Hartford Athletic hosts its third straight USL Championship match on Saturday night, facing off against Saint Louis FC. Hartford is unbeaten in its last three league matches, but the Boys in Green are still seeking their first win at Rentschler Field. On Saturday night, fans will be able to purchase $2 draught beers and $2 hot dogs until the 19th minute, in honor of our inaugural season. Here’s what you need to know:
HARTFORD ATHLETIC vs SAINT LOUIS FC
Date: Saturday, June 8
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Location: Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field
Local TV: WCTX MyTV9
WHERE TO WATCH:
Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt, 140 Huyshope Ave., Hartford
City Steam Brewery and Cafe, 942 Main St., Hartford
2nd Bridge Brewing Co., 642 Hilliard St., Manchester
Lakeview Restaurant & Bar, 50 Lake St., Coventry
V's Trattoria, 280 Trumbull St, Hartford, CT 06103
LAST TIME OUT:
Hartford Athletic took the fight to North Carolina FC last Saturday, drawing 1-1 in the friendly confines of Rentschler Field. Harry Swartz got Athletic on the scoresheet 17 seconds after the opening kick-off; Jose Angulo beat his defender to the touchline and Swartz tapped the forward’s near-perfect low cross into the North Carolina net. Hartford had multiple chances to double its advantage, but the Boys in Green couldn’t quite put the finishing touches on any of their remaining goalscoring opportunities. NCFC eventually made the home side pay in the 58th minute, when Hartford struggled to clear its lines from a set piece and Yamikani Chester curled his shot past a diving Frederik Due. Both squads pushed aggressively for a winner, but neither side managed to hit the back of the net before the final whistle sounded.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Hartford Athletic – Harry Swartz, MF
Swartz operates predominantly on the wing, seeking to sprint at the opposition and leave defenders in the dust. The 23-year old was easily Hartford’s most dangerous player on Saturday night, opening the scoring, making numerous incisive on-ball runs, and earning Cigna Man of the Match honors for his efforts. Athletic will need Swartz to replicate his good form this weekend in order to maximize pressure on the Saint Louis back line.
Saint Louis FC – Lewis Hilton, MF
Hilton is a midfield metronome, serving as a crucial cog in St. Louis’ buildup machine. The Englishman is largely known for his distribution skills, recording a team-high 2 assists and 17 key passes. However, he also puts in a solid shift defensively, as evidenced by his 12-interception (T-2nd on team) tally this season. If Hartford hopes to curb Hilton’s influence going forward, it must cut off his forward passing lanes and apply on-ball pressure whenever he touches the ball.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
Saint Louis is set to contest its first match in all competitions since May 29, when it earned a 3-1 victory over Forward Madison FC in the 3rd Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Saint Louis is currently riding a six-match unbeaten run, and the squad has only suffered one loss all season. However, the boys from “The Gateway City” have drawn four of their 10 league matches this season, leaving them in 8th in the Eastern Conference standings (10 points back of the 1st-place Tampa Bay Rowdies). Forward Russell Cicerone and defender Sam Fink lead the squad in goals (3 each), and both will hope to be on target as Saint Louis seeks its first USL Championship win since April 27.
Updates on the match will be provided via Twitter at @hfdathletic or by following #HFDvSTL.