HARTFORD ATHLETIC (9-11-3) vs TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (17-6-1)
Date: Saturday, September 25th
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Location: Dillon Stadium, Hartford, CT
Local TV: WCTX MyTV9
Streaming: ESPN+ or hartfordathletic.com/watch
LAST TIME OUT:
In desperate need of 3 points, Hartford Athletic took care of business on home turf, defeating Real Monarchs 2-0 for their ninth win of the season. In the 30th minute, the Boys in Green broke through. Danny Barrera played a beautiful ball through to Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. who smashed it to the back of the net for the opening goal of the match. In the 83rd minute, Luka Prpa hit a ball to the near post, Obregón Jr. made a beautiful run to it and the ball found the back of the net after glancing off defender Daniel Flores. The own-goal doubled Hartford’s lead and the Boys would never look back.
THE CAMEROONIAN WONDER:
One of the season’s brightest spots in attack has been Forward Preston Tabort Etaka. Preston contributes both as a goal scorer where he has four, third best on the squad, and with assists where he has five, second most on the team behind Barrera. Preston’s five assists are already good for second best all-time in club history, tied with Gabi Torres. Preston’s speed is always a mismatch no matter which side of the pitch he’s on and Head Coach Harry Watling has done a nice job exploiting that so far.
MATCH FOR A CAUSE:
Saturday’s match is the third edition of the Match for a Cause presented by Stanley Black & Decker. In two years, Hartford and Stanley have combined to raise over $25,000 for Girls for Technology and Boys and Girls Club of Hartford. Hartford will wear special all-black kits for the match and will auction match-worn kits off to benefit The Legacy Foundation of Hartford which is focused on addressing disparities in health and education. On the pitch, Hartford has a record of 1-0-1 on Match for a Cause night, including a 5-1 win over Loudoun United in 2019.
FROM THE GAFFER:
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Hartford Athletic, Juan Carlos Obregón Jr., FW, #29
Three matchups between these teams in 2021 have all ended 1-0. Obregón had two quality chances that could have made it 2-1 Hartford in the first matchup and it was Forward Derek Dodson who scored on a counter in the second matchup, a 1-0 win for Hartford. It's clear that past game plans have placed an emphasis on setting up Forwards to attack the Tampa Bay center backs and it will likely be JC who's name is called to do that on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay Rowdies, Evan Louro, GK, #1
The Rowdies keeper is on the streak of a lifetime, he hasn't allowed a goal since August 6th, a 2-1 win over New York Red Bulls II. In that time he's posted 8 consecutive clean sheets, including a 1-0 win over Hartford on August 13th. At home and desperate for a win, you can expect Hartford will do their best to throw an endless barrage of shots at Louro and end the scoreless streak.
Out: Nii Armah Ashitey (Leg), Carlos Merancio (Knee)
Tampa Bay Rowdies:
Out: Luis Fernando
Questionable: Max Lachowecki
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
Hartford and Tampa Bay Rowdies meet for the fourth and final time this regular season. The Rowdies hold a 2-1 edge in the season series. Every match this season has ended with a final score of 1-0, with Tampa Bay winning the first and third matches of the series. Hartford won the first matchup on the road in Tampa Bay on July 13th, outlasting a seemingly endless Rowdies attack that got off 21 shots. The visitors come into the match in incredible form, the club hasn’t allowed a goal since August 6th and have taken hold of first place in the Atlantic Division with 52 points, 5 clear of second place Pittsburgh.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION:
Follow along on twitter @hfdathletic and #HFDvTBR