Another match and another loss for the Hartford Atheltic, as they were once again shut out in a 2-0 loss to Miami FC.
In 2019, Hartford began their season with an eight-game losing streak. Since that start, there has never been a losing streak that has gone further than that until Saturday at 7 p.m. After losing Miami, the program reached a new low: the longest losing streak in program history.
The start of the first half can be described simply as chaotic, with both teams exchanging fouls. Both teams did not take much advantage of the first 25 minutes of the game, as the score stayed level despite many free kicks. However, the fouls soon accumulated for both teams as the Athletics Kyle Edwards received a yellow card along with Miami’s Boluwatife Akinyode just minutes later. While there were many fouls, there were also many opportunities for the home side. In the 23rd minute, a header by Akinyode came close to putting Miami in the lead, but it hit the top of the crossbar. Hartford was ready to retaliate and after a great pass by Connor McGlynn, Kyle Edwards attempted a run to the goal, which got him as far as the penalty box. Unfortunately, he was successfully tackled by the Miami defense, which stopped a potential Athletic score. Hartford defenceman Robin Lapert also hit a header minutes later. Despite the header being on target, the Miami goalkeeper saved it. At the end of the half, Miami’s Joaquín Rivas attempted a shot after a pass by Michael Salazar, but the Athletic goalkeeper once again was there for the save.
There was hope for Hartford going into the second half. For the first time in a few games, they were not down by the end of the first half, and this was an opportunity for the team to regroup. In the game’s opening minutes, the Athletic offense began to pressure their opponents. In the 48th minute, the Miami goalkeeper blocked a right-footed shot from Andre Lewis, assisted by Danny Barrera. As the first half unfolded, it felt like the Athletics were inching closer to a goal, yet all hope was shattered after a great pass by Miami’s Aedan Stanley from outside the box. He completed the pass and Florian Valot gained possession and buried the goal, putting Miami in the lead. In familiar territory, Hartford once again struggled to tie the game and return from their 1-0 deficit. In the 76th minute, it seemed like Hartford would answer for their conceded goal with a free-kick attempt. Prince Saydee stepped up and shot the ball over the Miami wall, but it narrowly missed after hitting the top of the crossbar and ruined a potential comeback. After the free-kick miss, Miami’s counterattack overwhelmed the Hartford defense. From outside the box, Rivas had an open shot, which proved to be too much for the Athletic and resulted in a 2-0 match. The rest of the half was silent, with both teams attempting to take open shots and no team letting up a goal.
The Athletics has now crossed the mark of 70 goals conceded in a single season. While the team has lost in the past, they have at least been able to get on the board and at times come closer to overtaking teams late in the game. Now, they have been shut out for the last three games. With just two home games left in a tragic season, the only question left for the team is if there are any silver linings that they can take with them to the next season. Hartford comes back home with a matchup against Rio Grande Valley FC this Wednesday on ESPN+.