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Dixon scores twice as Hartford clinches playoff spot with shutout win – The Collinsville Press
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Dixon scores twice as Hartford clinches playoff spot with shutout win

Hartford’s Alejandro Lara (2) puts the pressure on Philadelphia’s Anthony Sorenson (62) in Sunday’s USL Championship game in Chester, Pa. The Athletic won, 3-0. (Photo courtesy USL Productions)

Alex Dixon scored twice as the Hartford Athletic soccer team clinched spot in the upcoming USL Championship playoffs with a 3-0 shutout win over the Philadelphia Union II on Sunday evening at Subaru Park in Chester, Pa.

Hartford (8-3-1) clinches at least second place in Group F with the win. The two teams in each USL Championship group earn a spot in the playoffs that begin in October.

Goalie Parfait Mandanda had three saves to earn his second shutout of the season for Hartford. The Athletic will host their final regular season home game of the season on Wednesday night when they host Philadelphia at 7 p.m. at Dillon Stadium.

Dixon, 30, leads the Athletic in scoring with six goals in 12 games. He gave Hartford an early lead on Sunday with just eight minutes gone in the game. A long pass up the left side of the field by Tyreke Johnson got behind the Philadelphia defense to Ever Guzman, who quickly delivered a pass to Dixon.

The veteran forward shot low into the left corner from 15 yards away for a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, Hartford took a 2-0 lead and Dixon was in the middle of the action.

When Philadelphia (2-8-2) turned the ball over just outside their own penalty area, Dixon quickly slipped a pass to Guzman, who got in position to shoot. But Philadelphia defender Jamoi Topey challenged Guzman for the ball and inadvertently sent the ball past his own goalie.

Dixon scored his second goal in the 58th minute, capitalizing on a moment of confusion in the Philadelphia penalty area.

Dixon’s initial effort to find teammate Idan Cohen with a pass inside the penalty area was intercepted, but the ball deflected between two Union II defenders and allowed Dixon to quickly regain possession. Dixon then got around goalkeeper Matt Freese and tucked his finish into the open net.

Tickets are still available for Wednesday night’s match. It is our Hartford’s annual Match for a Cause sponsored by Stanley Black and Decker. Players will be wearing special jerseys which will be auctioned off. The bidding is already open, click here to bid on your favorite player’s jersey.

Hartford 3, Philadelphia 0
At Philadelphia
Hartford             2  0  — 3
Philadelphia      0  0  — 0
Goals: Hartford – Alex Dixon (Ever Guzman) 8; own goal 13; Alex Dixon 58; Saves: Parfait Mandanda (H) 3, Matt Freese (P) 2; Corners: Philadelphia, 4-3; Shots on goal: 18-8, Philadelphia



USL Championship Group F

Team GP W-L-T GF-GA Pts.
y-Pittsburgh 14 10-3-1 37-8 31
y-Hartford 12 8-3-1 24-21 25
New York Red Bulls II 12 4-8 22-23 12
Philadelphia Union II 12 2-8-2 12-34 8
Loudoun United 13 1-9-3 10-28 6

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
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

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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