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Juan Pablo Torres Notches First Goal For Hartford, Elvis Amoh "Felt Really Good" in Return From Injury
Despite the personal achievements that highlighted a rainy Saturday night in Hartford, both players emphasized the importance of the win for the team as a whole.
For Hartford Athletic, a first home USL Championship win of the season on Saturday was made even sweeter by a first-ever goal in Green and Blue for Juan Pablo Torres. His goal in the 23rd minute helped lift Hartford to a 2-0 win over Loudoun United in the pouring rain.
Torres, who was signed in April following a slew of injuries that left Hartford’s midfield in pieces, reunited with Tab Ramos after winning the CONCACAF U20 Championships under him in 2018. Now, following his first goal for Hartford, he continued to preach the importance of the win for the team given their 1-2-6 start to the 2023 season.
“Tab and the coaching staff, we all stressed that this was a final for us,” Torres said postgame. “Even though we’re still early in the season, we couldn’t lose today. Losing was not an option, so it was really important that we got a win and that we got three points. Now we have a home stretch and we have to take advantage and we have to start climbing up the table.”
That home stretch will see Hartford play at Trinity Health Stadium for six of their next eight games, including the next two straight. For Torres and the rest of the team, kicking it off with a win was “incredibly important” as the club gears up to face tougher competition in Sacramento and Louisville at home in the coming weeks.
“It was really good for us to get a win, it lets the team relax a little bit, lets the team play more loose.” Torres said. "It’s been a tense couple weeks. It’s normal, when you’re not winning it’s very very tense in the locker room, it’s very tense at practice, but this win is gonna help relax us a little bit and help us to get on the right track to start winning more games.”
Torres’s goal came in the 23rd minute, giving the Green and Blue their first lead at home through four games and over 230 minutes of USL Championship play in 2023. He crashed the box to get on the end of Kyle Edwards’ pass across the face of goal, redirecting the cross into the open goal to make it a 1-0 game.
Hartford’s second goal of the night came from Elvis Amoh, who slotted home his third goal of the season from the penalty spot in the 67th minute. It was his first goal since his return from a thigh injury that sidelined him for over a month, and it came just 10 minutes after he made his return to the field for Hartford.
“I’m excited, [I] thank God,” Amoh said. “It wasn’t an easy journey, but I’m happy and I’m glad I'm back…I felt really good.”
However, Amoh was quick to deliver a similar message to that of Torres: the most important thing to him was the win for the team.
“We’ve been on the road six times, it’s been a tough one for us to get a win,” Amoh said. “So sitting back there, all I was looking for was to come back and help the team. So when the chance came for me to just put it in there to seal the game, that was all I was looking for, just to help the team win.”
Amoh, Torres and the rest of the squad will be back in action at Trinity Health Stadium on Friday, where they will look for a second consecutive win against a Sacramento Republic team who currently sit top of the league with 24 points, having only sustained a single loss all season.
“If we needed anything else, it was this three points,” Amoh said. “We’ve been on that stretch, so we needed this to just build up from there. We’re taking it one game at a time, and then we’ll see how it goes.”
Kickoff for Friday’s clash with Sacramento is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+ and WCTX MyTV9, as Hartford will look to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season.