HARTFORD, September 16, 2020 – Alex Dixon scored his fourth goal of the season and the Hartford Athletic soccer team moved within three points of clinching a playoff berth with a 3-1 USL Championship decision over New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night at Dillon Stadium.
Hartford (7-3-1) needs to collect three points in their final five games to clinch a USL Championship playoff spot in their second professional season. The Athletic travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to face the Philadelphia Union II (2-7-2) at 5 p.m.
It was a big win for Hartford since the Red Bulls II (4-8) were the closest competitor to the Athletic for the second and final playoff spot in Group F. The top two teams in each division earn a berth in the USL Championship playoffs.
The Athletic were coming off a five-goal loss at the hands on Pittsburgh on Saturday – the most lopsided loss in the team’s short two-year history. Hartford made several mistakes on defense that cost them against Pittsburgh.
“Very pleased and very proud of the performance tonight,” Hartford coach Radhi Jaïdi said. “It was a very good performance with a high level of intensity and energy, especially in the first half.”
“I think this performance will help us (regain) our confidence and (raise our) level of expectations,” he said.
The Athletic took a 1-0 lead just 11 minutes into the match when newcomer Idan Cohen’s kick off a free ball found the head of Matheus Silva, who directed it into the goal for his first goal of the season.
Hartford made it 2-0 in extra time at the end of the first half. Dixon picked up the ball just outside the 18-yard-line and fired a shot inside the near post.
Hartford added a third goal in the final 15 minutes when 19-year-old newcomer Justin Haak, who is on loan from the MLS’ New York City FC, deflected a corner kick into the net for a 3-1 lead.
Hartford is 3-0 against the Red Bulls this season with one more game scheduled on October 4 in New Jersey.
DRIVE-IN: The Athletic will host a drive-in watch party on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. at the Shoppes at the Farmington Valley in Canton with limited tailgating allowed.
On the big drive-in screen, you can watch Hartford challenge Pittsburgh. Cars will be placed in a socially distant parking lot with space between cars. Bring your own chairs, table and tailgating gear to enjoy the game. No grilling will be allowed.
Fee is $25 to attend. Availability is limited, so click here to get your tickets before they are sold out.
Hartford 3, New York 1
New York Red Bulls II (4-8) 0 1 — 1
Hartford (7-3-1) 2 1 — 3
Goals: Hartford – Matheus Silva (Idan Cohen) 11; Alex Dixon 45; Justin Haak 75; NY –Jake LaCava (Chris Lema) 64; Saves – Parfait Mandanda (H) 4, Wallis Lapsley (NY) 2; Shots on goal: 5-5; Shots: New York 16-15; Corners: New York 4-3
|New York Red Bulls II||12||4-8||22-23||12|
|Philadelphia Union II||11||2-7-2||12-31||8|
Three points for a win and one point for a tie. Teams will play 16 regular season games.
y-clinched playoff spot
Remaining Hartford schedule
Sunday, Sept. 20: At Philadelphia Union II, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 23: PHILADELPHIA UNION II, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26: At Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 30: At Philadelphia Union II
Sunday, October 4: at New York Red Bulls II