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Hartford Athletic Pick Up First Point of 2023 With 1-1 Draw vs. Colorado, Update on Andre Lewis Injury
A much-improved Hartford Athletic defense highlighted a hard-fought road draw for the Green and Blue.
On Saturday, Hartford Athletic concluded their two-game road stretch with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, picking up their first point of the 2023 season.
In completely opposite fashion from last week’s first half in Monterey, where Hartford conceded four goals before the break, this game saw a much slower start. The first half saw a combined three shots on target, with the best chance of the game for either side coming just five minutes into the game, as Macauley 'Macca' King's shot from the top of the box flew just over the crossbar for Colorado.
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Hartford would see an extended spell of possession as the half went on, limiting Colorado’s chances in front of goal. However, despite a few searching crosses late in the half, the Green and Blue lacked a finishing touch in the final third themselves and failed to create any real goal-scoring threat in the final third as the teams went into the break scoreless.
Coming out of the break, it was the home side that got on the front foot early, but early chances still couldn’t find the back of the net. The Switchbacks would come close in the 58th minute, forcing a pair of saves from Richard Sánchez, but the game remained knotted at zero. Scoring chances for both sides would remain few and far between as the half went on until Hartford finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute for their first lead of the year.
It was Hartford’s Elvis Amoh who gave the visitors the lead on the road against his former club. Prince Saydee’s tricky footwork got around Colorado’s Duke Lacroix on the left wing, and Amoh headed home the resulting cross from close range to stun the home crowd and make it a 1-0 game.
Despite the game opening up from this point, with both sides getting increased late sights at goal, Hartford would hold onto the narrow lead until the 88th minute.
With two minutes to play in regular time, Deshane Beckford would tear through the Hartford defense down the right wing, splitting a pair of defenders before sending a low cross across the face of goal. Zach Zandi tapped in the equalizer at the near post from point-blank range, breaking Hartford's hearts and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
Things would take a turn for the worse for Hartford in stoppage time, as Andre Lewis went down with a serious injury following a hit to the face. The forward remained motionless on the ground for the better part of 10 minutes, before eventually being brought off the field on a stretcher.
An update on his condition was provided by Hartford Athletic’s social media pages Sunday morning:
“During last night’s match, Andre Lewis was taken to the hospital following a collision with another player. Andre sustained a facial injury and is undergoing further evaluation and management under the care of the medical staff. He will travel home with the team today.”
The injury stoppage would see the game go until the 116th minute, eventually ending in a 1-1 draw that saw Hartford pick up their first point on the road.
Despite the lack of chances for either side throughout the game, the highlight for Hartford was their defensive discipline. The big question for the Green and Blue after conceding five goals in their season opener was how they would improve their defensive mistakes from the first game, and the difference was night and day.
With the exception of Colorado’s equalizer, Hartford looked much more composed in the back. Unlike last week, they were able to get numbers back, read crosses, and effectively silence one of last season’s most dangerous attacks for the better part of 88 minutes. Richard Sánchez was not called into action much but came up big when he needed to.
At the end of the day, being two minutes away from a clean sheet on the road is worlds better than conceding five, and there will certainly be positives to take from this game. Hartford controlled the ball for extended periods of the game and came out of it with a goal and a result on the road. Tab Ramos expressed optimism before the game, emphasizing how his team had grown from the opening loss, and the improvement was on clear display against Colorado.
Hartford will return home for their 2023 home opener next weekend, facing off with Birmingham Legion on Saturday at Trinity Health Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on WCTX MyTV9 and ESPN+.