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 Hartford Athletic

Hartford Head to Indy to Clash with the Eleven

May 17, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Hartford Athletic News Release


Hartford are back on the road, heading to the Hoosier State for a matchup with Indy Eleven. The matchup gives them a chance to break a four-game skid in the Championship, and take some momentum into back-to-back home matches over the next two weeks.

LAST TIME OUT

Hartford Athletic are coming off a 2-0 loss to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC last Saturday at home. Hartford had a difficult time creating consistent chances in the first half, and the second half comeback effort fell short. The Switchbacks took the lead in the 24th minute when Maalique Foster delivered a quality lead ball into the box for Yosuke Hanya, and Hanya powered his shot to the top left corner of the box. Hartford came out of the second half gate much stronger in their attacking play, and came inches away from tying the game in the 57th minute. Michee Ngalina found space just outside the box off of a turnover, and lofted his shot off the crossbar. The ball bounced on the goal line and out to Deshane Beckford, whose header was desperately saved by Duke Lacroix in bicycle kick fashion off the line. Still down a goal late in the match, Jordan Scarlett committed a penalty in the box and Ronald Dumas converted his PK try in the 80th minute to seal the victory for Colorado Springs.

MATCHUP HISTORY

Hartford Athletic have faced off against Indy Eleven seven times since 2019, and are 2-4-1 all-time against the familiar eastern conference foe. The matchup with Indy holds positive memories in the hearts of Hartford fans despite a losing record against them, as the Green and Blue picked up their first ever victory at Dillon Stadium (now Trinity Health Stadium) against the Eleven on July 13th, 2019. A year ago, Hartford picked up a point at Indy thanks to an early Kyle Edwards goal, but they conceded a late equalizer from Jack Blake. It was an extremely chippy match that saw 11 cards dealt, including three reds (two to Indy and one to Triston Hodge).

WHISTLING WELTER

Saturday's matchup has the chance to be another physical game with many whistles and cards dealt, as Indy leads the Championship in cautions (32) and Hartford's 28 are good for sixth in the Championship.

FAMILIAR FACES

Hartford Athletic will see two familiar faces on Saturday: wingback Younes Boudadi and goalkeeper Yannik Oettl. Both players were on Hartford's 2022 roster, and Boudadi spent the 2021 season with the team as well. The Belgian defensemen was a frequent feature for Athletic, totaling over 5,000 minutes across 57 appearances. Oettl signed with the club on loan from New England Revolution II midway through the 2022 season and turned in an excellent campaign in goal, making the second most-saves in club history with 74 across 19 appearances. Both Boudadi and Oettl Additionally, Hartford's Rece Buckmaster will return to his home state and former team on Saturday. The Auburn, Indiana native made 23 appearances for Indy in 2021, and played four years at Indiana University.

BETWEEN THE POSTS

Renan Ribeiro has taken over the starting role in goal for Hartford after coming back from a thigh injury that sidelined him for the first six matches of the season, and the 34 year old has been reliable through his highly-anticipated first two performances. He made five saves in Charleston two weeks ago, and followed with two more against Colorado Springs last week. What doesn't show up on the stat sheet are his saves in big moments, including a diving stop on Nick Markanich in the 90th minute against Charleston, and a point-blank denial of Zach Zandi just before the end of the first half against Colorado Springs to keep Hartford's deficit at just one. The former Liga Portugal keeper was brought to Hartford as their first signing of the offseason in an effort to improve on a poor defensive season in 2023, and he's been up to the task so far.

Prematch Interviews

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Hartford Athletic: Michee Ngalina, FW #11

Michee Ngalina leads Hartford attacking efforts with 17 shots and seven on target, along with an assist. He scored what would be the game winning goal in Hartford's home opener against Birmingham back on March 23rd, but has yet to find the back of the net a second time. The 23 year old has 35 USL Championship goals to his name in his young career so far, and may be the most likely candidate to help Hartford breakout of their three-game scoreless streak. Ngalina hit the under side of the crossbar last week, coming inches from a highlight-reel goal.

Indy Eleven: Jack Blake, MF #8

Blake leads Indy with 24 shots and is tied for the lead in goals scored with Augustine Williams (4). He's also created 10 chances and has been excellent in gaining possession for Indy, winning a team-leading 19 tackles in the midfield. He will be an active player to watch against Hartford on Saturday night.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

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

Date: Saturday, May 18th, 2024

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Location: IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Streaming: MyTV9, WTNH.com , or ESPN+


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