HARTFORD ATHLETIC (3-0-1) at CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (3-2-0)
Date: Sunday, June 13th
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Location: Sportsplex at Matthews, Matthews, NC
Local TV: WCTX MyTV9
International Viewers: YouTube
LAST TIME OUT:
Hartford’s brilliant start to the season continued against Red Bulls II on an incredibly enjoyable evening for the Hartford faithful, as Dillon Stadium opened to full capacity for the first time since 2019. Harry Watling’s squad shattered the club’s largest-ever win, as braces from Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. and Preston Tabort Etaka led Hartford to a 7-0 win. Former Red Bulls II forward Sebastian Elney bagged a goal against his former club, while Danny Barrera and Conor McGlynn’s strikes both found the back of the net, the latter’s being the 2nd best play on SportsCenter’s Top 10.
WHATEVER IT TAKES:
While Saturday night’s rout of Red Bulls II was a fine display of the brand of football that Harry Watling wants to see from his squad, what made the win more impressive was that Athletic managed 7 goals and a clean sheet with only 36.8% possession. It’s the second time this season that Hartford have grabbed all three points without having more possession, showcasing that this Athletic squad can win in a variety of different ways.
Hartford’s recent win over Red Bulls has been coupled with the addition of another seasoned forward, albeit in a different role. Former Premier League forward Jon Stead has agreed to join Athletic as Assistant Coach. With perhaps the most talented forward line that the club has had in its history, Stead, who scored over 165 goals in 700 career appearances, will share elite expertise to a blossoming forward line.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Hartford Athletic, Juan Carlos Obregón Jr., FW #29
Ever since Obregón came to Hartford on trial, all he's done is score goals. Obregón scored 3 times in preseason and has now scored 3 times in the regular season following his first half brace against New York Red Bulls II last Saturday. This Charlotte side is coming off a 1-0 win over a high powered Tampa Bay Rowdies attack. Obregón will need to get going on the right foot to break down their defense.
Charlotte Independence, Jake Areman, MF #4
A creative yet combative midfielder, Areman possesses attributes on both sides of the ball that Hartford will be keen to nullify. Despite only scoring 1 goal so far, the midfielder has created 5 chances through the opening 5 matches, while recording 5 interceptions as well.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
In what will be the toughest test thus far for Athletic, Charlotte Independence currently sit 1 point behind Harry Watling’s second-placed squad, having played a game more. Charlotte bounced back from a 2-1 defeat to Miami FC on May 29, grabbing all three points in a 1-0 win against top-of-the-table Tampa Bay Rowdies in their last match. Sunday’s match in North Carolina promises to be an epic clash in the infancy of the new season.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION:
Follow along on Twitter @hfdathletic and #CHAvHFD