Assessing The 90: Namazi Still Winless as Hartford Lose Fifth Straight
A positive homecoming was not to be for newly-named Hartford Athletic head coach Omid Namazi, as his side fell 2-0 to San Diego Loyal on Saturday.
For Hartford Athletic, a debut on the sidelines of Trinity Health Stadium for Hartford Athletic head coach Omid Namazi did not go to plan on Saturday night, as the Green and Blue were shut out at home for the fifth time this year in a 2-0 loss to San Diego Loyal SC.
The loss was their fifth straight as the club remains dead last in the USL Championship, sitting on only two wins and 10 points, now nine points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
As has been the case all year, a number of changes from last week’s loss in Loudoun outlined Namazi’s second starting XI as head coach. Triston Hodge marked his return from international duty with a start, as Antoine Hoppenot and Niall Logue were also among those benched last week who made a return to the XI.
Elsewhere, Joe Rice got the nod between the sticks, while Matt Sheldon and Kyle Edwards started on the bench. Prince Saydee and Elvis Amoh led the line in the attack.
The visitors got on the attack early and often, testing Rice’s goal as early as the tenth minute when Robinson Moshobane knocked a shot from inside the box off the post. It would not take long for Loyal to find the breakthrough, however, breaking out on the counter just eight minutes later.
Surrounded by four Hartford defenders, Moshobane maintained control of the ball into Hartford’s defensive third before squaring a pass through traffic and in to the wide open feet of Evan Conway, who touched the ball around Joe Rice and past a sliding Connor McGlynn to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, San Diego would come within inches of doubling their advantage when Joe Corona’s low driven shot from outside the 18 flew just wide of Rice’s right post.
Hartford began to find momentum from this point, beginning when Danny Barrera created space at the top of the box with a quick cutback before sending a shot just north of the crossbar. Prince Saydee got on the end of another Hartford attack just before the end of the half, sending another shot over the frame. The hosts took six total shots in the first 45, but none could find the target as they went into the break trailing 1-0.
It was once again San Diego who came out flying in the second half, sending a shot goalward and forcing a goal line clearance from Connor McGlynn. From there, Hartford would string together some of their most dangerous looks of the game, with the best chance coming in the 56th minute when prince Saydee’s shot from distance forced a sharp save from Jorge Ojeda-Ruiz. Despite finishing the night with 12 total shots, Saydee’s was the only one that found the goal frame through 90 minutes.
Ultimately, the visitors would take advantage of Hartford’s missed chances in the 60th minute, as Moshobane and Conway once again combined to double Loyal’s lead. Moshobone sliced through Hartford’s backline with a cutting run through the middle, squaring the ball across the box for Conway who took advantage of a disorganized Hartford defensive effort to slot the ball home from close range.
Ultimately, Hartford were unable to recover from the deficit, falling 2-0 in their fifth straight loss of the season. They will look to snap the losing skid in the first of three straight road games on Saturday, set to kick off against FC Tulsa on Saturday at 9 p.m.