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Late goal costs Hartford in loss to New Mexico

Hartford’s Michee Ngalina moves the ball upfield during Saturday night’s USL Championship game as New Mexico’s Marco Micaletto (10) follows. New Mexico got a late goal to beat Hartford. (Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic)

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, June 8 2024 – New Mexico’s Daniel Bruce scored with five minutes left in regulation to lead New Mexico United to a 1-0 USL Championship victory over the Hartford Athletic on Saturday night.

Bruce deflected the ball past Hartford goalie Renan Ribeiro and into the net. New Mexico’s Marco Micaletto drove the ball low into the box, and Bruce touched just enough of it to float it into the bottom right corner.

New Mexico (8-3-1) remains in first place in the Western Conference while Hartford slips to 4-7-1 on the year.

After little attacking action from either team through the opening 15 minutes of tonight’s match, New Mexico started to put pressure on Hartford. They strung together a series of scoring chances from the 17th minute to the 28th minute, beginning with a shot on target by Mukwelle Akale that Hartford goalie Renan Ribeiro was able to secure.

Harry Swartz and Jon-Talen Maples followed with open header attempts from inside the box just a minute later, but both failed to square their tries and did not challenge Ribeiro. Greg Hurst fired a shot just above the crossbar in the 24th minute, followed by New Mexico’s best chance of the half four minutes later. The ball fell to Christopher Gloster after a collision between Marco Micaletto and Anderson Asiedu in the box, and the defender rang his shot off the left post.

Despite the slew of scoring threats from New Mexico, Hartford’s back line stayed composed and kept New Mexico off the scoreboard after 45 minutes. The Green and Blue had 13 clearances in the first half.

New Mexico generated the first scoring opportunity in the second half with a quality two-on-two transition opportunity in the 51st minute, but Renan Ribeiro continued to stand strong in goal to deny the chance. Greg Hurst received a pass from Daniel Bruce and powerfully struck his shot from the top of the box, forcing a diving save from Hartford’s keeper. The Brazilian shot stopper was well-positioned to make the save, and controlled the ball to erase any rebound chance.

Hartford continued to defend with composure, as the attacking pressure from New Mexico weakened. Joey Akpunonu made a crucial clean tackle inside the box in the 75th minute, sliding and taking the ball right off the feet of Harry Swartz as he charged towards goal.

Content from Hartford Athletic included in this report

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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