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Atlético Ottawa, so far: Forwards

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‘The best defence is a good offence’ or so the saying goes. But a good offence also sells tickets.

Atlético Ottawa has the backing of a major European club but they also need to be a sustainable club on their own and that means putting people in the seats.

To attract casual sports fans for the next Canadian Premier League season they’ll need to provide excitement and that’s what offence does. It’s often the hook people hang their soccer memories on.

So far, Atlético Ottawa’s pool of forwards is small. But this group should grow soon with new signings. They do have skill, and as with all of the players Ottawa has signed, they should have additional motivation by playing for a team within the Atlético stable.

Let’s take a deeper look at Ottawa’s forwards so far:

Francisco Acuña

Experienced Spanish winger with plenty of skill

If his rather lofty nickname ‘El Messi’ is anything to go by, Acuña promises to be an exciting player for Atlético Ottawa. The winger, who’s capable on either side, can also play an attacking midfielder role. At 32-years-old, Acuña will add a veteran presence to a young Ottawa team, but experience is not all he has.

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A professional since 2008, he has played exclusively in the Mexican leagues, with most of that time spent in the top-tier Liga MX. The 5-foot-5-inch former Tigres UANL player should give Ottawa a genuine attacking punch and has the career history playing in the top North American league to prove it.

He brings top-tier experience and a very high level of skill to a young, impressionable group.  His passing and playmaking ability could be a danger to any defence in the league.  His signing may prove to be a crucial one, as he has all the tools needed to lead the attack.

Ben Fisk

Canadian winger with Canadian Premier League experience

Atlético Ottawa, Ben Fisk, Canadian Premier League

Atlético Ottawa winger Ben Fisk, right, playing for Pacific FC in 2019. Photo: ©Stuart Gradon/Total Soccer News

Fisk was the first signing in Atlético Ottawa’s history. The 27-year-old is a left winger who can also play on the right.

A Canadian international, he has earned two caps with the national team. He began as a youth with his hometown Vancouver Whitecaps and progressed through the ranks playing with the Whitecaps U-23 side, eventually turning pro.

He spent two seasons playing in Spain for Coruxo FC and Deportivo B before returning to his home country with FC Edmonton, then in the NASL. He signed for a season in the League of Ireland with Derry FC before spending last year in the CPL with Pacific FC.

He was one of the most sought after CPL free agents this off-season.

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“He will be a valuable asset of talent and experience, as well as be a leader on and off the pitch,” said Atlético Ottawa CEO Fernando López on Fisk’s signing. He brings Canadian National Team, European and CPL experience which instantly brings credibility and respected voice to the locker room.

We might be looking at Ottawa’s first ever captain. If not, he will still be looked upon for leadership to a very young team and will contribute to any success this team has.

Osah Bernardinho Tetteh (or Bernardinho)

Ghanaian winger with European experience

Tetteh is another winger who can play both sides, as well as an attacking midfielder. The native of Ghana began his professional career in that country for Accra Great Olympics FC before moving to Europe to play in Belgium for K.V.C. Westerlo in the Proximus League (Belgium’s second division).

CEO Fernando López describes his playing style as “a powerful attacking winger that can play on both sidelines of the pitch. He is an athlete, physically very strong, consistent, fast, with good passing abilities, vision and solid dribbling skills.”

He featured in 14 games with Westerlo in the Proximus League, and 43 appearances in the Belgian First Amateur Division while on loan at ASV Geel and K.S.K. Heist. The 23-year-old’s physicality and skill should be a nice addition to the team and should add much to the attack.

All three players could provide a lot to the team.

Atlético Ottawa striving for defensive excellence and tactical discipline

This roster is only a preview of what we will see when the season starts. However, it does give an indication of the squad’s direction.

Recently Atlético Ottawa head coach and general manager Mista spoke of his plans in a BBC Sport story about the new Ottawa club.

“Our team will be characterized by defensive excellence and tactical discipline — building a solid base at the foundation of the team, aggressive pressure on the rival, trying to recover balls and control the game as much as possible, impose our philosophy and generate goal locations, keep the ball, have the ball,” he said.

Employing a possession-based philosophy, possibly a Spanish tiki-taka style, I think would be a smart move for long-term success by providing a solid foundational identity for the club.  Although, arguably, it might lack the excitement of a more direct, higher-tempo style of play akin to the English Premier League.

Marketing campaigns and news coverage might work to get Ottawa’s attention, but to expand the fan base, Atlético Ottawa will need to provide them with an experience. An experience that gets people excited to go to a game. Marketing campaigns and news coverage will not provide this alone. That positive fan experience will need to come from the attack. 

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About Author

Ryan Stead

Ryan Stead is an Ottawa-based writer and life-long soccer fan. He has covered soccer and boxing for various outlets and is a published novelist with the book "Nation Man", available at Indigo. He covers Atlético Ottawa.

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