Discover more from The Blazing Musket
Hartford Salvage Home Draw, Snap Club-Record Losing Run
A losing week etched Hartford's name in the record books -- for all the wrong reasons.
After being outscored 7-0 in a winless three-game week, any glimmer of positivity for Hartford Athletic’s already-dead season seemed to be completely gone ahead of Wednesday’s midweek contest.
As has been the case all season, nothing was going the way of the Green and Blue, who just could not find the back of the net despite showings occasional signs of life in the final third. A 2-0 road loss to Miami on Saturday was the icing on the cake — their fifth straight against their eastern conference competitors, and one that matched broke the club record a nine consecutive losses. The record was previously set when Hartford lost eight straight contests to kick off their inaugural campaign in 2019.
The Blazing Musket is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Without a win since Beverely Makangila’s SportsCenter Top 10 strike on Aug. 5 handed the Green and Blue all three points vs. New Mexico United, Hartford’s loss against Miami was also their 23rd of the season — a new club record. Just days prior, a 2-0 loss in Hartford's midweek reverse fixture with Tampa Bay Rowdies saw Makangila score again — this time, into his own net. Following up a Joe Rice own goal that slammed off the post and into the keeper’s back, the game marked only the fourth time in league history that a pair of own goals have decided a game — another club first. The winless stretch also saw Hartford go without a goal for more than 330 minutes, adding to the list of club-high tallies set by the poor stretch of form.
With the hiring of a new CEO in experienced Major League Soccer executive Nick Sackiewicz and with Hartford long eliminated from the postseason contention, it truly is hard to find anything to take from the final month of the season with the focus almost entirely shifted to what should prove to be a busy offseason. However, head coach Omid Namazi and his squad were able to give fans something to cling onto in their second-straight midweek contest on Wednesday, and their fourth game in 15 days: a 2-2 draw with the Rio Grande Valley Toros.
Hartford took the lead inside five minutes — the earliest such goal of the year for the Green and Blue — and later equalized from the spot in the first half to seal the 2-2 result. While insignificant in the grand scheme of things, the game saw Prince Saydee bag his second brace in five games, scoring his eighth and ninth goals on the season. By far the most proficient attacker all season for Hartford, Saydee’s team-leading nine goals are tied for the second-highest single-season tally in club history, and his 14 career goals in Green and Blue mark the third-most all-time. If there is one piece to the puzzle Hartford fans may want to see stick around next season, the 27-year-old is not a bad shout.
Also overshadowed by the poor stretch of form is Connor McGlynn, who made his 100th appearance for Hartford in the loss against Miami. After making his way through the open tryouts in 2020, the veteran has been one of the only consistent pieces of a struggling backline this season, starting 27 of his 29 appearances, primarily at center back.
The draw also ensures that Hartford will not further entrench themselves among the league’s worst teams — at least not for now. Wednesday’s result now confirms that even if Hartford were to lose out their final two games of the season, they would finish the year with a club-record 25 losses, just one shy of the league record (26). The record was set by former USL side Antigua Barracuda in 2013 when the club lost all 26 matches they played that season.
So if Hartford fans are looking for something to take out of the season, it might be exactly that — At a minimum, they are not the worst team in league history.