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PREVIEW: Hartford Welcome Real Monarchs SLC in First Ever Inter-Conference Matchup

By Hartford Athletic, 05/28/21, 11:45AM EDT

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HARTFORD ATHLETIC (2-0-1) vs REAL MONARCHS SLC (0-2-2)

Date: Saturday, May 29th

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Location: Dillon Stadium, Hartford, CT

Local TV: WCTX MyTV9

Tickets: https://bit.ly/3wD7nC0

Streaming: ESPN+ or hartfordathletic.com/watch

International Viewers: YouTube

LAST TIME OUT:

Hartford’s first home match of the season ended in thrilling fashion, as a last-minute equalizer from Luka Prpa salvaged a point for Harry Watling’s side in a 1-1 draw with Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Yet again, Danny Barrera was at the heart of the action, as his pinpoint delivery was met by a glancing header at the near post from Prpa that sent Dillon Stadium into an absolute frenzy. 

POSSESSION WITH A PURPOSE:

The early success of this Hartford squad has centered around their ability to play effective, possession football. Through their three matches this season, Hartford boasts a 77.7 percent pass success rate, with 51.3 percent of their long passes being successful as well. The most important statistic, however, is the direction of Hartford’s possession. 36.4 percent of Hartford’s passes are forward passes, highlighting the squad’s intent and desire to attack (Stats via USL). 

DECISIVE DEPTH:

The flying start to the season has seen the squad score five goals in three games, with the last two goals coming from substitutes Preston Tabort Etaka against Miami FC, and Luka Prpa against Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Preston and Luka’s goals were not only important for helping the squad to pick up valuable points in tough matches, but also demonstrate the fantastic depth for the Boys in Blue and Green.

FROM THE GAFFER:

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Hartford Athletic, Danny Barrera, #10, MF (C)

The club captain has picked up right where he left off last season in the Blue and Green, with a goal and two assists in his first three appearances this season. While this Saturday may be Real Monarchs' first appearance at Dillon Stadium, Danny has had experience playing them during his time with Sacramento Republic FC. The captain will be looking to win the midfield battle for Hartford this Saturday, while adding to his stellar form in front of goal. 

Real Monarchs SLC, Malik Johnson, #61, MF/FW

One of the lone bright sparks for Real Monarchs in the opening three matches of the season, Malik Johnson has scored once and created 7 chances through the opening three matches of the season. A familiar opponent, Johnson formerly represented our Eastern Atlantic Conference rivals the Tampa Bay Rowdies, from 2019 to 2020, making 33 appearances and scoring 5 goals.

ABOUT THE OPPONENT:

Hartford will welcome the 2019 USL Championship title winners, Real Monarchs, to Dillon Stadium this Saturday in an inter-conference clash. The Monarchs have only taken two points from their first three matches, with draws to San Antonio and Austin Bold being separated by a 2-0 defeat to LA Galaxy II. Despite the indifferent start to the season for the Herriman-based side, Jámison Olave’s squad boasts several dangerous players, including forward Bode Davis, who has 1 goal and 1 assist through the opening 3 matches of the season.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Follow along on Twitter @hfdathletic and #HFDvSLC

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