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"We Needed That." - Tab Ramos Reacts To Hartford Athletic's First Home Win of 2023
Hear from Hartford head coach Tab Ramos following his team's 2-0 victory over Loudoun United on Saturday.
With only 10 weeks of the 2023 USL Championship season gone, it may seem premature to discuss the playoff picture before regular season action has even reached the month of June.
However, after a 1-2-6 start to the season stranded Hartford Athletic in dead last in the league through the first third of the season, a 2-0 win over Loudoun United provided an absolutely vital three points that could prove to be a turning point in their season if the Green and Blue play their cards right.
“Really happy to get the three points, we really needed them,” Hartford head coach Tab Ramos said following the win. “Obviously, we’ve been going through a little bit of a rough time, it was nice to have Elvis [Amoh] back. The team worked really hard today.”
Although Hartford will enjoy the next two straight matches at home after several lengthy road trips to kick off the 2023 campaign, those two matches will not be easy — The Green and Blue are set to host a Sacramento Republic side who sit on top of the league on 24 points and just one loss, followed by third-place Louisville City FC side who are unbeaten in their last six league matches with just two losses on the year.
For Ramos, the difficult stretch makes the win vs. Loudoun even more important. Beyond a much-needed three points, it also gave the team a boost of momentum in front of the home fans — a sense of victory that the players were starved of through their opening nine games.
“We needed that,” Ramos said. “Especially knowing we have Sacramento and Louisville coming [as our] next two opponents, two of the best teams in the league over the last few years. Yeah, we got two tough ones coming up, but tonight we’re just gonna enjoy the victory.”
Despite a poor start to the season, three points on Saturday propelled Hartford right back into the playoff conversation — although early in the season, Hartford find themselves just three points outside the playoff line as the fight for the final spots will intensify going into the summer months, giving them a valuable chance to put a less than memorable opening nine weeks behind them.
“Today was in particular, I thought it was a really important game considering where we are in the table,” Ramos said. “I think by winning today, having a game in hand with a couple of the other teams, we stay in the playoff picture which is important considering we’ve had Elvis Amoh out of the lineup for so long. It was nice to have him back, he got a goal, so I think things will start looking up a little bit.”
Apart from the return of Elvis Amoh — who marked his first appearance in over a month due to a thigh injury with a second-half penalty just ten minutes after coming on — The Green and Blue were also propelled by a first Hartford goal for April signing Juan Pablo Torres, who previously found success under Tab Ramos with the U.S. Youth National Team from 2014-18.
“Juan Pablo [Torres] changed us a little bit, he’s a hard worker, he’s got good feet, he’s able to allow us play a little but better out of the back,” Ramos said. “Obviously today he also got a goal, [it was] a big game for him. Also, I think the help of Tristan Hodge in the middle off the field today, it was the first time we put him in the position and I think he really well.”
In search of their first string of consecutive results this season in hopes to build momentum, Hartford Athletic are set to host first-place Sacramento Republic for a 7:30 kickoff from Trinity Health Stadium on Friday. The second of three straight home games for the Green and Blue, the match will be broadcasted on ESPN+ and WCTX MyTV9.