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Gameday Report: Hertzog’s late winner lifts Hartford past Red Bulls II

By Staff, 05/14/22, 9:19PM EDT


New arrival’s first goal in Athletic colors gave hosts dramatic 3-2 victory at Trinity Health Stadium

HARTFORD, Conn. – Corey Hertzog scored his first goal in Hartford Athletic colors in second-half stoppage time to earn the hosts a 3-2 victory against the New York Red Bulls II on Saturday night at Trinity Health Stadium.

The Red Bulls II made a positive start and saw Jeremy Rafanello force a solid save by Hartford goalkeeper Austin Pack inside the opening three minutes. Neither side was able to create much in the way of clear-cut chances until close to the half-hour mark, when the Hertzog found the net with a neat arcing finish but was ruled offside as the New York defensive line had shifted out quickly following a corner kick as the hosts tried to create a second opportunity. There was no question on the Athletic’s next opportunity, though, as Hertzog’s long throw-in from the left was headed on at the near post by Tom Brewitt for Luka Prpa to finish into the right corner of the net nine minutes before halftime.

Hartford’s Joel Johnson almost doubled the lead for the hosts after a turnover in the Red Bulls II’s defensive end but saw a pair of shots blocked by New York defender Lamine Conte. That proved key in first-half stoppage time as O’Vonte Mullings through-ball for Jordan Adebayo-Smith lured Pack off his line and into no-man’s land, after which the Red Bulls II’s Adebayo-Smith took one touch to control in the right channel and delivered a precise low finish into the open net from a good angle.

The hosts tried to regain the lead early in the second half, and Prince Saydee beat the Red Bulls II’s high line only to be denied a chance to shoot by a fine covering challenge by Juan Castillo. The breakthrough arrived in the 54th minute, however, as a corner delivered for a shot at the top of the penalty area deflected to Johnson, who knocked home his second goal in as many games. Saydee almost added a third for the hosts five minutes later as he broke into the left channel for a high near-post shot that Ioannis Nikopolidis did well to turn wide.

After weathering the pressure, the Red Bulls II pulled back on level terms for a second time with 20 minutes to go as Illia Tyrkus scored his first goal in the professional ranks and Mullings picked up his second assist as he played a pass in to the 16-year-old from the right that Tyrkus curled into the left corner of the net. Hartford almost grabbed the lead back again three minutes later only for Modou Jadama’s turning shot to slide wide of the left post, while in the 67th minute a cross by Johnson from the right found Rashawn Dally for a header to the left corner that Nikopolidis got across to save.

The decisive moment arrived for the hosts in the third minute of second-half stoppage time when a deep corner from the right by Danny Barrera was headed back into the six-yard area and flicked on by Jadama into the path of Hertzog, who roofed a finish from two yards out to send the crowd into wild celebrations. The Athletic then saw out the remaining minutes, allowing them to capture a second consecutive win on home turf. Player of the Match

Corey Hertzog, Hartford Athletic – Hertzog notched the game-winning goal late in stoppage time and also recorded three shots, four chances created, and completed 17 of 18 passes.

Scoring Summary
– Luka Prpa (Tom Brewitt) 36’
NY – Jordan Adebayo-Smith (O’Vonte Mullings) 45+1’
HFD – Joel Johnson 54’
NY – Illia Tyrkus (O’Vonte Mullings) 70’
HFD – Corey Hertzog (Modou Jadama) 90+3’

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