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 Hartford Athletic

Hartford Begin Two-Game Home Stand against Pittsburgh

June 14, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Hartford Athletic News Release


Hartford Athletic are back at home and face a crucial Eastern Conference matchup against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, who sit just a point above the Green and Blue in the conference standings.

LAST TIME OUT

Hartford Athletic are coming off a 1-0 loss to New Mexico United on the road. The Green and Blue defended for much of the match, controlling just 37% of the possession and facing 15 shots from New Mexico. They stayed composed through a slew of first half chances from the home side, including a shot off the post from Christopher Gloster in the 28th minute. The Green and Blue spent more time in New Mexico's third in the second half (35 final third entries), but the home side broke through in the late stages of the match. Marco Micaletto drove the ball low into the box, and Bruce touched just enough of it to float it into the bottom right corner. Hartford were unable to find an equalizer in the remaining minutes, and fell 1-0 despite a brave defensive effort on the road.

MATCHUP HISTORY

Saturday marks the 14th time that Hartford will face off against Pittsburgh, tied for the most matchups they've had with any team (Loudoun United). The Green and Blue have a 1-10-2 record against the Hounds, with their only victory against the familiar Eastern Conference foe coming back on September 26th, 2020 during a (1-0 at Highmark Stadium). Hartford last saw the Hounds at home on August 23rd, 2023, and suffered a gut-wrenching loss. Athletic gave up three early goals, but made a miraculous comeback to level the score 3-3 late in the match. The Hounds snuck a fourth goal past Joe Rice to raise the score 4-3, marking the sixth match between the two teams that has been decided by just one goal.

TWO ALL-TIME GREATS ON ONE PITCH

Saturday's match will feature two of the USL Championship's all-time great players and distributors: Danny Barrera and Kenardo Forbes. Both players in their 10th season in the Championship, the two assist men go toe-to-toe in multiple distribution categories in the league record book. Most notably, Forbes currently holds the most assists in league history (65), while Barrera holds the third most (50). Both players are tied for the single game record for most assists (three), and Barrera is second all-time for most consecutive games with an assist (five). Recently, the 34 year old was a halftime sub for Hartford against New Mexico, seeing his most significant minutes of the season so far.

FAMILIAR FACES

Joe Farrell and Thomas Vancaeyezeele will be two familiar faces for the Hounds upon their arrival at Trinity Health Stadium this Saturday. Farrell joined Hartford prior to their 2024 season on the heels of a successful 2023 stint with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. The 29-year-old defender was a key defensive component for the Hounds and appeared in 27 games and made 18 starts for the club. The Pennsylvania native was second on the team in clearances (75) and aerial duels (71), and tied for a team first in blocks (14). Vancaeyezeele made his USL career debut with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in March of 2018 when he went on trial with the club. The 29-year-old defender made two preseason appearances for the team including one against the team's league rival, Penn FC, in which assisted a game-winning goal. Over the first two matches of the 2018 season, Vancaeyezeele maintained the team's highest passing percentage in the offensive half and led in interceptions. The France native made a team-high of 32 starts during his first season with the Hounds during which he scored two goals for the club. Vancaeyezeele remained with the club until 2020.

BETWEEN THE POSTS

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: #1 Eric Dick

Eric Dick first has wasted no time making a name for himself in Pittsburgh. The Kansas native has started and played 10 games for Pittsburgh, racking up 900 minutes in net this season. In the Hounds recent match against Charleston Battery, Dick made three saves to record his fifth clean sheet of the season. The 29-year-old goalie currently leads in clean sheets in the Eastern Conference and sits second in clean sheets overall.

Hartford Athletic: #40 Renan Ribeiro

Ribeiro has been reliable between the posts for Hartford, boasting over a 70% save success rate in the 34 shots he has faced. With 24 saves this season, the Brazilian native is currently ranked sixth in saves out of the 14 teams in the Eastern Conference. The 34-year-old keeper has played seven games this season during which he contributed 88 long passes, the second most on the team. Ribeiro has been finding his rhythm the past few matchups after a successful eight saves in the last two games, including a diving save last week against New Mexico United to deny a scoring opportunity in the 51st minute of play.

ROSTER UPDATE

Hartford Athletic added forward Dantouma "Yaya" Toure and defender Younes Boudadi this week. Toure comes to Hartford on loan from Major League soccer, most recently playing for the Colorado Rapids. The 20 year old played for Coach Burke in 2021 while serving a loan spell with Colorado Springs, and contributed three goals to the team's third place regular season finish and playoff berth. Boudadi is a an exciting site for Athletic fans, as the Belgian outside back spent two productive seasons with the Green and Blue in 2021 and 2022. He left the Club with over 5,000 minutes played and led the team in minutes played (2,796), interceptions (61), and crosses (96) in his final season. After a full season with Indy Eleven and an additional eight matches with them this year, Boudadi re-joins Hartford as part of a transaction that sent Romario Williams to Indy. Boudadi has three assists so far this season.

ABOUT THE OPPONENT

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC currently sit ninth on the table in the Eastern Conference with a record of 3-5-5. The Pennsylvania-based team is positioned one place ahead of Hartford in the conference standings and will be coming to Trinity Health Stadium on the heels of a 0-0 draw against Charleston Battery last Saturday, June, 8th. The match marked the sixth time the Riverhounds have failed to score in their 13 games, more often than any other team in the USL Championship this season. The Hounds are 1-3-3 on the road so far this year.

Prematch Interviews

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Hartford Athletic: Jay Chapman, MF #8

Chapman has been a key component to Hartford's distribution and possession in the attacking third, leading the team in chances created with 20 in the 11 games he has played. Having scored just three goals in their last four matches, Chapman is a necessary piece to generate attacking chances for Hartford on Saturday.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Edward Kizza, FW #19

Kizza has been Pittsburgh's top finisher, leading the Hounds in goals (3) and shots (18). He has been consistent in his distribution and earning possession for his team, propelling the Pittsburgh towards goal-scoring opportunities with a long pass success rate of 66.7% and a team-leading count 139 duels. The 25-year-old forward has been with Pittsburgh for three seasons after joining the club in 2022 off a loan from New England Revolution.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

For live updates, follow along on twitter using the hashtag #HFDvPIT

PRESENTED BY TRAVELERS

Date: Saturday, June 15th, 2024

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Location: Trinity Health Stadium, Hartford, CT

Tickets: HERE

Watch: MyTV9, wtnh.com, ESPN+

HARTFORD ATHLETIC (4-7-1) vs PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (3-5-5)


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