Atletico Ottawa crest. Photo/ canpl.ca
The Canadian Premier League released its schedule Friday and it brought along some new changes to the league. Each team will play 14 games Away and Home, meaning they will play all teams 4 times (twice at home and twice away). All 8 teams will play on Canada Day and on the last day of the Season (October 4th).
This season, the league is introducing Friday Night Football.
“We, in this country, as we build this new league and the game here, we need to find ways to help supporters create their own traditions. The idea around Friday night does that. It’s always going to be a good night out.”David Clanachan
Atlético Ottawa will play 6 Friday Night games this season with 2 of them being at home.
The biggest change to the league, however, is the playoff format. This season, the league has gotten rid of the spring/fall season format and will go with a single table format. At the end of the season, the 1st placed team will automatically qualify for the final. Meanwhile, the 2nd and 3rd placed team will play a single round playoff match to determine who advances to the final in October. Personally, I believe this is the perfect format to not only implement playoffs but reward the best regular-season team. If you are the best team after 28 games you deserve a reward, and that reward is a bye to the final. As for the rest of the teams, they all have something to play for as 2nd and 3rd is very attainable even if you are 6th place. This will mean exciting football right to the very last game of the season. Because of this format, I do see Atlético Ottawa being competitive right to the end of the season. I don’t know if they will make the playoffs, but they will for sure make a run for that 3rd placed spot.
Looking at the schedule, Ottawa kicks off the season on the road in Hamilton as they take on Reigning Champs Forge FC. The Bytown Boys are currently organizing a road trip down to Hamilton for this game, so make sure to keep updated on their Twitter and Facebook Group. Ottawa will then play 3 more games on the road until their Home Opener on May 16th vs the HFX Wanderers. Speaking about the Wanderers, it is interesting to note that Ottawa will play 3 out of the 4 games against Halifax in the first 8 games of the season. As one may know, the city of Ottawa has a history with Halifax as the Ottawa Fury faced them in the Canadian Championship last summer.
In June and July, Ottawa will have a tough schedule as they will be on the road for 8 out of the 10 games, with 1 home game in June and July respectively. However, to counter this, In August Ottawa will be at home for 5 out of the 6 games. Unfortunately, all but one of these games are 1 pm Kickoff times meaning fans will have to be out in the smoldering heat. After August, Ottawa will finish off the season with 4 out of the remaining 5 games at home, including the mentioned last game of the season on October 4th.
In my opinion, this is a very good schedule as they were able to avoid conflicts with music festivals in July and fans will be able to attend 9 home games from August to October. I’m personally looking forward to the road trips to Forge and possibly York, where we will be able to drive down and support the team on the road. This opportunity will arise once a month from April to July, so as mentioned before stay tuned to the Bytown Boys for information on this.
Now that the schedule has been released, all that is left for Atlético Ottawa is the Kit announcement and Player signings. AJ Jakubec tweeted out this on Friday:
This is great news that will hopefully put some fans at ease as it appears that we do have players signed and even better it looks like we will be competitive! Now onto the official announcement and Jersey Release!