Sports stats

 Hartford Athletic

Hartford Begin U.S. Open Cup Play against NYCFC II

April 16, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Hartford Athletic News Release

Date: Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Location: Trinity Health Stadium, Hartford, Connecticut



After a week of rest, Hartford Athletic begin their two-match week with a matchup against NYCFC II (MLS Next Pro) in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.


Hartford Athletic are coming off a 3-2 victory over The Miami FC on Saturday, April 6th. Hartford played a dominant first half, putting five shots on target to Miami's 0 and drawing a penalty kick in the 30th minute after Deshane Beckford was tripped in the box. Romario Williams was denied by Daniel Gagliardi on the PK try, but Beckford gave Hartford the lead with a counter-attacking goal in the 45th minute. After the missed opportunity in the first half, Williams scored off a corner kick nine minutes into the second half to double Hartford's lead. Gabriel Cabral responded for Miami, bouncing a shot from the top of the box and into the bottom left corner to beat Paul Walters in the 76th minute. Protecting a one-goal lead in stoppage time, second half sub Enoch Mushagalusa gave Athletic breathing room with his first goal of the season. Hartford conceded an own goal off the back of Joe Farrell a minute later, but held on after six minutes of stoppage time for the 3-2 victory.


Deshane Beckford had his best performance of the season so far against Miami. He had his way in the attacking third, recording five shots and 10 total touches in Miami's box. His speed on the outside flanks was on full display, as both the penalty he drew and the goal he scored were a result of his rapid pace on the ball. The penalty came after Beckford made a long run up the left side and made a quick move from right-to-left in the box, beating Samuel Biek and forcing the tripping foul. His first goal of the season came on the counter attack, a well-executed breakout between him and Anderson Asiedu. The midfielder tapped the ball forward and Beckford, who made a dazzling run to chase it down and beat a charging Gagliardi in a foot race to the ball, then he finished on the open net. "[Beckford] can change a game in a moment, and he did it multiple times today," said Coach Burke post game. "He was the Man of the Match."


Hartford Athletic have played six total matches in the Open Cup, posting a 3-3 record in the tournament and making it as far as the Third Round. A season ago, the Green and Blue beat Lansdowne Yonkers FC 3-0 at home, before dropping a road matchup with the New England Revolution (MLS) 2-1 at Gillette Stadium. Their first MLS challenge in the Open Cup came against the New York Red Bulls in 2022 at Trinity Health Stadium (after beating Oyster Bay United in the Second Round), also dropping that match 2-1. Down 2-0 in the second half, Danny Barrera picked up the assist on Conor McGlynn's goal that electrified a soldout Trinity Health Stadium, but the comeback effort fell short. Hartford's first Open Cup match came in the 2019 inaugural season, when they hosted the New York Cosmos B at the University of Hartford and secured their first ever victory in any competition. Harry Swartz and Mads Jorgenson tallied Hartford's goals in the 2-1 win, and the team went on to lose to Memphis 901 FC in the Third Round.


Hartford Athletic face their first two-match week of the season at home, as they'll host San Antonio FC this Saturday after the Open Cup match on tomorrow. The ensuing road trips sends Hartford to Louisville (2nd place in East) next week, and to the defending champions Charleston (1st place in East) the following week.


NYCFC II competes in the MLS NEXT Pro league and are 2-2-0 so far this season, and are coming off a commanding 6-2 victory over New England Revolution II this past Sunday. Jonathan Shore leads the team with three goals, and Jonathan Jimenez Vargas and Ronald Arevalo follow with two apiece.


Hartford Athletic: Joey Akpunonu, DF #3

Akpunonu is a 22-year-old loanee from FC Cincinnati and has quietly been one of Hartford's best and most efficient defensive additions so far. His 278 minutes played is the least out of all defenders with four appearances, but he remains towards the top of the team in clearances(12), tackles (10), tackles won (six), and blocks (four). After coming off the bench in the first match of the season in El Paso, Akpunonu has contributed quality minutes and solidified himself as a starter.

NYCFCII: Jonathan Shore, MF #32

This 17 year old midfielder leads his team in not only goals (three), but shots (12) and shots on target (five). Shore became the 11th Homegrown Academy signing in NYCFC history in March of 2023, signing through 2027 with an option for 2028.


For live updates, follow along on twitter using the hashtag #USOC2024

• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...

United Soccer League Championship Stories from April 16, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central