Hartford Athletic Look to Bounce Back Against Colorado in 2nd Straight Road Match
The Green and Blue will look to record their first win of the season over the weekend against the 2022 Western Conference Semifinalists.
Following a season-opening 5-3 loss to Monterey Bay FC last weekend, Hartford Athletic will continue their road stretch on Saturday with a trip to Weidner Field to take on the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
Saturday’s meeting marks the third-ever matchup between the two squads and Hartford’s second trip to Weidner Field. Their first venture to Colorado ended in a 4-2 loss in August of 2021 while most recently, Hartford got the better of Colorado on their home turf, coming away with a 2-0 win vs. the Switchbacks on June 28 last year at Trinity Health Stadium.
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Andre Lewis scored the second goal in last season’s win against his former club. In addition to Lewis, the game will serve as a homecoming for three other Hartford Athletic players who made the move from Colorado in the offseason - Elvis Amoh, Beverly Makingina, and Tristan Hodge. All three played integral roles in Colorado’s success last season.
Amoh spent two years in Colorado, scoring 13 goals last season en route to a Western Conference Final appearance. Despite the success he enjoyed in 2022, Amoh has his sights set on one simple task on Saturday: win.
“We’re here for business,” Amoh said. “We’re here to play and make sure we do our best to win the game.”
Lewis also spent two years with Colorado, scoring six goals across 39 appearances before moving to Hartford in 2022.
“I feel great,” Lewis said. “It’s always good playing in big games and Colorado is a big team. I have good friends over there, so it will be a good game.”
Following the loss at Monterey, Hartford returned to Connecticut to face rainy, freezing conditions in training. Despite the inclement weather, head coach Tab Ramos believes it will help the team prepare for how to deal with the high altitude out west.
“The weather [this week] has been difficult, but I think the guys have done a great job adapting to it,” Ramos said. “They’ve worked really hard this week, they know obviously we didn’t get the result last week, so they were more focused into getting ready for this one.”
As for Colorado, they picked up where they left off in 2022, opening their season with a dramatic 2-1 road win vs. El Paso Locomotive last weekend.
The Switchbacks got things started early, as Jairo Henriquez’s close-range strike into the top right corner just two minutes in gave them a 1-0 advantage. El Paso equalized two minutes into the second half, but a late 92nd-minute winner courtesy of Duke Lacroix would ensure Colorado returned home with all three points.
Colorado enjoyed a successful 2022 campaign, finishing third in the Western Conference and appearing in the conference semifinals. Like Hartford, they are a new-look team coming into 2023, bolstered by 10 new signings and first-year head coach Stephen Hogan.
The Switchbacks will open their home slate with momentum in their side, while Hartford will look to correct defensive errors from last weekend and continue their offensive production.
“I really like our group,” Ramos said ahead of the trip. “We have a good group of players, they believe in each other, they believe in the team, they’re hard workers, and look, I think if anyone can win over there, we can win over there… I do feel like we grew from [last week].”
Kickoff at Weidner field on Saturday is set for 8 p.m. ET on WCTX MyTV9 and ESPN+.