Hartford Athletic go on the road this weekend for a Sunday clash against the Philadelphia Union II after coming off a 3-1 win to the New York Red Bulls II. The last time both sides met was on July 25 where Philly put two goals early into the game, but Hartford made a clutch comeback by scoring three.
It should first be noted that Philly hasn’t been the strongest team in the group this season, with an overall record of 2-7-2. However, after being winless the past four games, the U will be fresh off a 4-0 win against Loudon United, which led to Loudon’s elimination from the USL Championship playoffs. But is that enough to say they’ll put up a strong fight against Hartford?
When you look at the stats of their game against Loudon, it should’ve been a much more energetic game from the Virginia-based team. Loudon dominated in possession with 63% compared to Loudon’s 37%, so to see that their dominance on the ball couldn’t help produce a goal or two is quite mind boggling. Additionally, out of the four games they were winless in, in half of them, they took a good number of shots but didn’t score.
However, Hartford shouldn’t enter the match thinking it’ll be an easy 90 minutes. On the road, Harford’s goal difference isn’t the greatest (-7). While they haven’t been on the road that much, their away record of 1-2-0 should be another motivator to secure their second away win since the beginning of their season. With Hartford’s newest signings quickly adjusting to the squad and appearing in the starting eleven, Sunday’s match could be an interesting one and to see the away goal difference getting narrower. As for Philly, their home record in the Subaru Park of 2-3-1 isn’t all that great, and their home goal difference is almost similar to that of Hartford’s away (-6).
My mission objective for Hartford? Be aggressive but mindful. Head coach Radhi Jaïdi using five defenders in the back didn’t prove to be too bad during their match against the Red Bulls II, but for a team like Philly I think he should revert to using the 3-5-2 formation. Philly could see some complications while protecting their home pitch in the midfield if they continue using the 4-2-2-2 form at Sunday’s game. However, Jaïdi’s men should constantly remind themselves that Union II just managed to get a clean sheet on Wednesday for the first time this season and they’ll be looking to continue producing similar results. Going in with the mentality that Hartford could get a fairly easy win could just as easily result in a loss.