Top Dogs: Hartford Down Pittsburgh 1-0
In the third meeting with Pittsburgh Riverhounds this season, Hartford Athletic notched a massive 1-0 victory holding on even though down to 10 men for the final 26 minutes of the match. Hartford now controls its own destiny to finish at the top of Group F and host a first round playoff match at Dillon Stadium.
In the first half, Pittsburgh had the majority of possession, but Hartford looked dangerous on the counter. Guzman and Dixon ran between the lines and their combination play was causing issues in the Pittsburgh backline.
In the 28th minute, Alex Dixon found Tyreke Johnson on his familiar left-hand side. The Englishman crept into the box and stepped in front of the Riverhound defender. Johnson went down and the referee pointed to the spot. Ever Guzman stepped up and his penalty was denied by the Riverhound keeper's left leg.
Shortly after, Cheno would redeem himself. In the 35th minute, the veteran was slipped in by strike partner Alex Dixon. Guzman ran onto it and with a sliding finish dispatched a right-footed shot into the back of the net. Cheno celebrated by running over to head coach Radhi JaÃ¯di and the gaffer welcomed his star striker into his arms.
In the second half, Hartford had to deal with adversity. After a couple of injury substitutions early in the half, Athletic was dealt with another obstacle in the 71st minute. After a 50/50 sliding challenge with the Riverhound striker, Parfait Mandanda found himself in a scuffle behind the net. With both players getting after each other, the referee had to intervene. After the altercation, the official deemed Mandanda guilty of a red card sending off.
Second year goalkeeper Mike Novotny came in to make his USL Championship debut replacing Mandanda and standing on his head for Hartford. He and the backline stood tall with multiple clearances and goal lines saves in the last fifteen minutes. After a couple of late chances, the final whistle sounded and Hartford picked up a massive three points in the push for home-field advantage.
Next up Hartford Athletic travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday for their second to last regular season matchup.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford Athletic 3 (2) - 13 (1) Pittsburgh
Corners: Hartford Athletic 3-8 Pittsburgh
Fouls: Hartford Athletic 18-9 Pittsburgh
Offsides: Hartford Athletic 2-2 Pittsburgh
Possession: Hartford Athletic 26%-74% Pittsburgh
Passing Accuracy: Hartford Athletic 49.3%-82% Pittsburgh
Saves: Hartford Athletic 1-1 Pittsburgh
36' - Ever Guzman
47' - Matheus Silva (yellow)
50' - Kevin Politz (yellow)
64' - Danny Barrera (yellow)
71' - Parfait Mandanda (red)
72' - Steevan Dos Santos (yellow)
89' - Mike Novotny (yellow)
90' + 5 - Justin Haak (yellow)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
35 (GK) Parfait Mandanda; 24 (D) Sam Strong, 4 (D) Kevin Politz, 3 (D) Matheus Silva; 25 (MF) Idan Cohen; 10 (MF) Danny Barrera, 80 (MF) Justin Haak, 23 (MF) Aiden Mesias, 88 (MF) Tyreke Johnson; 99 (F) Ever Guzman, 11 (F) Alex Dixon
PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC STARTING LINEUP:
1 (GK) Daniel Vitiello; 34 (D) Skylar Thomas, 17 (D) Thomas Vancaeyezeele, 21 (D) Patrick Bunk-Andersen; 23 (MF) Ray Lee; 12 (MF) Danny Griffin, 7 (MF) Ryan James, 14 (MF) Robbie Mertz, 5 (MF) Jordan Dover; 10 (F) Steevan Dos Santos, 3 (F) Ropapa Mensah
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