After snagging a road point in Birmingham last weekend, Hartford Athletic returns home for a Friday night, battle with Bethlehem Steel FC. Friday will mark Hartford’s final contest at Rentschler Field before moving to Dillon Stadium. Here’s what you need to know:
HARTFORD ATHLETIC vs. BETHLEHEM STEEL FC
Date: Friday, June 28
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Location: Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT
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 earned a massive, 2-2 draw at Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday night, leading twice in the process. Athletic got on the scoresheet first in the 14th minute, as a sliding Harry Swartz tapped Alex Dixon’s well-timed cutback pass into the back of the net. After multiple near-misses, Birmingham pegged Hartford back in the 31st minute; the boys in green struggled to play out of their own half and the ball eventually found its way to Chandler Hoffman, whose curler from the top of the 18 found the upper left corner. Logan Gdula helped Hartford reclaim the lead 12 minutes later, tapping Mads Jørgensen’s dangerous inswinging free kick past Birmingham goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel. However, despite starting the second half on the back foot, Legion equalized again in the 52nd minute, as Hartford failed to clear its lines and Mikey Lopez drove his low shot into the bottom left corner. Both sides created multiple dangerous chances before the final whistle, but Frederik Due kept Birmingham at bay and Hartford had a goal disallowed (offside) in the 78th minute.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Hartford Athletic – Frederik Due, GK
Due has yet to keep a clean sheet this season, but he deserves praise for his recent form. He has single-handedly kept Hartford in multiple matches this year, making multiple massive saves when the boys in green need his services the most. The Dane earned Cigna Man of the Match honors this past weekend for his efforts against Birmingham, stopping 8 shots and keeping Hartford level when the Legion peppered his goal in the final half-hour. Due must be at the top of his game if Hartford hopes to earn another positive result this weekend.
Bethlehem Steel FC – Faris Pemi Moumbagna, F
Pemi Moumbagna is one of the youngest players on Bethlehem's roster; he will not turn 19 until July 1. However, the Cameroonian forward shows no signs of inexperience on the pitch, serving as one of the squad's most prolific attacking threats. Pemi Moumbagna has a clear eye for goal, leading Steel FC in both goals (4) and shots (24) this season. Hartford must keep the ball away from the 18-year old whenever he makes his way into the penalty area, as Pemi Moumbagna has scored all of his goals in the box.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
Bethlehem Steel FC sits in 11th in the Eastern Conference standings and is right in the thick of the playoff hunt, trailing 10th-placed Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC by 3 points. However, Steel FC’s form has dipped over the past few weeks; Bethlehem has lost three of its last four and has only won one of its last ten matches. The Philadelphia Union development side scores by committee, featuring five players with 3 or more goals. Zach Zandi leads the squad with 5 assists, more than double any other player on the Bethlehem roster.
Updates on the match will be provided via Twitter at @hfdathletic or by following #HFDvBST.