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PREVIEW: Athletic Return Home for Must-Win Match Against Real Monarchs

By Hartford Athletic, 09/14/21, 1:45PM EDT

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HARTFORD ATHLETIC (8-11-3) vs REAL MONARCHS SLC (4-14-4)

Date: Wednesday, September 15th

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Location: Dillon Stadium, Hartford, CT

Tickets: https://bit.ly/3wD7nC0

Local TV: WCTX MyTV9

Streaming: ESPN+ or hartfordathletic.com/watch

LAST TIME OUT:

Hartford Athletic lost 2-0 to Atlantic Division rival Charlotte Independence in a match with major playoff implications. Charlotte got two goals from forward Sylvain Marveaux, one in each half, and the Independence put themselves seven points clear of Hartford in the Atlantic Division. Two matches remain between the clubs, both at Dillon Stadium.

IF YOU'RE NOT FIRST, YOU'RE LAST:

The key to Hartford Athletic matches this season has been the opening goal of the match. In matches where Hartford have scored first, they are 8-2-1. In matches where the opponent scores first, they are 0-9-2. In a similar regard, Hartford Athletic are 6-1-0 in matches where they lead at the half and 0-5-2 in matches in which they trail after the first 45 minutes. If you’re looking for the story of Hartford Athletic in 2021, you can look at the first 45 minutes to give you an answer.

GETTIN' JIGGY WITH IT:

Saturday night in Charlotte, a piece of the Hartford Athletic puzzle was noticably absent. Centerback Thomas Janjigian missed his first match of the season with a hip injury. Prior to that match, Jiggy had played every single minute for Hartford Athletic this season. He is listed as questionable with a hip injury and his presence is undeniably important to Hartford’s back line. The training staff will be working extra hard to get Jiggy back on the pitch Wednesday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Hartford Athletic, Justin Haak, MF, #80

In his second season in Hartford, Haak is once again making a difference in the midfield. The NYCFC loanee, who turned 20 on Sunday, has recorded 14 tackles and 10 interceptions in just 6 matches and has also won 11 of 12 aerial duels. The distribution continues to be on point, completing 82.7% of his overall passes and 60% of his long passes. Solidifying the midfield is something this Hartford team is working to improve and having Justin in the center of it is critical.

Real Monarchs SLC, Milan Iloski, FW, #23

Iloski, a 22-year-old Forward who signed a homegrown contract with Real Salt Lake in January of 2020, has been a bright spot for the Monarchs attack this season. He leads the team in just about every attacking statistic including goals (4) and assists (3) and should be the focal point of Hartford's defense on Wednesday night. 

INJURY REPORT:

Hartford Athletic:

Out: Carlos Merancio (Knee)

Questionable: Thomas Janjigian (Hip)

Real Monarchs SLC:

Out: Gavin Beavers, Aris Briggs, Brayan Gomez

ABOUT THE OPPONENT:

Real Monarchs SLC come to Hartford for the first match between the clubs. This match was originally scheduled to be the first inter-conference matchup for Hartford Athletic on May 29th but was postponed. The Monarchs, who won the 2019 USL Cup, have fallen on hard times, losing four consecutive matches and six of their last seven. Inconsitency in the eighteen may be part of the trouble for the visitors, 40 different players have appeared in a match for the club this season.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

Follow along on twitter @hfdathletic and #HFDvSLC

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