Hartford Athletic miraculously came back from the brink of defeat to tie things up 2-2 and escape Dillon Stadium with a crucial point.
In this contest, the Red Bulls II came out firing early, resulting in a goal scored by Forward Omar Sowe in just the 4th minute. After receiving a pass, Sowe swiftly dribbled down the right sideline firing a shot at Hartford Athletic Goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, who made the save but Sowe was able to follow up on a rebound that he calmly put in the back of the net.
The possession was not in Hartford’s favor for a large portion of the first half, and not long after a second goal was tallied for the Red Bulls II on a strike from Matthew Acosta in the 18th minute. It was the first time all season that Hartford Athletic trailed by more than one goal.
Harry Watling and company needed to regroup fast if they wanted to mount a comeback.
To spark some new energy on the pitch, Watling subbed in forward Derek Dodson at the 42 minute mark. The 2021 MLS Super Draft 1st round pick is on loan from MLS side Orlando City SC and made his much anticipated team debut with the green and blue.
For much of the second half, the game was very chippy. Both sides were very physical and assessed numerous yellow cards for foul play. The most significant of all occurred in the 83’, when defender Emir Tombul was sent off after a second yellow card for committing a dangerous slide tackle on Hartford Athletic Forward Jeciel Cedeño. With the Red Bulls II undermanned for the rest of the match, Hartford turned on the attack.
After a lightning quick run down the left sideline, Forward Preston Tabort Etaka crossed in a beautiful ball to the newcomer Dodson, putting the ball in the back of the net to put Hartford down by just one goal.
Little time remained on the clock, and Hartford needed some late game magic to tie things up at two apiece. All 11 for the Athletic emptied their tanks and created many chances. In the 92’, a rebound came rolling out to Defender Thomas Janjigian right around the 18’. After taking a touch to his left foot, Janjigian rocketed a shot off the crossbar and in past the goalie Marcucci. The 5,000 plus fans at Dillon erupted in exuberance as Hartford got their equalizer. The goal was Janjigian’s second goal as a professional, and marked the first time he hit the back of the net since 2019.
The intensity for Hartford really picked up in the waning stages of the match, valiantly roaring back from the jaws of defeat to secure a point in the USL Championships Eastern Atlantic Conference. Watling and company now have a big week ahead of them, with a road match on Tuesday July 13 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and a matchup with the Charleston Battery on Saturday July 17.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 14 (4) - 18 (11) New York
Corners: Hartford Athletic 6-3 New York
Fouls: Hartford Athletic 16-10 New York
Offsides: Hartford Athletic 1-1 New York
Possession: Hartford Athletic 54.2%-45.8% New York
Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 71.2%73.3% New York
Saves: Hartford Athletic 9-2 New York
4' - Omar Sowe 0-1
18' - Matty Acosta (Cameron Harper) 0-2
86' - Derek Dodson (Preston Tabort Etaka) 1-2
90+2' - Thomas Janjigian (Christian Gómez) 2-2
24' - Cameron Harper (Yellow)
36' - Danny Barrera (Yellow)
39' - Kyle Zajec (Yellow)
58' - Conor McGlynn (Yellow)
59' - Tulu (Yellow)
61' - Emir Tombul (Yellow)
76' - Arthur Rogers (Yellow)
82' - Emir Tomubl (Red)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
13 (GK) Jeff Caldwell; 2 (DF) Alex Lara, 15 (DF) Tulu, 20 (DF) Thomas Janjigian; 3 (MF) Younes Boudadi, 28 (MF) Conor McGlynn (Nii Armah Ashitey, 63'), 10 (MF) Danny Barrera (Christian Gómez, 63'), 6 (MF) Arthur Rogers (Jeciel Cedeño, 79'), 22 (MF) Richie Schlentz (Derek Dodson, 42'); 9 (FW) Sebastian Elney, 23 (FW) Preston Tabort Etaka
NEW YORK RED BULLS II STARTING LINEUP:
40 (GK) AJ Marcucci; 24 (DF) Jason Pendant, 30 (DF) Emir Tombul, 85 (DF) Joey Zalinsky, 63 (DF) Matty Acosta; 51 (MF) Kyle Zajec, 75 (MF) Danny Edelman, 36 (MF) Jeremy Rafanello (Jake LaCava, 76'), 17 (MF) Cameron Harper (Juan Castillo, 86'); 71 (FW) Austin Brummett (Nicolas Nee, 76'), 67 (FW) Omar Sowe (Serge Ngoma, 72')