Despite a valiant second-half comeback effort, Hartford Athletic came up whiskers short at Swope Park Rangers Wednesday night, falling in 4-3 fashion. Athletic fell into an early three-goal hole and could not make up enough ground in the final 45 minutes, leaving them on 13 points after 20 USL Championship matches.
Swope Park opened the scoring after just 7 minutes, when Felipe Hernandez caught Raymond Lee out in possession and finished beautifully with the outside of his right foot. Rangers midfielder Kelyn Rowe then bagged two goals in three minutes to hand his side a convincing 3-0 advantage; in the 27th, Rowe hit the top left corner from nearly 30 yards, and he tapped the ball into an empty net in the 30th after some impressive link-up play with Erik Hurtado. The boys in green struggled to find their footing for the remainder of the half, and they entered the dressing room facing one of their larger deficits of the season.
However, Hartford opened the second half with initiative, getting on the scoresheet after just 22 seconds of play. Alex Dixon’s shot from the left side of Rangers’ penalty eventually deflected off defender Camden Riley’s foot and past goalkeeper Brooks Thompson, trimming Hartford’s deficit to 3-1. While midfielder Tyler Freeman grabbed SPR’s fourth goal just four minutes later, Athletic continued to take control of proceedings, hitting the back of the net again in the 58th. Midfield mastermind Danny Barrera (operating from just inside the Swope Park half) played a brilliant aerial through ball into the path of Alex Dixon, who blasted it bar down on the half volley.
The boys in green then got within striking distance in the 74th minute, benefiting from a SPR defensive miscommunication. As Thompson fielded a sloppy backwards pass, he attempted to find Riley with a short ball. Hartford substitute Mac Steeves intercepted and calmly stroked it past the Rangers goalkeeper, helping Athletic climb back into the match.
Hartford coach Jimmy Nielsen threw his men forward in the closing minutes as the boys in green chased an equalizer, but they could not conjure another glaring goalscoring opportunity. After 6 minutes of added time, the final whistle sounded, and Hartford left Kansas City empty-handed.
Hartford Athletic will face another quick turnaround when it hosts Charleston Battery at Dillon Stadium this Saturday. The match will kick off at 5:00 PM EST.
Shots: 15-14 SPR
Shots on Target: 9-4 SPR
Corner Kicks: 4-2 SPR
Fouls Committed: 15-14 HFD
Saves: 5-2 HFD
Offside: 6-1 HFD
Possession: 59-41 SPR
Passing Accuracy: 90-86 SPR
SPR – Felipe Hernandez 7’
SPR – Kelyn Rowe 27’
SPR – Kelyn Rowe 30’
HFD – Camden Riley (OG) 46’
SPR – Tyler Freeman 50’
HFD – Alex Dixon 58’
HFD – Mac Steeves 74’
45+1’ – Danny Barrera (Yellow)
61’ – Sean Karani (Yellow)
63’ – Kelyn Rowe (Yellow)
64’ – Camden Riley (Yellow)
69’ – Alex Davey (Yellow)
71’ – Kyle Curinga (Yellow)
75’ – Mark Segbers (Yellow)
90+2’ – Philip Rasmussen (Yellow)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP
Frederik Due; Raymond Lee, Sem De Wit, Philip Rasmussen, Kyle Curinga; Ryan Williams, Mads Jørgensen (Alex Davey 46’), Alex Dixon, Danny Barrera, Harry Swartz (Nicky Downs 57’); Jose Angulo (Mac Steeves 46’)
SWOPE PARK RANGERS STARTING LINEUP
Brooks Thompson, Alexsander Andrae, Camden Riley, Graham Smith, Mark Segbers; Wan Kuzain, Jimmy Medranda (Sean Karani 53’), Kelyn Rowe, Tyler Freeman (Killian Colombie 85’), Felipe Hernandez; Erik Hurtado (Ethan Vanacore-Decker 53’)