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PREVIEW: Magic Number 3

By Hartford Athletic, 09/19/20, 12:00PM EDT

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The Boys in Green head back out on the road for the second matchup of the season against Philadelphia Union II. The goal in this one is simple, win and Hartford clinch a playoff spot for the first time in Club history. Clinching a playoff spot this early in the season will be big for Head Coach Radhi Jaïdi's squad, as this is the third match in a stretch of seven over twenty-three days. Hartford will look to build off the momentum built on Wednesday night when they handed Red Bulls II a 3-1 loss. 

HARTFORD ATHLETIC (7-3-1) at PHILADELPHIA UNION II (2-7-2)

Date: Sunday, September 20th

Time: 5:00 PM ET

Location: Subaru Park, Chester, PA

Local TV: WCTX MyTV9

Streaming: hartfordathletic.com/watch or ESPN+

International Viewers: YouTube

LAST TIME OUT:

It was the new signings that helped Athletic continue their playoff push in a 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls ll at Dillon Stadium. In the 11th minute, Idan Cohen swung in an absolute beauty that found the head of Matheus Silva to put Hartford in front - his first goal in Green and Blue. Right after the added time board showed 5 minutes, Alex Dixon picked up the ball outside the 18. The veteran’s near-post strike went into the net to put Hartford two-nil up just before the half! In the 75th minute with the lead cut to 2-1, Justin Haak volleyed home a ball off a corner to secure victory for Hartford.

IRON MAN:

Calling Matheus Silva an Iron Man is more a reference to Lou Gehrig than Tony Stark. Silva is the only outfield player on the roster to play every minute this season. Silva is also strong, physical, and someone you don't want to challenge. He also leads the club in Interceptions (22), Duels Won (87), Aerial Duels Won (36), and is tied for the lead in Blocks (9). Silva has racked up solid stats in other defensive categories including Clearances (25), and Tackles Won (16) where he ranks second on the club.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION:

Despite only playing 11 matches this season, Hartford has accumulated 31 Yellow Cards, tied for 3rd most in the league. Hartford have 8 players with multiple Yellows, but Matheus Silva leads the way with 6. He is two Yellow Cards away from an accumulation suspension. Hartford has yet to have a player be sent off this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Hartford Athletic, Idan Cohen, D, #25: 

The Right Wing back position in Head Coach Radhi Jaïdi's 3-5-2 is an important one, and one that hasn't had a constant reliable fill-in since Harry Swartz left with an injury at the end of August. Cohen showed on Wednesday night that he just might be the guy to fill the spot. Cohen played 65 minutes and assisted on the opening goal of the night, delivering a beautiful ball to Matheus Silva who headed it into the net. Cohen played aggressively with the ball and was solid in defense as well. He should be in line for more consistent and significant minutes if he turns in more performances like Wednesday.

Philadelphia Union II, Axel Picazo, MF, #59:

You'll never forget a name like his, but most Hartford fans, and surely those on the field at Dillon Stadium on July 25th remember Picazo bagging a goal to give the visitors a two goal lead early in the match. Picazo's involvement in the offense has progressed, as he leads the team in shots taken and is third in Chances Created. Those on the Hartford back line will have to keep their eyes on Picazo in order to keep Union II off the board on Sunday.

ABOUT THE OPPONENT:

Hartford Athletic and Philadelphia Union II square off in their second of four matches this season. Two matches between the squads were postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests among Union II covered persons. A young squad, Philadelphia has found some momentum by way of a 4-0 victory over Loudoun United FC on Wednesday night. Union II had four different goal scorers in that match. Last time these teams met, Hartford quickly fell down 2-0, but goals from Gabriel Torres, Mads Jørgensen, and Ever Guzmán put the Boys in Green ahead 3-2, a lead they would never relinquish. 

FOLLOW ONLINE: 

Can’t watch? Stay in touch with our live commentary @hfdathletic or by following #PHIvHFD

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