Raise your hand if you thought Atlético Ottawa would be challenging for top spot in the Canadian Premier League table after 10 games this season. Now, pat yourself on the back, you would have been right.
Their scoreless draw versus York United at TD Place on Tuesday evening saw them net another point and a brief place atop the standings with last year's champs, Pacific FC. Both teams have notched 18 points on the campaign so far, with Atlético playing one less game. It's a complete turnaround for a team that ended the 2021 season in last place.
Cavalry FC recently leapfrogged Atlético and Pacific FC for sole possession of first, for now.
"It's good. You know, we're in a good spot ... five unbeaten is great, what the staff is doing, what the group is doing, having an experienced locker room goes so far," said keeper Nathan Ingham, who made four stops to seal the clean sheet against York.
"My goalkeeper coach will be happy, he deserves a lot of credit on it. We work really hard to be in a good position and produce these results. They were reflex saves," Ingham told reporters after the game.
Ottawa dominated the opening 25 minutes of the game without creating any real chances to score. York United replied with strong play of its own in the Atlético end. Neither side really generated much though, ending things scoreless.
According to Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos Gonzalez, Ottawa let York United impose their rhythm on proceedings. The team tried to make some halftime adjustments but they had trouble pressing, he said.
Gonzalez has been happy with the team's run of five games without a defeat, but noted the coming weeks will be more difficult.
Card fest at TD Place
Referee Mathieu Souaré made his presence felt during the game, showing 10 cards, two of them reds.
Atlético captain Drew Beckie was ejected in the 82nd minute following a second warning. Beckie has already served a red card suspension this season.
Cédric Toussaint was also shown the red for a hard tackle, 10 minutes later. In reality, added Gonzalez, this wasn't a dirty game, with too many unnecessary cards doled out.
Ottawa heads to Alberta Sunday to face winless FC Edmonton.