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Hartford Hands Watling Debut Win, Downs Red Bulls II

By Staff, 04/30/21, 9:02PM EDT


Athletic get first-half goals by Barrera, Obregon Jr. before holding off late New York charge

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A pair of first-half goals paved the way for Hartford Athletic to earn Head Coach Harry Watling victory in his debut at the helm as the visitors took a 3-2 win against the New York Red Bulls II at MSU Soccer Park on Friday night.

In blustery conditions, Hartford took the lead in the 13th minute as a well-worked move on the left begun by Luka Prpa and Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. allowed Gabriel Torres to create space to cross, and his low delivery picked out Danny Barrera for a first-time finish at the near post. Obregon Jr. then added a second in the 36th minute, again putting home a close-range finish after a surging run down the right by Walmer Martinez gave him space to deliver across the top of the six-yard area.

The Red Bulls II threatened to cut into the Athletic’s lead midway through the second half as Jake LaCava beat his marker in the penalty area and fired a low shot toward the right corner that was parried away by Hartford goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell. LaCava wouldn’t be denied in the 68th minute, however, as a counterattack led by Jeremy Rafanello picked out the young forward in the left channel for a powerful shot to the top-left corner.

Hartford restored its two-goal lead with five minutes to go as Arthur Rogers swung in a free kick from the left that eluded his onrushing teammates and the defense and found its way into the right corner of the net. The goal proved key as the Red Bulls II earned a penalty kick in stoppage time that Mandela Egbo converted to the right corner, but a final save by Caldwell to deny LaCava proved the last opportunity for the hosts as the Athletic held on for victory. Man of the Match

Arthur Rogers, Hartford Athletic – Rogers was active throughout in the center of midfielder for Hartford, winning 9 of 15 duels and recording three interceptions and 13 recoveries before his key insurance goal late on.

Scoring Summary
– Danny Barrera (Gabriel Torres) 13’
HFD – Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. (Walmer Martinez) 36’
NY – Jake LaCava (Jeremy Rafanello) 68’
HFD – Arthur Rogers 85’
NY – Mandela Egbo (PK) 90+’

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