HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic struck early and late in the first half on the way to a 3-1 victory against Loudoun United FC to continue a strong start to the 2020 season on Monday night at Dillon Stadium.
Coming off a season-opening win on Friday night, the Athletic didn’t take long to find the opening breakthrough in their home opener. Off a corner kick on the right, an in-swinging delivery from Gabriel Torres was flicked on at the near post by a stooping Kevin Politz into the net in just the third minute. The hosts almost added another five minutes later off another corner kick, but Alex Davey’s header was saved by Loudoun goalkeeper Colin Miller.
Hartford had more of the play as the half went on, but Loudoun almost found an equalizer in the 24th minute. A good through-ball by Massimo Ferrin played Michael Gamble into the right side of the penalty area, but Hartford goalkeeper Parfait Mandana came off his line and made a good save as he narrowed the angle.
The Athletic then doubled their lead just before halftime as Harry Swartz notched his first goal of the season. A good piece of play on the right brought the ball to Danny Barrera near the edge of the penalty area. His flicked pass through two defenders found Swartz breaking forward, and the Massachusetts native produced a sharp finish to the left corner from the top-right corner of the six-yard area.
Hartford almost added a third six minutes into the second half when Alex Dixon found space on the left and picked out a good near-post cross for Tyreke Johnson, but his header was well saved by Miller in the left corner of the net. Johnson wouldn’t be denied in the 55th minute, though, as a long clearance put the English winger into space on the right. After driving into the penalty area, Johnson made two stepovers and curled a finish into the left corner of the net.
Loudoun responded quickly as Elvis Amoh broke forward on the left and was brought down in the penalty area by Davey. Amoh stepped up himself and fired his shot into the top-right corner of the net to make it a two-goal game again. United was unable to find much momentum, however, and Hartford almost struck again with 20 minutes to go as Dixon’s flicked finish looped just over the crossbar.
Johnson almost added his second of the night with eight minutes to go as he ripped a shot from 25 yards toward the bottom-right corner that Miller was able to deny. Miller was sharp again on another long-range chance by Mads Jorgensen too, but the hosts comfortably saw out the rest of the contest to pick up a second consecutive win to start the season.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Gabriel Torres, Hartford Athletic – Torres had a good two-way performance, not only providing the assist on Hartford’s opening goal among four key passes, but also winning 9 of 13 duels and winning three tackles in midfield.