Hartford’s bright start to the season suffered its first setback on Sunday at the Matthews Sportsplex in Charlotte, North Carolina. Despite great efforts from Danny Barrera and Preston Tabort Etaka, as well as goalkeeping heroics from Jeff Caldwell, two brilliant individual goals and a deflected strike helped Charlotte to seal the three points.
It was an indifferent start to the game for Hartford, as Charlotte were awarded a penalty in the 19th minute of the match. Independence forward Irvin Parra stepped up to the spot, but saw his effort saved brilliantly by Jeff Caldwell. With the score level at 0-0, Bradford Jamieson went down due to an injury, and was replaced by Preston Tabort Etaka at the 24-minute mark. The next 21 minutes of the first half were relatively uneventful, as both teams searched for an opener.
The second half kicked off in fantastic fashion for Hartford when Danny Barrera finished off a brilliant move to open the scoring in the 50th minute. Tabort Etaka’s low cross to the top of the box was met by the captain, who took a touch on his left foot before drilling a low shot past Independence keeper Brandon Milller, which struck the post on its way to hitting the back of the net. Charlotte responded to going behind, and were putting the pressure on the Hartford goal, forcing Jeff Caldwell to pull off a string of stellar saves to preserve Hartford’s slender lead. Despite Caldwell’s heroics, it was substitute Dane Kelly’s brilliant individual effort, that got Charlotte back on level terms.
Only moments later, Preston Tabort Etaka was up the other end, capitalizing on a mistake from the Independence, and curling a wonderful finish out of the reach of Miller and into the far right-hand corner. A wild couple of minutes was continued when, in the 80th minute, a cross fell to Houston Dynamo loanee Marcelo Palomino, who fired a deflected effort past Caldwell and a wall of Hartford players on the goal line. Only three minutes later, it was substitute Valentín Sabella’s outstanding strike into the top left corner which completed the turnaround for Charlotte.
Athletic are back in action this Saturday, June 19th, as they return to Dillon Stadium to take on Loudon United and return to winning ways. Visit hartfordathletic.com/single to purchase tickets to the match.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 8 (3) - 19 (7) Charlotte
Corners: Hartford Athletic 0-7 Charlotte
Fouls: Hartford Athletic 16-12 Charlotte
Offsides: Hartford Athletic 2-0 Charlotte
Possession: Hartford Athletic 44.9%-55.1% Charlotte
Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 80.2%-82.2% Charlotte
Saves: Hartford Athletic 4-1 Charlotte
50' - Danny Barrera (Preston Tabort Etaka) 1-0
73' - Dane Kelly (Jake Areman) 1-1
74' - Preston Tabort Etaka 2-1
80' - Marcelo Palomino 2-2
83' - Valentín Sabella (Tresor Mbuyu) 2-3
26' - Clay Dimick (Yellow)
66' - Younes Boudadi (Yellow)
85' - Valentín Sabella (Yellow)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
13 (GK) Jeff Caldwell; 3 (DF) Younes Boudadi, 2 (DF) Alex Lara, 28 (DF) Conor McGlynn, 20 (DF) Thomas Janjigian, 22 (DF) Richie Schlentz; 10 (MF) Danny Barrera, 6 (MF) Arthur Rogers (Christian Gómez 62'), 5 (MF) Nii Armah Ashitey (Nicolás Cardona 84'); 29 (FW) Juan Carlos Obregón Jr., 7 (FW) Bradford Jamieson IV (Preston Tabort Etaka 50')
CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE STARTING LINEUP:
33 (GK) Brandon Miller; 17 (DF) Clay Dimick, 3 (DF) Hugh Roberts, 88 (DF) Christian Dean; 23 (MF) Jordan Bender (Valentín Sabella, 62'), 14 (MF) Thomas de Villardi, 8 (MF) Marcelo Palomino (Tresor Mbuyu 83'), 35 (MF) Blake Pope (Noah Paravicini 53'), 13 (MF) Brandt Bronico, 4 (MF) Jake Areman; 9 (FW) Irvin Parra (Dane Kelly 45')