The Hartford Athletic sent their sellout crowd home happy Saturday night after picking up their second straight win with a 3-2 decision over New York Red Bulls II in USL Championship action at Trinity Health Stadium.
Corey Hertzog scored the game-winning goal in extra time to lift the Athletic to the victory. It was his first goal in a Hartford uniform.
The decisive moment arrived for Hartford in the third minute of second-half stoppage time when a deep corner from the right by Danny Barrera was headed back into the six-yard area by Conor McGlynn and touched into the net by Hertzog from just a few feet in front of the goal, sparking a wild celebration among the crowd and players.
“That’s the kind of team we are. We will battle and scratch for three points,” Hertzog said. “I’m supposed to score goals so I got as close as I could. I thought if that fall in there, I would smash it home. Luckly it went through three people. That was a nice feed from Danny.”
Hertzog signed with Hartford in late April. He has played with five other USL Championship clubs, most recently with San Diego, where he scored six goals and five assists last season. His 73 regular season goals are the second most in league history.
In the first half, New York (2-6-1) got off to a strong start but Hartford began to turn the tide in the 30th minute after Prince Saydee made a blistering run into New York’s third and fed a ball to the middle of the park that was headed by Tom Brewitt, then by Luka Prpa.
The ball fell to the feet of Hertzog, who flicked a brilliant shot over the Reb Bull keeper Giannis Nikopolidis, but the goal was waved off after a discussion from the officials deemed Hertzog offsides.
Six minutes later, the goal counted. Brewitt and Hertzog were involved again, as Hertzog fired a ball off a throw-in that was headed by Brewitt and then kicked in by Luka Prpa.
Hartford was set to head to the locker room with a 1-0 lead until New York’s O’vante Mullins played a long ball to Jordan Adebayo-Smith in first half stoppage time, who got behind a charging Austin Pack and rolled a shot into the open net.
In the 52nd minute, Hertzog led Prince Saydee with a pass that gave him space to enter New York’s box, but his shot attempt was blocked after a strong tackle from Juan Castillo.
Two minutes later, Hartford found a goal off a brilliantly executed corner kick for a 2-1 lead. Barrera placed a ball at the feet of McGlynn, who lobbed a ball into the box that was deflected and booted in by Joel Johnson, giving the USL Championship veteran a goal in his 150th career appearance.
In the 70th minute, Illia Tyrkus received a pass at the top of Hartford’s box and lofted a left-footed strike into the top corner of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
“It’s about time something bounced for us,” Hartford coach Harry Watling said. “Delighted with the win. Disappointed we let the opposition get back in the game twice. But we passed the character test with flying colors.”
Hartford returns to action next Saturday night at Tulsa.
Hartford 3, New York Red Bulls II 2
New York (1-8-1) 1 1 — 2
Hartford (2-6-1) 1 2 — 3
Goals – Hartford: Luka Prpa (Corey Hertzog) 36; Joel Johnson 54’; Corey Hertzog (Modou Jadama) 90+3’; New York: Jordan Adebayo-Smith (O’Vonte Mullings) 45+1’; Illia Tyrkus (O’Vonte Mullings) 70’; Shots: Hartford 18-6; Shots on target: Hartford 7-4; Corners: Hartford 7-1; Offsides: Hartford, 6-2; Fouls: New York 14-8; Saves: New York, 3-2
1 (GK) Austin Pack, 2 (DF) Younes Boudadi (L. Gdula, 90’); 5 (DF) Tom Brewitt, 7 (FW) Prince Saydee (R. Dally, 70’); 11 (MF) Luka Prpa (A. Lewis, 74’); 10 (MF) Danny Barrera, 12 (FW) Corey Hertzog 14 (DF) Ash Apollon, 23 (DF) Modou Jadama, 28 (MF) Conor McGlynn, 30 (DF) Joel Johnson (M. Curry, 90’)
New York Red Bulls II
71 (GK) Giannis Nikopolidis, 88 (DF) O’vante Mullin, 55 (DF) Lamine Conte, 80 (DF) Juan Castillo, 32 (DF) Chris Cragwell (D. De Leon, 36’); 60 (MF) Curtis Ofori (M. Knapp, 73’); 65 (MF) Steven Sserwadda, 49 (MF) Sam Williams, 36 (MF) Jeremy Rafanello, 30 (DF) Jordan Adebayo-Smith (I. Tyrkus, 66’); 77 (FW) Jonathan Filipe