A goal in each half and lock down defending from Hartford Athletic propelled them to a commanding 2-0 victory at home over Loudoun United FC, snapping a three-game losing streak in the midst of a downpour at Trinity Health Stadium.
Hartford Athletic had to stave off some attacking pressure from Loudoun United in the opening 20 minutes of tonight’s match. The visiting side forced three corners in the first ten minutes, and first Hartford to scramble on a chaotic free kick in the 13th minute. Jeremy Garay fed a ball into the box from about 30 yards away from goal that was headed to the center of the box, forcing a diving punch from Richard Sánchez. A heads up play by the Hartford keeper to shut down the early scoring threat, as Hartford has given up five goals before the 25th minute this season.
The Green and Blue broke through to score in the 23rd minute. Prince Saydee made an interception in the Loudoun half and played a ball across the field and forward for Antoine Hoppenot, who rolled a perfectly-weighted ball into the box to Kyle Edwards. He made a pass that was deflected by Loudoun keeper Hugo Fauroux and fell to Juan Pablo Torres, who jammed a shot off a Loudoun defender that floated into the open net. A great piece of connecting play from Hartford for Torres’ first goal in Green and Blue.
Loudoun would take three more shots before the end of the half, putting one on target that forced a routine save from Richard Sánchez. Hartford were out possessed 60.5% to 39.5% in the half, but had 15 touches in Loudoun’s box and made the most of their best scoring chance.
Much of the action was played in the middle of the field through the first 15 minutes of the second half, with both teams taking just one shot. Kyle Edwards began to create problems for Loudoun in their third, and drew a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Niall Logue played a long ball from midfield all the way up into the Loudoun box, and Edwards, who had gotten behind the Loudoun back line, was tripped by the charging Hugo Fauroux. Head Coach Tab Ramos called on Elvis Amoh to take the penalty, and he buried it straight down the middle. Amoh came off the bench in the 58th minute, making his first appearance since suffering an injury against Charleston on April 8th. A great sign for Hartford to have one of their top strikers back in action.
With a 2-0 lead, Hartford defended tremendously for the rest of the half. They faced eight more shots, blocked five of them, and allowed just four touches in their box. Richard Sánchez was also reliable in net, making three saves in the half and totaling four in the match. Hartford continued to play positively in Loudoun’s third as well, nearly generating another goal for Elvis Amoh in the 79th minute. Torres chased down a ball in the final third and looped a brilliant ball across the field and into the box for Amoh. The Ghanaian forward lifted his shot over the hand of Fauroux, but it was blocked just in front of the goal line by Hayden Sargis. Hartford planted their feet in their half the rest of the way and kept Loudoun off the scoreboard, earning their first clean sheet of the season and a 2-0 win. Hartford extends their head-to-head record against Loudoun United to 11-1-1 overall, and 8-0-1 at home.
Hartford Athletic return home next Friday, May 26th, for a matchup with Sacramento Republic FC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford 9 Loudoun 15
Corners: Hartford 2 Loudoun 7
Fouls: Hartford 19 Loudoun 10
Offsides: Hartford 2 Loudoun 2
Possession: Hartford 38.2% Loudoun 61.8%
Passing Accuracy: Hartford 72.2% Loudoun 80%
Saves: Hartford 4 Loudoun 0
23′ – Torres (Edwards)
67′ – Amoh
10′ – Landry (Yellow)
36′ – Sheldon (Yellow)
81′ – Hopkins (Yellow)
84′ – Merrill (Yellow)
88′ – Rad (Yellow)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP
1 (GK) Richard Sánchez, 50 (DF) Niall Logue, 22 (DF) Robin Lapert (Rad, 45′); 28 (MF) Conor McGlynn, 16 (DF) Matt Sheldon (Merrill, 58′); 5 (DF) Triston Hodge, 8 (MF) Juan Pablo Torres, 10 (MF) Danny Barrera (Cedeño, 82′); 29 (FW) Antoine Hoppenot, 7 (FW) Prince Saydee (Amoh, 58′); 17 (FW) Kyle Edwards (Lewis, 82′)
LOUDOUN UNITED FC STARTING LINEUP
30 (GK) Hugo Fauroux, 23 (MF) Kalil ElMedkhar, 27 (DF) Bryce Washington, 20 (DF) Daniel Chica (Koanda, 59′); 2 (DF) Koa Santos, 19 (MF) Houssou Landry (Zanne, 59′); 4 (MF) Aidan Rocha, 11 (MF) Jeremy Garay, 12 (FW) Jackson Hopkins, 14 (FW) Wesley Leggett (Armenakas, 59′); 28 (FW) Zach Ryan (Williamson, 59′)