out in 2022, currently.
We will continue scouting, of course – but it’s very much a case of being aware of players that will improve what we already have rather than needing to replace ten like we had at the end of last season.
I think we are due a youth intake soon, too. I’ll need to plan how we best manage the youngsters coming through as we don’t have a B team or U20 team or anything like that.
It would be great if we could get past Vancouver, too. One thing at a time though.
We will dream of the CPL Final – unless teams around us go crazy and sign superstars, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think we can’t win this now – and qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. But, it would be great to head in as Fall Champions as well.
Let’s see. We have a plan, time to execute the next part.
See you soon x