LEESBURG, Va. – Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. had a goal and assist to lead Hartford Athletic to a 3-2 victory against Loudoun United FC on Wednesday night at Segra Field as the visitors rallied from a two-goal deficit in the second half to earn all three points.
Hartford opened the game on the front foot, forcing a pair of early corner kicks, but it was Loudoun that took the lead in the 13th minute when Jovanny Bolivar caught Hartford goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell in possession on a pass back, stole possession and slid a finish from a narrow angle on the right into the open net.
The visitors had a pair of chances just past the half-hour mark as first Tulu headed just wide of the right post after a free kick from the left edge of the penalty was sent to the back post, then Obregon missed at the near post after breaking in one-on-one with Loudoun goalkeeper Jermaine Fordah after a fine through-ball by Justin Haak.
Six minutes into the second half, though, United struck again as Xavier O’Neil broke down the right flank at speed before passing inside to Nicky Downs, who worked the ball centrally to Giovanni Montesdeoca before one final pass to Tyler Gabarra alone in the left side of the penalty area for a low shot that found the back of the net. Hartford once again went close to finding the net four minutes later as first Obregon and then on the rebound Preston Tabort Etaka were both denied but Fordah, but in the 57th minute the breakthrough arrived as Obregon held up play in the Loudoun penalty area and laid a pass off to Conor McGlynn who rifled a finish into the top-left corner from 25 yards away.
Loudoun stepped back onto the front foot quickly and both Jeremy Garay and Michael Gamble had efforts just past the hour mark, the first of which was saved and the second that flew over the crossbar. The teams continued to go back-and-forth with chances, though, and in the 65th minute a ball over the top by the Athletic drew Fordah outside his penalty area to try and clear as Obregon steamed toward goal. The attempt came straight to Hartford’s Sebastian Elney, but the goalkeeper was able to recover inside his box and make a good save from where his defense cleared.
Two minutes later the visitors had another opportunity when Tabort Etaka got on the end of a corner from the right by Luka Prpa only for his header to be denied, but with 21 minutes to go Hartford pulled level after Ashkanov Apollon found Obregon with a cross from the left for a flying header at the near post that saw the Honduran U-23 international notch his 10th goal of the season.
The Athletic continued to apply pressure and with nine minutes to go it paid off as a corner kick from the left by Arthur Rogers was swung into the near post where it deflected off United defender Hassan Pinto as he tried to mark Puerto Rico international Nicolas Cardona’s run and went into the right corner of the net. Loudoun almost leveled as the game ticked into stoppage time, but Caldwell stood up well to keep out a shot from 10 yards by Jacob Greene from the center of the penalty area, and that sealed the win for the visitors after a strong second-half display.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Juan Carlos Obregon Jr., Hartford Athletic – Obregon had a goal and assist for the visitors to reach double-digits for the season and had four shots and two key passes to lead a big comeback victory.
LDN – Jovanny Bolivar 13’
LDN – Tyler Gabarra (Giovanni Montesdeoca) 51’
HFD – Conor McGlynn (Juan Carlos Obregon Jr) 57’
HFD – Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. (Ashkanov Apollon) 69’
HFD – Hassan Pinto (Own Goal) 81’