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RECAP: Switchbacks Defeat Hartford 4-2

By Koby Braunstein, 08/07/21, 11:45PM EDT

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August 7, 2021 (Colorado Springs) - It was goals galore in Colorado Springs on Saturday night as Hartford Athletic fell to Colorado Springs Switchbacks 4-2 in front of a rowdy crowd at Weidner Field.  The Boys in Green battled from behind for the bulk of the contest but could not complete the comeback.

After back and forth play to start the game, the first major scoring chance came from the Athletic in the 8th minute on a curling cross from Danny Barrera to an unmarked Tulu, who’s try rung off the post and was cleared away.  That play turned out to be the only point blank opportunity for Hartford all night.  

The Switchbacks were hungry to push the pace and the perfect time came following a Kenan Hot turnover which led to a run by star Switchbacks striker Hadji Barry.  The Guinean crossed it into Michee Ngalina who was then taken down in the box by Athletic defender Tulu giving Colorado a penalty kick.  Barry fired his try past diving Hartford goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell to give the Switchbacks an early 1-0 advantage.  The goal was Barry’s 15th in as many games, giving him sole possession of the most in a single season in franchise history and adding to his goal scoring lead atop the USL Championship.  

Hartford got their equalizer in the 24th minute on a beautiful combination goal from midfielder Conor McGlynn after a great flick pass from defender Younes Boudadi.  Forward Derek Dodson got credit for the secondary assist as he continues to show promise in what has been a stellar season on loan so far from MLS side Orlando City SC.

The home team kept knocking on the door and were threatening to retake the lead.  In the 39th minute, Switchbacks defender Sebastian Anderson crossed in a ball from a set piece to Ngalina, who timed his jump perfectly and hit a header past Caldwell to go up 2-1.

Barry and company were flying out of the gates once again after halftime with relentless pressure and took a 3-1 lead over the Athletic on a goal from Andre Lewis in the 51st minute.  Anderson started the break after a change in possession by threading a ball to Jordan Beckford, who then found a wide open Lewis who calmly put his shot past Caldwell.

Hartford refused to back down, however, and found life on a wonderstrike from substitute Nii Armah Ashitey into the upper left corner.  It was the midfielder’s first touch as well, and his goal decreased the Athletic’s deficit to 3-2.

The Switchbacks clung to the lead but once again maintained a very aggressive approach. They put the game away for good on a goal from Lewis into the bottom left corner in the 63rd minute.  Barry and Ngalina got the assists to cap off a very productive night from the Colorado forwards.

Caldwell was terrific as always despite the loss and made several crucial saves.

The Boys in Green are back in action at Al Lang Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Friday, August 13, hoping to return back home with three points in a crucial Atlantic Division matchup.

FAST STATS:

Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 13 (6) - 19 (8) Colorado Springs

Corners: Hartford Athletic 4-7 Colorado Springs

Fouls: Hartford Athletic 13-13 Colorado Springs

Offsides: Hartford Athletic 0-1 Colorado Springs

Possession: Hartford Athletic 42%-58% Colorado Springs

Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 81.4%-71.3% Colorado Springs

Saves: Hartford Athletic 4-4 Colorado Springs

SCORING SUMMARY:

19' - Barry (COS)

24' - McGlynn (HFD)

38' - Ngalina (COS)

51' - Lewis (COS)

58' - Ashitey (HFD)

63' - Lewis (COS)

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY:

18' - Tulu (HFD)

90+4' - Martinez (HFD)

HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:

Jeff Caldwell GK;  Boudadi DF; Rogers DF; Tulu DF; Janjigian DF;   McGlynn MF; Dodson MF; Barrera MF; Hot MF; Obregón Jr . FW; Martinez FW

COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC STARTING LINEUP:

Melvin GK; Anderson DF; Hodge DF; Mahoney DF; Ockford DF; Lewis MF; Makangila MF; Mayaka; MF; Barry FW; Ngalina FW;  Beckford FW;

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