Don’t look now, but Miami FC is the hottest team in the entire USL Championship. After defeating the Tampa Bay Rowdies in front of a home crowd for the first time since joining the Championship, Miami heads north for another important divisional match against Hartford Athletic.
Riding a three-game win streak and going unbeaten in their past five matches, Miami is right back in the race for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. One of those teams jockeying for position in that tight race is Hartford, which has transformed from a preseason dark horse into a serious contender.
The two clubs will square off on Saturday night at Dillon Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. E.T.
Know Your Enemy: Hartford Athletic
In their lone meeting so far this season, Hartford Athletic (6-3-2, 20 pts) defeated Miami FC in a 1-0 victory on May 8 at Riccardo Silva Stadium. Cameroonian forward Tabort Etaka Preston scored the lone goal in the match, and he has four goals and three assists.
Forward Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. and midfielder Danny Barrera have each scored four goals this season, giving opposing defenses trouble containing Hartford’s multiple scoring threats. Barrera also has five assists, helping set up opportunities as much as he finishes them.
The trio of Preston, Obregón Jr. and Barrera has helped Hartford become one of the most efficient attacking teams in the league, evidenced by having the highest conversion rate in the Championship (25%) so far this season.
And while Hartford sits in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, they’ve also played three fewer matches than Miami FC has so far this season.
Keys To A Miami Victory
Even without help from some key internationals off playing in the Gold Cup, Miami’s offense has come alive in July and the team is starting to live up to its potential and lofty preseason expectations.
Miami’s balanced attack has helped spread defenses thin and create opportunities for the club’s many attackers to find the back of the net. And no single goal has exemplified that approach more than last week’s second goal against Tampa Bay. All 11 players touched the ball on the same possession, leading up to a beautiful goal by Othello Bah:
✅- 31 passes
✅- 1:18 of possession
✅- Everyone gets a touch
— The Miami FC (@TheMiamiFC) July 21, 2021
More of that, please!
Forward and team captain Ariel Martinez now leads the clubs with three goals after tallying goals in back-to-back games. Can he make it three in a row on Saturday?
Meanwhile, Pierre Da Silva has done a marvelous job setting up his teammates with scoring opportunities. He leads the club with four assists and 16 chances created.
Miami FC has serious momentum heading into this road test against Hartford, who looked much more vulnerable after their 3-1 loss on the road to Charleston last weekend. The club has played extremely well under assistant coach Andy Thomson, who has taken the helm while head coach Paul Dalglish recovers from COVID.
Still, heading into Dillon Stadium and walking away with three points is a tough task for any USL club–and that includes Miami.
Miami FC 2 – Hartford Athletic 2
WHO: Miami FC (7-5-2, 23 pts) vs. Hartford Athletic (6-3-2, 24 pts)
WHEN: Saturday, July 24 // 7:00 pm EST
WHERE: Dillon Stadium (Hartford, CT)
- Miami FC – None
- Hartford Athletic – None