Preview: It's Playoff Time
The Playoffs are one sleep away! Tomorrow night at 7 PM the Boys in Green will host Saint Louis FC in the first ever playoff match in club history. Hartford comes into this match undefeated in six consecutive matches, with wins in five. They'll look to use that momentum as they face one of their toughest opponents of the season.
HARTFORD ATHLETIC (10-3-2) vs SAINT LOUIS FC (7-5-4)
Date: Saturday, October 10th
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Location: Dillon Stadium, Hartford, CT
Local TV: WCTX MyTV9
Streaming: hartfordathletic.com/watch or ESPN+
International Viewers: YouTube
LAST TIME OUT:
Hartford Athletic took down New York Red Bulls II, 2-0 and finished the 2020 regular season at the top of the Group F table. After a scoreless first half, Tyreke Johnson took over in the second half. In the 65th minute, Ever GuzmÃ¡n sent a ball back to the far post where Johnson was lurking uncovered and poked it past the keeper for the first goal of the night. Ten minutes later, Johnson worked himself free of Red Bull defenders and found Conor McGlynn who had come on merely seconds earlier. McGlynn took a quick touch, teed it up and uncorked an absolute rocket to the far top corner for the second goal of the night! Hartford players celebrated in the far corner and even Head Coach Radhi JaÃ¯di ran from his coaches box to celebrate with the Boys.
On Thursday, loanee Tyreke Johnson was recalled by Southampton FC. Johnson, who played a mix of Left Wingback and Forward for Hartford, played in 15 of 16 matches this season, starting 11. He scored 2 goals, most memorably a highlight reel goal in the home opener against Loudoun United where he put defender Adam Lundegard though the spin cycle. It is expected that Gabriel Torres will start in Johnson's place.
A HARTFORD PLAYOFF STORY:
Saturday will mark the first time a professional team in Hartford will host a postseason game since 2015 when the Wolfpack, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, hosted the Eastern Conference Finals of the Calder Cup. The NHL's Hartford Whalers last appeared in the postseason in 1992 when they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in Game seven of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Hartford Yard Goats, AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, have yet to qualify for the postseason as a Hartford-based franchise.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Hartford Athletic, Alex Dixon, F, #11:
Dixon is running in arguably his best form as a member of Hartford Athletic. This season he's scored 6 goals and has become the leading scorer in Club history. While he hasn't scored since September 20, he has been the most steady presence among the Hartford forward group and has worked well with his striking partner to create chances. Saint Louis doesn't score a ton of goals, but they don't allow many either, and taking advantage of any chances will be imperative if Hartford is to win tomorrow night.
Saint Louis FC, Wal Fall, MF, #5:
It's no secret that Athletic has struggled with athletic midfields this season and Fall is at the center of Saint Louis's success this season. In 15 games this season he has recorded 2 goals, 3 assists, and 10 key passes. He will be important in getting the ball to scorers Tyler Blackwood and Russell Cicerone for the Saint Louis attack.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
Saint Louis FC comes into this match prepared for the pressure of the playoffs. They defeated Indy Eleven 2-1 in a win-or-go-home match on Saturday to take second place in Group E. The 2020 season will be the final season for Saint Louis FC, citing financial difficulties following the COVID-19 pandemic. Hartford and Saint Louis have not met this season. Last year, Hartford earned their first home USL Championship victory against Saint Louis when Phil Rasmussen scored a PK in the 85th minute to go up 2-1.
Can't watch? Stay in touch with our live commentary @hfdathletic or by following #HFDvSTL.
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