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New Signings Shine in Hartford Athletic Debuts
After only days with the club, Modesto Méndez and Daniel Bloyou both saw action in Saturday's win over New Mexico United.
Hartford Athletic newcomers Modesto Méndez and Daniel Bloyou were given a warm welcome from a sold-out Trinity Health Stadium on Saturday, as both saw debut action in the club’s 2-1 win vs. New Mexico United.
Both players were signed midweek in a busy stretch for Hartford. Méndez entered alongside Edgardo Rito as the second midseason addition to a struggling Hartford defensive line, while Bloyou was signed on a 25-day contract as a last-minute replacement for the injured Kyle Edwards and Elvis Amoh. Following Andre Lewis’ red card and subsequent suspension in Saturday’s win, his presence up front may now become even more important, while his future beyond the contracted 25 days with Hartford remains unclear.
Méndez, a former Inter Miami CF II defender, started at center back after less than a week with the club, but his performance would suggest that he had been a mainstay in the backline all season. In a full 90-minute shift, the 25-year-old tallied a team-high nine clearances, winning more than half (4/7) of his aerial duels and completing 77% of his passes (43/56).
“It’s definitely a big adjustment, in terms of style of play and the way we want to play,” fellow defenseman Connor McGlynn said about playing with Méndez for the first time. “I think he had a fantastic game tonight.”
Antoine Hoppenot, who scored the game-winning goal on Saturday, also took positives from Modesto’s debut.
“Modesto played fantastic, he won a lot in the air,” Hoppenot said following Saturday’s win. “He played well with his feet, he found me a couple times into the channel, so he’s gonna be a big addition for us.”
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As for Bloyou, the former FC Tucson man and Penn State standout came off the bench in the 63rd minute in place of Danny Barrera, when Hartford was still down 1-0.
“Daniel, he’s coming in, he’s still kinda getting his feet wet,” Hoppenot said. “He just got here a couple days ago, so we’re still learning, but he did a great job fighting for everything and he could’ve gotten a couple of goals if the bounce went his way.”
The 23-year-old forward took 11 total touches and completed five of his eight passes in a 27-minute shift. He was on the field for both of Hartford’s goals that helped them come from behind to take the win.
“It was a great experience, seeing the fans out there, there was a lot of energy,” Bloyou said. “Obviously it was big game, much needed points, so it felt great being out there with the guys…The energy here is crazy, the fans really love their soccer down here.”
Following his first game in Green and Blue, Bloyou is hungry for more.
“I’m happy to be here, I’m glad to be a part of the club, and I look forward to a lot of hard work and energy from the fans,” Bloyou said. “Hopefully you guys can come out and show a lot of love for us, and give us that same energy you gave us last Saturday.”
As Hartford hit the road once more on Saturday, they will hope for more of the same from their newcomers, in desperate need of points to keep their season alive as the summer stretch nears its end.