Atlético Ottawa will wear red, white, and blue in their debut season, as they become the eighth team to join the Canadian Premier League (CPL), making their home ground debut at TD Place on Saturday, May 16th. TD Place was the home of the Ottawa Fury for over a decade. But now, Canadian businessman Jeff Hunt and Atletico Madrid’s ownership group have partnered up to breathe life back into the Ottawa soccer scene.
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The introduction of a new team brings balance to the fixtures for the 2020 CPL season. This means in a reduction in midweek games, allowing viewers to catch more of the action throughout the season and hopefully, an increase in stadium attendance. Midweek games are never favourable. It works in Europe where teams have bigger squads. But for the CPL, only playing on weekends is ideal.
Ottawa has never gifted a championship title during the Fury, but ambitious new plans may bring success. The decision to bring in head coach Mista is a good start. He’s a born winner and knows the game as well as anyone. The presence of a Spanish coach, and an ex-player of his calibre, will do wonders for a team that will be thrown together before the season gets underway.
Atletico has until April 18, when they play defending champions Forge FC at Tim Horton’s Field. That means the club has just two months to assemble a squad to face the league’s best. Pacific FC was the last team to join back in July 2018, yet they still had nine months to come up with a full roster.
There’s still a few of Ottawa Fury players that remain free agents, the likes of Maxim Tissot, who has come out and announced his desire to remain in Bytown. The CPL has a handful of talented free agents who performed well in the league’s first season. To name a few, Ben Fisk, Emile Legault, and Daniel Gogarty.
Another bonus for Atletico Ottawa will be the European connection. Fringe players, youth players looking for experience; the CPL offers young players the chance to play with men and learn the pace of professional football. The conveyer belt of talent coming out of Madrid will likely serve the Ottawa team well.
Who will win the Canadian Premier League in 2020?
The second season of CPL gets underway on April 11th, as Forge takes on Cavalry. The CPL betting odds will soon be hotting up, as we get closer to Easter. Cavalry won both the Spring and Fall season in 2019, yet the Forge managed to win 2-0 on aggregate in the final.
If the first season was anything to go by, we can expect the 2019 finalists to once again dominate the competition. Forge has added to their roster during the off-season, bringing in David Edgar, Justin Stoddart and the young Oluwaseun Oyegunle. While the Cavalry has brought in Jair Cordova, Tofa Fakunle, Aribim Pepple, Jose Hernandez and Bruno Zebie. Both teams have strengthened, but in a league that is only going into its second season, it’s more about building on what you already have.
As teams continue to assemble, it’s difficult to say which team will be triumphant. With such a young league and a lot of investment going into football in Canada, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the next Alphonso Davies coming out of the CPL.
The Canadian Premier League executives do not want to stop at Ottawa. They already started talks for future expansions regarding the 2021 season. According to rumours published in the Canadian press, Quebec City FC , a team in Saskatchewan and another in Montreal could join the CPL very soon.