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Slow start dooms Hartford, which drops fourth straight match

Hartford’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele (23) moves the ball upfield on Saturday night’s USL Championship game in Hartford before a sellout crowd. (Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic)

Hartford Athletic coach Brendan Burke was not a happy man after the Athletic dropped their fourth straight game to the Colorado Switchbacks, 2-0, Saturday night before a sellout crowd at Trinity Health Stadium in USL Championship action.

Hartford began the year with consecutive wins and three wins in the first four matches of the season. The Athletic (3-5) have now dropped four straight matches. Colorado Springs, who was 0-5-1 after six matches won their third straight match and improve to 3-5-1.

“Totally unacceptable from us in the first half from an energy standpoint,” Burke said. “We have to work.”

Hartford was listless in the first half and the Switchbacks took a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute. Colorado added another goal on a penalty kick in the second half.

“We have to get back to basics,” Burke said. “It will all change or people will go. It’s unacceptable to lose at home in front of a soldout crowd.”
Coaches met with the players for 30 minutes after the loss. “I just told the guys. Every position on the team is up for grabs,” Burke said.

Colorado Springs took a 1-0 lead as Maalique Foster made an incredible no look forward pass to teammate Yosuke Hanya, who snagged the ball and netted a beautiful goal in the bottom left corner of the net, winging it just past the Hartford goalie Renan Ribeiro.

Hartford came out of the second half gate much stronger in their attacking play, creating a slew of scoring chances in the early stages and coming inches away from tying the game in the 57th minute.

Hartford’s Michee Ngalina found space just outside the box off of a turnover, and lofted his shot over Herrera and off the crossbar. The ball bounced on the goal line and out to Deshane Beckford, who’s header was desperately saved by Duke Lacroix in bicycle kick fashion off the line.

The Athletic stayed in pursuit of a tie goal, following the first chance with another in the 68th minute. Awarded a corner on the right side, Hodge sent a crosser into the head of defender Joe Farrell, who fired a header off the right woodwork.

Despite their increased possession though, that aggressive play would be Hartford’s downfall, as a foul on Hanya in the box by Hartford’s Jordan Scarlett awarded a penalty kick to the Switchbacks. Taken by Ronaldo Damus in the 80th minute, the Switchbacks doubled their score as Damus earned his fourth goal this season, and his second penalty kick in as many games.

Hartford heads back on the road for a matchup with Indy Eleven next Saturday, May 18, and return home on Friday, May 24 to play Monterey Bay.

Colorado Springs 2, Hartford 0
At Hartford
Colorado Springs (3-5-1)     1  1  — 2
Hartford (3-5)                        0  0  — 0
Goals: Colorado – Hanyra (Foster), 24; Dumas (penalty kick), 80; Shots: Colorado 10-9, Shots on target: Colorado, 4-3; Corners: Colorado Springs 9-3; Offsides: Colorado 3-1; Saves: Hartford 2, Colorado Springs 2
Hartford lineup: 40 (GK) Renan Ribeiro, 5 (DF) Triston Hodge, 23 (DF) Thomas Vancaeyezeele, 15 (DF) Joe Farrell (74’ – 33 Mamadou Dieng), 4 (DF) Jordan Scarlett, 94 (MF) Marlon Hairston (85’ 43 Ian Shaul), 19 (MF) Rece Buckmaster (HT – 7 Marcus Epps), 8 (MF) Jay Chapman, 11 (FW) Michee Ngalina, 31 (FW) Deshane Beckford, 9 (FW) Romario Williams
Colorado lineup: 1 (GK) Christian Herrera, 6 (DF) Matthew Real, 14 (DF) Duke Lacroix, 5 (DF) Matt Mahoney, 2 (DF) Koa Santos, 18 (MF) Aiden Rocha, 80 (MF) Speedy Williams (35’ – 13 Stevie Echevarria), 10 (MF) Zach Zandi (78’ – 17 Jairo Henrique), 20 (MF) Yosuke Hanya (85’ 8 Jonas Fjeldberg), 99 (FW) Maalique Foster (66’ – 27 Juan Tejada), 9 (FW) Ronaldo Damus

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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