PREVIEW: Hartford Athletic Set to Continue Search For Second Win vs. Pheonix Rising FC
The Green and Blue will take the trip out to the desert for the first time for a late 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday.
Following a 2-0 loss at home against a Memphis 901 FC side that head coach Tab Ramos described as one of the best teams Hartford Athletic had faced all season, his squad are set for yet another challenge on the road against Pheonix Rising FC on Saturday.
Hartford currently sit last in the Eastern conference on just five points, with their only win coming on the road against Oakland Roots SC in April. Since then, Hartford have lost three straight, including a 3-2 stoppage-time loss in Birmingham in a game where the Green and Blue held the lead on two separate occasions and did not trail until stoppage time.
On the other end, Pheonix sit in eighth and own the final playoff spot in the West. Despite having 10 points and only one loss in their last five games, Pheonix have only managed two wins through their opening nine contests. Those wins came in the form of a 2-1 win vs. Birmingham Legion on April 9, and a 3-1 victory over Loudon United two weeks ago — both on the road.
Following a 2-0 shutout loss in Florida the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Pheonix returns to Arizona in search of their first league win at home against a Hartford team that have also found the majority of their success — four out of their five points — on the road this season.
Saturday’s meeting marks the second-ever meeting between the two squads, and the first trip to 38th Street/Washington for Hartford. The first meeting between these squads saw Pheonix take the trip to Trinity Health Stadium just under a year ago, on May 28, 2022, coming away with the 2-1 come-from-behind win after Prince Saydee opened the scoring for Hartford in the 20th minute.
This season, Saydee leads the Green and Blue with four goal and three assists through eight games, and will be a key player on the attack for Hartford if they are to pick up a result on the road. Jeciel Cedeño is another player to watch with a pair of goals and assists of his own in just as many games.
For Pheonix, Manuel Arteaga and Daniel Trejo lead the way with two goals apiece. Arteaga also has two assists on the year, most recently scoring one and assisting another in Pheonix’s 3-1 win in Loudon two weeks ago. Trejo notched one of his three goals in their only other win of the season, a 2-1 victory in Birmingham.
Kickoff in this non-conference clash between two teams looking to build some much-needed momentum is set for 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and WCTX MyTV9.