HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford Athletic will serve as host in its debut in the USL Championship Playoffs as its welcomes Saint Louis FC to Dillon Stadium on Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
In its second season, @HFDAthletic has undergone a major turnaround from its inaugural year under Head Coach Radhi Jaidi that saw the side finish first in Group F thanks to a six-game undefeated streak to close the regular season. In that run came a key 1-0 victory against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC that saw Ever Guzman score the only goal that provided the opening for the Athletic to jump past the Hounds. With wins in its final two outings, including a 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Union II that arrived on a miraculous goal by Danny Barrera, Hartford now has the chance to host its first postseason contest.
@SaintLouisFC, meanwhile, battled through one of the toughest groups of the eight drawn for the Championship’s resumption to earn a playoff place for the second time in its history. STLFC took victory on the final day of the regular season as Tyler Blackwood and Wal Fall provided the goals in a 2-1 win against Indy Eleven that allowed Saint Louis to jump into second place in the Group E standings. In its final season, Saint Louis FC is aiming to build on that victory against the Athletic, where it enters as a narrow road favorite heading to Connecticut.
20 – The Athletic recorded 20 goals of its 31 goals in the regular season at Dillon Stadium, putting it tied for fourth in the Championship in goals scored on home turf.
2 – By advancing to the Eastern Conference bracket this season, Saint Louis FC is the only team to have qualified for the Championship Playoffs in the East and West since the league split into two conferences in 2015.
FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: Hartford Athletic 48%, Saint Louis FC 28%
Hartford Athletic – GK: Parfait Mandanda; D: Idan Cohen, Sam Strong, Kevin Politz, Mattheus Silva, Tyreke Johnson; M: Aidan Mesias, Justin Haak, Danny Barrera; F: Ever Guzman, Alex Dixon
Saint Louis FC – GK: Kyle Morton; D: Tobi Adewole, Sam Fink, Phanuel Kavita; M: Paris Gee, Guy Abend, Todd Wharton, Russell Cicerone; AM: Wal Fall; F: Tyler Blackwood, Kyle Greig
Hartford Athletic – None
Saint Louis FC - None