On Saturday night Dillon Stadium produced a match that will be remembered for years to come as Hartford Athletic closed out its inaugural season in style with a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay Rowdies. In front of a near capacity crowd of 4,674, super sub Wojtek Wojcik scored at the death (90+4') to pull out the victory for the Boys in Green over playoff bound Tampa Bay.
The first half didn’t have much in the way of action with both sides feeling each other out. Juan Tejada of the visitors had a tame header saved by Cropper early on while Athletic's Jose Angulo had a hat-trick’s worth of chances but couldn’t capitalize. Both sides headed into the intermission knotted 0-0.
The second half brought the fireworks. Ryan Williams managed to get on the end of a cross from Hord that eluded everybody in the Tampa Bay box to slot one far post and make it 1-0 Hartford in the 47th minute. Minutes later Williams put Barrera in behind the opposition for a chance only to see the ball blasted straight at the Tampa Bay keeper. The 68th minute saw Malik Johnson of Tampa Bay awarded his second yellow caution resulting in a red card and a sending off to put Athletic up a man. This looked to shift momentum Hartford’s way but it proved otherwise -- Tampa scored less than 10 minutes later at the 77th minute when Lucky Mkosana caught Hartford off guard on a well-deserved goal to make it 1-1. With the score now level, Coach Nielsen went to the well bringing on attacking subs Wojciech and Rasmussen for Angulo and Danny Bedoya. This proved pivotal as Raymond Lee whipped a cross from the left wing to find the head of Wojcik at the 90+4’ to win it and cap off a historic inaugural season for Hartford Athletic.
Hartford Athletic XI:
22 GK Cody Cropper; 3 D Raymond Lee, 44 D Alex Davey, 24 D Logan Gdula, 26 D Elliot Hord; 7 MF Sebastian Dalgaard, 14 MF Ryan Williams, 4 MF Sem de Wit, 80 MF Danny Barrera; 9 F Jose Angulo, 46 F Danny Bedoya
Subs- 16 GK Mike Novotny,12 F Wojcik Wojciech, 10 MF Philip Rasmussen, 92 F Giuseppe Gentile, 5 MF Tyler David, 21 MF Nicky Downs, 19 F Mac Steeves
Tampa Bay Rowdies XI:
1 GK John McCarthy; 4 D Tarek Morad, 20 D Caleb Richards, 44 D Pape Diakite; 14 M Malik Johnson, 15 M Andrew Tinari, 19 M Shawn Barry, 22 M Jordan Doherty, 88 M Kwadwo Poku; 13 F Sebastian Guenzatti, 17 F Juan Tejada
Subs- 21 GK Macklin Robson, 42 D Mohamed Kone, 7 M Yann Ekra, 8 M Zach Steinberger, 26 M Afrim Taku, 32 F Jaime Siaj, 77 F Lucky Mkosana
1-0: Ryan Williams 47’ (Hartford)
1-1: Lucky Mkosana 73’ (Tampa)
2-1: Wojciech Wojcik 90+4’ (Hartford)
Yellow Card: Ryan Williams 40’ (Hartford)
Yellow Card: Logan Gdula 62’ (Hartford)
Yellow Card: Malik Johnson 62’ (Tampa)
Red Card (2nd Yellow): Malik Johnson 68’ (Tampa)
Yellow Card: Pape Diakite 80’ Tampa)