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Larger crowd can watch Hartford in first USL playoff game Saturday night – The Collinsville Press
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Larger crowd can watch Hartford in first USL playoff game Saturday night

An estimated 2,200 fans, or 40 percent of capacity, will be allowed at Dillon Stadium on Saturday night when the Athletic host their first-ever USL Championship playoff game. (Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic)

HARTFORD, Oct. 7, 2020 – The Hartford Athletic professional soccer team could be playing their first-ever USL Championship playoff game on Saturday night at Dillon Stadium in front of a larger crowd than expected.

In coordination with state and local regulations, the Athletic sold up to 1,375 seats or 25 percent of capacity for all nine home games this season. With the state of Connecticut Phase 3 re-opening plan, the Athletic submitted plans for increased capacity of 40 percent or 2,200 fans that has been approved by the state and the city of Hartford.

Full health protocols will continue to be in place. Fans are required to wear masks at all times, unless they are eating or drinking, there is no tailgating before the game and there are designated entry and exits based on the seats. Cleaning crews will be sanitizing the facility throughout the match.

Hartford (11-3-2) will be hosting Saint Louis FC on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the first round of the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference playoffs. The Athletic won Group F with a 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls II on Saturday night and earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with the victory.

“Clinching our first playoff berth and hosting our first-round match is a monumental moment for Hartford Athletic, the city of Hartford, and the state of Connecticut,” said Bruce Mandell, Hartford Athletic Chairman. “This match will be the biggest game in Hartford professional sports since 1986, and we are so proud to host it at Dillon Stadium.”

The Athletic were 6-1-2 at Dillon Stadium this summer.

“Dillon Stadium has the best homefield advantage in the league, and I wouldn’t want to play us right now. It’s win-or-go-home time, and we plan on winning,” Mandell said.

Single-game tickets went on sale Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. Fans interested in purchasing tickets can visit HartfordAthletic.com

Saint Louis FC (7-5-2) earned their playoffs spot with a 2-1 win over Indy Eleven on the final day of the season to beat Indy by two points for the second and final playoff spot in Group E. Indy Eleven beat the Athletic, 4-1 in Indianapolis in July.

 

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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