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Hartford Athletic Midweek Report: Prince Saydee Earns Player of the Week Honors, Ramos Comments on Saturday's Loss
Here's what Hartford Athletic head coach Tab Ramos had to say following his team's season-opening 5-3 loss at Monterey Bay FC.
It was a turbulent Saturday night for Hartford Athletic, who fell 5-3 to Monterey Bay FC in the highest-scoring game of the USL Championship’s opening weekend.
Despite the result, a brace from Hartford’s Prince Saydee earned him a spot on the USL Championship Team of the Week. His first goal tied the game midway through the first half, featuring a calm first touch around the Monterey goalkeeper off of an Andre Lewis pass and a subsequent pass into an empty net.
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His second goal showcased his arial ability, as he connected on Danny Barrera’s corner kick in the second half for Hartford’s third and final goal of the night.
“Prince had a great game, that’s what we want from him,” Hartford head coach Tab Ramos said. “One of the things we talked to Prince about is how he had to be better on the road this year, because we know he plays really well at home always. We need him to start that on the road, and I think he got off to a great start.”
Saydee’s performance was one of several positives that Hartford can take away from Saturday’s loss, according to Ramos.
“Overall, [I’m] not completely unhappy with the team,” Ramos said. “We made some mistakes for sure, that’s what happens early in the season, and we’re a work in progress…the team was pretty organized with the ball.”
Ramos commended his team’s ability to come back from behind twice in the first half on Saturday but said that the penalty call came at an unfortunate time and opened up the game before the halftime whistle. Forced to take more risks in the second half, Ramos made a formation change from a 4-3-3 to a 5-3-2, something he says the team has been working on in training.
“We had difficulty in the first half with a particular matchup, and we thought adding a defender would help us,” Ramos said. “Unfortunately we had to take Kembo [Kibato] off the field, we thought he was doing fairly well in the first half, but unfortunately he had to come off for us to do that. I thought the team was a little bit more compact in the second half.”
Having conceded five goals — three of which came directly from defensive mistakes — it was clear that back line improvements needed to be made following the loss. However, Ramos was surprised by the result, saying that the defensive line is much better than what they showed over the weekend.
“Throughout the preseason, we did a really good job as a back, we really didn’t give up a lot of goals,” Ramos said. “It was a little bit shocking to have given up five goals. I don’t think, in the end, that’s who we are. I think that’s sort of the way the ball bounced that game, but I think we’re much better in the back.”
For Ramos, and the rest of Hartford Athletic, one thing is clear: this is only game one, and this is a brand-new team that is a work in progress. It is a long season, and Ramos is focused solely on improving game-by-game.
“We have to keep improving, we have to be better,” Ramos said. “Our goal has been so that we can be at our best in the summer when we have a bunch of home games and we have to win them. Obviously we want to win now, it doesn’t take away from that, but I think we have to remain confident and see if we can get a couple points on the road [this weekend].”
Hartford’s road stretch will continue next week, as they travel to Colorado to face off against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on Saturday before heading back to Connecticut for their home opener on March 25th.