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PREVIEW: Hartford Athletic Kick Off Home Stretch Against Loudoun United
Hartford have faced Loudoun more than any other opponent in the USL Championship, and have not lost at home in nine meetings dating back to 2019.
Fresh off of a 3-1 road loss in Phoenix, Hartford Athletic’s sixth loss of the season through nine games, Tab Ramos’s side will return to Trinity Health Stadium on Saturday night to kick off a three-match home stand against a familiar opponent in Loudoun United FC.
Hartford have welcomed Loudoun to their venue eight times dating back to their inaugural season in 2019. They have never lost to Loudoun at home, holding a dominant 8-1-0 record and outscoring the visitors 20-7 in that stretch. The two sides have seen each other more than Hartford has seen any other opponent in the USL Championship through their five-year history, and the Green and Blue had never lost to Loudoun through 11 total meetings until a 3-0 defeat at Segra Field last season.
Additionally, Hartford’s first ever win against Loudoun also happened to be their first win in club history, snapping a 0-1-9 winless stretch that kicked off their inaugural season in 2019. Now, with an equally as unfortunate 1-2-6 start to their 2023 campaign, Hartford will hope their dominance against their Eastern Conference rivals will continue on a rainy Saturday night in Hartford.
Both teams come into tonight’s game desperately looking to build momentum following a string of unfortunate results. Hartford have lost their last four matches dating back to the middle of April, where their only win of the season so far came on the road against the Oakland Roots. Despite sitting three places above Hartford in the standings (8th), tallying two more wins (3) and tallying double their point total (10), Loudoun are also winless through their last four USL Championship matchups.
Saturday’s game will be the fifth in two weeks for Loudoun, who saw midweek action in a 3-1 loss to New Mexico United on Wednesday. Tommy Wiallamson scored the lone goal in the 87th minute for Loudoun from the spot, his second of the 2023 season. Zach Ryan leads the team in goals, scoring five in eight appearances, with his last league goal coming in Loudoun’s 2-0 win against Oakland on April 23rd.
Despite their losing stretch, Loudoun have only been shut out once in their last nine matches, and Hartford are yet to record a clean sheet this season in the USL Championship.
As for Hartford, Tab Ramos mentioned in training on Wednesday that depending on fitness, Elvis Amoh may be available for selection against Loudoun. The forward had two goals in five starts before coming off the field in the second half of a 3-2 loss to Charleston in early April with a thigh injury, and would provide a much-needed boost to Hartford’s front line.
The Green and Blue’s 3-1 loss to Pheonix started with a goal in the third minute of the match, before Kyle Edwards eventually equalized from the spot just before halftime. Despite a sharp five-save performance and a USL Championship save of the week honor, Richard Sánchez could not do quite enough to keep the ball out of the net amidst several late defensive mistakes saw Hartford once again walk away empty-handed.
Kickoff in tonight’s Eastern Conference battle is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+ and WCTX MyTV9.