A lightning delay in the 88th minute was no obstacle for Harry Watling’s side, who beat Loudoun United 2-1 at the death to seal three points and move back to 3rd in the Eastern Atlantic Division.
It was a lightning-fast start for Hartford, when a long clearance from Preston Tabort Etaka was not dealt with properly by the last defenders for Loudoun. The mix-up allowed Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. to run clear through on goal. While he still had a lot to do, he made no mistake, sending a deflected, left-footed effort over the onrushing Jermaine Fordah and into the back of the net.
The match soon turned into a cagey affair, and Hartford found themselves on the back foot. With fouls being called all over the pitch for both sides, Athletic found it difficult to get a rhythm in possession, relying on some top-class defending from Tulu to keep Athletic in the lead.
Eventually, Loudoun got their reward for incessant pressure on the Athletic goal, when they were awarded a penalty for a handball on Tulu in the 78th minute. Jovanny Bolívar converted the penalty low to Caldwell’s left, before the match was delayed for severe thunderstorms in the 88th minute.
Following the delay, Hartford threw everything at the Loudoun goal, with Danny Barrera striking the crossbar from a free kick. It looked as though the sides would be sharing the points. Thankfully, Nico Cardona had other ideas; a low cross from Younes Boudadi was spilled by Fordah to the middle of the area, where Nico was on hand to sweep home to seal a dramatic three points.
Athletic return to action on June 26thth, as they welcome top-of-the-table Tampa Bay Rowdies to Dillon Stadium for a blockbuster clash. For tickets, visit hartfordathletic.com/single.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 13 (7) - 16 (2) Loudoun
Corners: Hartford Athletic 7-6 Loudoun
Fouls: Hartford Athletic 16-10 Loudoun
Offsides: Hartford Athletic 2-1 Loudoun
Possession: Hartford Athletic 57.5%-42.5% Loudoun
Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 75.2%-80.2% Loudoun
Saves: Hartford Athletic 1-6 Loudoun
6' - Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. 1-0
78' - Jovanny Bolívar 1-1
90+5' - Nicolás Cardona (Younes Boudadi) 2-1
24' - Timmy Mehl (Yellow)
78' - Tulu (Yellow)
86' - Houssou Landru (Yellow)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
13 (GK) Jeff Caldwell; 3 (DF) Younes Boudadi, 15 (DF) Tulu, 20 (DF) Thomas Janjigian, 16 (DF) Gabriel Torres; 10 (MF) Danny Barrera, 6 (MF) Arthur Rogers (Nicolás Cardona, 79'), 28 (MF) Conor McGlynn (Christian Gómez, 62'); 23 (FW) Preston Tabort Etaka (Alex Lara, 62'), 29 (FW) Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. (Alfonso Vazquez, 90+5'), 18 (FW) Walmer Martinez (Jeciel Cedeño, 79')
LOUDOUN UNITED FC STARTING LINEUP:
0 (GK) Jeromine Forduh; 29 (DF) Timmy Mehl, 22 (DF) Robby Dambrot, 55 (DF) Michael DeShields (Owen Walz, 45'), 33 (DF) Jacob Greene; 6 (MF) Masimo Ferrin (Samson Sergi, 54'), 4 (MF) Jeremy Garay, 21 (MF) Ted Ku-DiPietro (Hossou Landru, 66'), 15 (MF) Nicky Downs (Kairou Amoustapha, 45'), 7 (MF) Darluis Paz (Tyler Gabarra, 85'); 9 (F) Jovanny Bolivar