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 Hartford Athletic

Hartford Back at Home to Face Monterey Bay FC

May 23, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Hartford Athletic News Release


Date: Friday, May 24th, 2024

Time: 7:30 PM ET

Location: Trinity Health Stadium, Hartford, CT

Tickets: HERE

Watch: MyTV9, wtnh.com, ESPN+

LAST TIME OUT

Hartford Athletic are back at Trinity Health Stadium after a 4-1 loss to Indy Eleven last Saturday on the road. Indy came out in control, as midfielder Jack Blake put a PK in the back of the net two minutes in after Thomas Vancaeyezeele was called for a handball in the box. Hartford had a difficult time maintaining possession in the first half, failing to capitalize on goal-scoring opportunities before the 40th minute. In the final minutes of extra time in the first half, Indy defenseman Benjamin Ofeimu scored off a corner kick, raising the Indy lead to 2-0 at the half. The home side didn't lose momentum in the second half and quickly added two more goals on the board. The first goal of the second half came from Douglas Martinez, and Augustine Williams added another just minutes later to make the score 4-0. In the 80th minute Michee Ngalina scored Hartford's only goal of the match, assisted by Marcus Epps.

MATCHUP HISTORY

Friday's match marks the second time Hartford Athletic will face off against Monterey Bay FC, holding a 0-1 record against their Western Conference foe. Hartford opened their 2023 season on the road against the California-based team at Cardinale Stadium on March 12th last year. After an action-packed game, Hartford suffered a 5-3 loss against Monterey Bay. This matchup holds particular significance as three of Hartford's former players, Alex Lara, Walmer Martinez, and Alex Dixon are now signed with Monterey Bay. Dixon played for Hartford Athletic from 2019 to 2020 and has been a substantial obstacle for his former team. In Hartford's 2023 match against Monterey Bay, the forward burned Hartford by contributing a hat trick in the first half. The offensive-packed game was full of scoring opportunities for both teams, as Hartford finished with 70 final third entries to Monterey Bay's 58.

FAMILIAR FACES

Hartford Athletic will see three familiar faces on Friday: forward Walmer Martinez, defender Alex Lara, and forward Alex Dixon. Martinez made his USL Championship debut with Hartford Athletic in 2021, logging over 1,000 minutes for the club and scoring two goals. Martinez was transferred to Monterey Bay ahead of their inaugural season the next year. Alex Lara signed his first professional contract with Hartford and played in 13 matches, scoring two goals and adding an assist during his time with the Green and Blue. After leaving Hartford in 2021, Lara signed with Las Vegas Lights FC in March of 2022 before joining Monterey Bay FC in December 2022. Dixon, who joined Hartford Athletic in 2018 ahead of their 2019 inaugural season, spent two quality years with the club. During the 3,027 total minutes he saw with Hartford, Dixon recorded 11 goals and six assists. Following his last season with Hartford, fans voted Dixon the club's Offensive Player of the Year. After leaving Hartford in 2019, Dixon spent two years with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC before making the move to the West Coast.

BETWEEN THE POSTS

After an injury took Renan Ribeiro out for the first six games of the 2024 season, Hartford's goalie is back in net for the team. The matchup against Monterey Bay will mark Ribeiro's fourth consecutive game starting for Hartford. In the past three games, Ribeiro has saved nearly 70% of the 23 shots he has faced. He made nine saves in Indianapolis last Saturday, fending off almost all of the 12 on-target shots Indy Eleven sent his way. What doesn't show up on the stat sheet are his back-to-back volley shot saves off of crosses from Indy's Sebastian Guenzatti in the 43rd minute and Douglas Martinez in the 46th minute of the match. Ribeiro stayed consistent throughout the second half, shutting down Younes Boudadi's close-range shot off a breakaway in the 61st minute.

SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE

Both club's come into Friday's match in the midst of respective stretches of poor results. Hartford are on a five-game losing streak, and Monterey Bay have dropped four in a row. Both teams are in need of a breakthrough and three points.

ABOUT THE OPPONENT

Currently standing fourth in the Western Conference, Monterey Bay started out the season strong with early wins against Phoenix Rising FC, Oakland Roots SC, and Las Vegas Lights, but have been struggling to gain momentum in recent games. They hold a 4-4-3 record but have gone 1-3-1 in their last five contests, and are coming off a 3-0 loss to Loudoun United. Monterey Bay goalie Antony Siaha has played a big role in keeping his team on the top side of the table. His 36 saves lead the USL Championship, and he holds two clean sheets as well.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Hartford Athletic: Jay Chapman, MF #8

Midfielder Jay Chapman has started eight out of the team's nine games and played 640 minutes throughout the season. Chapman was a bright spot for Hartford last Saturday, excelling in distribution. He led the team in chances created, touches on the ball, accurate passes made, and total passes contributed. With nine final third entries and 22 passes in the final third, Chapman played a key role in advancing Hartford forward and generating goal-scoring opportunities. The midfielder is currently ranked top on his team for chances created after adding 14 contributions for Hartford.

Monterey Bay: Tristan Trager, FW, #9

Tristan Trager, the 24-year-old from San Clemente, California is a recent addition to Monterey Bay FC after transferring from Charleston Battery of the Eastern Conference in late January earlier this year. In his first season with the club, Trager has started seven of the 10 games he has played. In the 573 minutes of field time he has seen, Trager has contributed 19 total shots and 5 goals scored for the club earning him the leading shot-taker and goal-scorer on Monterey Bay. Trager recently earned a spot on Week 10, Team of the Week joining teammate Carlos Guzman. With a recent injury to his ribs, Trager was forced to take a seat on the bench for both the USL Championships Team and Monterey Bay's recent matchup against Loudoun United FC.


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