Hartford break their five match unbeaten streak as Loudoun United erupt for three goals in the second half to secure all three points for the home side.
The red-hot Hartford Athletic started tonight’s match on a cooler note than their previous three. They were able to register only one shot in the first 15 minutes courtesy of Ariel Martínez. Danny Barrera found Joel Johnson in the Loudoun box through a lofted through ball, leaving Johnson at a standstill facing a defender. Martínez arrived to receive the lay-off but his shot was saved by the diving Luis Zamudio. Immediately after, the hosts would have a chance of their own. The 15-year-old Matai Akinmboni chipped in Zoumana Diarra, who was in a one-on-one with Yannik Oettl. Before he could take the shot, Mo Jadama chased down the attacker from behind to clear the ball to safety.
Hartford would have another prime, but unfruitful, chance in the 41st minute. Ariel found Peter-Lee Vassell in Loudoun’s box with only the keeper to beat. The Jamaican chose an unselfish back pass instead of challenging Zamudio. A retreating defender cut out the pass and effectively ended one of Hartford’s best attacking chances.
The remainder of the gritty and back-and-forth half would remain tied at zero. Neither side had many clear opportunities to lead due to sloppiness and key defensive efforts. Hartford conceded 57.9% of possession and allowed Loudoun United to complete 87.5% of their passes. Uncharacteristically, the Green and Blue had less crosses, corners, and shots, which they looked to change as the teams emerged from the locker rooms for the second half.
Loudoun took their momentum straight to the visitors in the 49th minute to put the home side ahead 1-0. With Mo Jadama at his back, Skage Lehland sent a backheel pass to Theodore Ku-Dipietro. The attacker took a touch past the flat-footed Tulu and towards Yannik Oettl’s goal. Loudoun’s #22 slotted the ball calmly past the German keeper for his second goal of the season.
After a period of alternating possession, Loudoun doubled their lead through Tyler Freeman. Lehland was the outlet yet again, who drew Tulu in to provide a backheeled pass to Freeman. The forward sent in a powerful shot that ricocheted off Oettl’s forearm and into the goal.
Things went from bad to worse for Hartford three minutes later as Freeman netted a second goal in the 74th minute to extend Loudoun’s lead to three goals. After forcing substitute Jeciel Cedeño into a turnover, Ted Ku-Dipietro dribbled towards Hartford’s back line. At the last moment, he found Freeman, who made no mistake to put the ball past Oettl once again.
The three-goal lead would hold for the home side, which marked their first win against Hartford in the matchup’s history. Despite holding 56% possession in the second half, the Green and Blue failed to register any big chances or shots from within Loudoun’s box. Ultimately, Hartford was only able to tally three shots on target from 23 touches in Loudoun’s box.
As the season comes to a close, the Green and Blue will have a week-and-a-half break to adjust and regroup before they host Charleston Battery on October 1 at 7 PM.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford 8 (3) Loudoun 15 (5)
Corners: Hartford 2 Loudoun 4
Fouls: Hartford Loudoun
Offsides: Hartford 15 Loudoun 16
Possession: Hartford 48.3% Loudoun 51.7%
Passing Accuracy: Hartford 81.8% Loudoun 82.9%
Saves: Hartford 4 Loudoun 2
50′ – Ku-Dipietro (Lehland)
71′ – Freeman (Lehland)
74′ – Freeman (Ku-Dipietro)
31′ – Lehland (Yellow)
43′ – Saydee (Yellow)
45+1:06′ – Tulu (Yellow)
51′ – Akinmboni (Yellow)
63′ – Brewitt (Yellow)
90+5:34′ – Smith (Yellow)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP
13 (GK) Yannik Oettl, 30 (DF) Joel Johnson (Dally, 86′); 23 (DF) Modou Jadama, 4 (DF) Tulu, 2 (DF) Younes Boudadi, 10 (MF) Danny Barrera (Cedeño); 5 (MF) Tom Brewitt, 7 (MF) Prince Saydee, 8 (MF) Peter-Lee Vassell (Gdula, 58′); 77 (MF) Andre Lewis (Prpa, 86′); 6 (FW) Ariel Martínez (Obregón, 72′)
LOUDOUN UNITED STARTING LINEUP
50 (GK) Luis Zamudio, 24 (DF) Jalen Robinson, 15 (DF) Nicky Downs, 4 (DF) Carson Vom Steeg, 3 (DF) Jacob Greene, 41 (MF) Matai Akinmboni (Zanne, 62′); 22 (MF) Theodore Ku-Dipietro, 19 (MF) Houssou Landry (Freeman, 66′); 17 (MF) Kimarni Smith, 8 (MF) Skage Lehland (Liaid, 77′); 12 (FW) Zoumana Diarra (Turner, 77′)