2021 is off on the right foot! A dominant first half from the road side powered Hartford Athletic and Head Coach Harry Watling to the first win of 2021, 3-2 over New York Red Bulls II!
Hartford dominated the first 45 minutes. After a couple of early chances, the Captain put Hartford on the board first. Luka Prpa played a beautiful curling ball up the left side to Center Forward Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. Obregón Jr. held up play nicely as Gabi Torres came sweeping in from the left. Torres took a pass from Obregón Jr. and delivered a beautiful ball into the box to the feet of Danny Barrera who redirected the ball into the far corner for the opening goal of the season!
Twenty minutes later, Hartford struck again. Walmer Martinez, who was inserted into the starting lineup about 25 minutes before kickoff, made a beautiful run up the right side and crossed low into Obregón Jr. who simply tapped the ball past the Red Bulls II keeper. It was the first professional assist for Martinez and Obregón Jr.'s first goal in a Hartford uniform. The away side took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Red Bulls II answered in the second half. In the 68th minute, RBII countered on a Hartford turnover and Jake LaCava powered a shot past a diving Jeff Caldwell for the Baby Bulls first goal of the night. RBII had their chances in the second half but Hartford extended the lead when Arthur Rogers's free kick in the 84th minute went untouched into the box and bounced into the net to give Hartford their third goal of the night!
Coach Watling's first win couldn't happen without a little stress, however. In the 90th minute, Jeff Caldwell was given a Yellow Card as he dove to try and stop an oncoming RBII attacker. Mandela Egbo knocked home the penalty kick to cut the deficit to 3-2, but RBII failed to find the back of the net in three minutes of stoppage time.
Hartford Athletic will be back at it again on Tuesday in a USL friendly at home against New England Revolution II at 7 PM. It will be $2 Beer night for all fans in attendance. This game will not be broadcast on television. Fans interested in attending can purchase single game tickets at hartfordathletic.com/tickets.
Athletic resumes USL Championship play next Saturday, on the road against Miami FC at 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcast on MyTV9 as well as ESPN+.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 10 (4) - 12 (4) NYRBII
Corners: Hartford Athletic 2-2 NYRBII
Fouls: Hartford Athletic 21-17 NYRBII
Offsides: Hartford Athletic 1-1 NYRBII
Possession: Hartford Athletic 39.4%-60.6% NYRBII
Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 60.5%-72.9% NYRBII
Saves: Hartford Athletic 2-1 NYRBII
13' - Danny Barrera (Gabriel Torres) 1-0
36' - Juan Carlos Obergón Jr. (Walmer Martinez) 2-0
67' - Jake LaCava (Jeremy Rafanello) 2-1
84' - Arthur Rogers 3-1
90' - Mandela Egbo 3-2
19' - Arthur Rogers (Yellow)
42' - Wiki Carmona (Yellow)
45+1' - Jeremy Rafanello (Yellow)
47' - Daniel Edelman (Yellow)
50' - Walmer Martinez (Yellow)
81' - Sebastian Elney (Yellow)
90' - Jeff Caldwell (Yellow)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
13 (GK) Jeff Caldwell; 5 (DF) Nii Armah Ashitey, 28 (DF) Conor McGlynn, 20 (DF) Thomas Janjigian, 16 (DF) Gabriel Torres; 10 (MF) Danny Barrera, 6 (MF) Arthur Rogers, 11 (MF) Luka Prpa; 18 (FW) Walmer Martinez (Richie Schlentz 72'), 29 (FW) Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. (Sebastian Elney 78'), 7 (FW) Bradford Jamieson IV
NEW YORK RED BULLS II STARTING LINEUP:
88 (GK) Luca Lewis; 63 (DF) Matthew Acosta, 30 (DF) Emir Tombul, 39 (DF) Mandela Egbo, 85 (DF) Joseph Zalinsky; 75 (MF) Daniel Edelman, 66 (MF) Michael Knapp, 64 (MF) Jake LaCava, 19 (MF) Wiki Cardona (Austin Brummett 63'); 36 (FW) Jeremy Rafanello (Roald Mitchell 77'), 67 (FW) Omar Sowe