Hartford put in a professional and clinical performance on this holiday weekend, as goals from Arthur Rogers and Preston Tabort Etaka in a nine-minute stretch sealed the three points for Athletic. Down the other end of the field, it was Jeff Caldwell who once again was Hartford’s hero, expertly saving Jovanny Bolivar’s 57th minute penalty.
The first half was rather cagey, with Loudoun having the better of the chances and more of the ball. It was only four minutes into the game that Loudoun almost took the lead, as Jeff Caldwell was put under pressure on his own goal line and narrowly avoided conceding a calamitous opening goal. A few minutes later, it was Giovanni Montesdeoca who attempted an audacious effort from 35 yards out, with his lobbed effort sailing just over the bar, much to the relief of Caldwell. It was sturdy and brave defending from Athletic, with Thomas Janjigian and Alex Lara making the most notable contributions to keep Loudoun at bay.
The second half was an entirely different game to the first half, as it was an end-to-end affair right from the kick off. Sebastian Elney made his return to the side, coming on for Christian Gomez at half time, and immediately impacted Hartford’s play. Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. was unlucky not to score, as his glancing header unfortunately struck teammate Thomas Janjigian. It was only a few minutes later that Younes Boudadi conceded a penalty for a challenge just inside the box. While the call was rather harsh, Caldwell produced another extraordinary stop to keep the score level.
Caldwell’s save, combined with the introduction of Tabort Etaka from the bench, was the catalyst for a dominant second-half display from Hartford. Just five minutes after Preston was introduced, he picked up the ball and drove towards the Loudoun box. He played a wonderful reverse pass to an overlapping McGlynn, whose cutback found an unmarked Rogers six yards out. He finished with aplomb to break the deadlock. It was only nine minutes later that Preston added his name to the scoresheet. Sebastian Elney pounced on a mistake from the Loudoun backline, and played a lovely through ball to the onrushing Tabort Etaka. He did the rest, drilling a low finish past the Loudoun goalkeeper to double Athletic’s lead.
Another one of Preston’s weaving runs got him into the box again in the 81st minute, but his drilled effort was well-saved. Hartford thought they had a third when Tulu bundled Danny Barrera’s delivery over the line; however, it was chalked off for offside. While Loudoun midfielder Michael Gamble saw red for an off-the-ball incident with Boudadi, it was of little importance, as Hartford sealed the three points and a clean sheet to cap off the holiday weekend.
Athletic will welcome New York Red Bulls II back to Dillon Stadium at 7 PM next Saturday for their third meeting of this USL season. For tickets, visit hartfordathletic.com/tickets.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 12 (5) - 18 (3) Loudoun
Corners: Hartford Athletic 6-10 Loudoun
Fouls: Hartford Athletic 8-11 Loudoun
Offsides: Hartford Athletic 5-0 Loudoun
Possession: Hartford Athletic 41.6%-58.4% Loudoun
Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 76%-82.7% Loudoun
Saves: Hartford Athletic 3-3 Loudoun
64' - Arthur Rogers (Conor McGlynn) 1-0
73' - Preston Tabort Etaka (Sebastian Elney) 2-0
44' - Christian Gómez (Yellow)
90' - Nicky Downs (Yellow)
90+2' - Tulu (Yellow)
90+2' - Michael Gamble (Red)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
13 (GK) Jeff Caldwell; 2 (DF) Alex Lara, 15 (DF) Tulu, 20 (DF) Thomas Janjigian; 3 (MF) Younes Boudadi, 8 (MF) Christian Gómez (Sebastian Elney, 45'), 28 (MF) Conor McGlynn (Nii Armah Ashitey, 68'), 6 (MF) Arthur Rogers (Nico Cardona, 84'), 22 (MF) Richie Schlentz (Jeciel Cedeño, 85'); 10 (FW) Danny Barrera, 29 (FW) Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. (Preston Tabort Etaka, 63')
LOUDOUN UNITED FC STARTING LINEUP:
99 (GK) Jermaine Fordah; 26 (DF) Owen Walz (Jacob Greene, 54'), 29 (DF) Timmy Mehl, 22 (DF) Robert Dambrot; 23 (MF) Diego Gomez, 21 (MF) Ted Ku-DiPietro (Jovanny Bolivar, 45'), 15 (MF) Nicky Downs, 6 (MF) Massimo Ferrin (Mathias Yohannes, 75'); 34 (FW) Abdellatif Aboukoura (Michael Gamble, 57'), 17 (FW) Kimarni Smith (Kairou Amoustapha, 45'), 12 (FW) Giovanni Montesdeoca