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Know your opponent: Hartford Athletic

Following the club’s return to Goodman Stadium where it fell 2-1 to Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Rowdies, Bethlehem Steel FC hits the road for the first time in over a month to take on Hartford Athletic at Rentschler Field on Friday, June 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET. The match is set to be broadcast on ESPN+.

Strength

Home-Field Boost – Despite the club’s early struggles in their inaugural season, they’ve been able to pick up points of late at home. With one of their two wins and three out of four draws being picked up while playing at home, there’s no doubt that Hartford is strongest in their own house right now. 

Weakness

Defense – The Athletic’s defense is their weakest link so far, having given up 34 goals through 16 matches. The Steel have similarly given up 33, but Hartford’s attack is having a rough go of it trying to keep the expansion side in matches. Steel FC has netted eight goals more than the Athletic and should look to take advantage of a disorganized back line.

Players to watch

José Angulo, ST – The finisher. José Angulo is currently tied with Harry Swartz as the hosts’ leading goal scorer with three on the year, but what makes him a player to watch is that he’s also tied as the club’s leading assist man, providing two so far in 2019. He’s not afraid to put the ball on frame if you give him half a yard of space, but he’s also aware that any goal helps his side and is always looking for options to keep the attack going.

Mads Jorgensen, M – The creator. Jorgensen is a young midfielder from Denmark that could cause problems for the Steel defense. He’s extremely creative in the attack and fans should look for him to touch the ball at least once in most of Hartford’s attacking moments. He’s created 19 chances for the Connecticut side and is always looking to put the ball in dangerous areas.

Sem de Wit, D – The starting point. The Despite the club’s struggles defensively this season, defender Sem de Wit is still a key piece to the Hartford Athletic puzzle. He’s their man that sees the ball more than anyone else and he’s who they look to when trying to build out of the back. With 819 passes made in 2019, 185 better than anyone else on the Athletic roster, you can expect the ball to be at his feet a lot.

Injuries/Suspensions
None

Head Coach
Jimmy Nielsen – Nielsen is the first Head Coach in the history of Hartford Athletic, following a four-year career as the Head Coach of OKC Energy FC from 2013-2017. In his playing career, which ended in 2007, he played 398 games for Danish team AaB Fodbold. Having played every league match for AaB since 1997, Nielsen won the 1999 Danish Superliga championship with AaB. He was also named the Danish Goalkeeper of the Year in 1998 and 2004.

The Boys in Blue are on the go as they travel to take on Hartford Athletic at Rentschler Field on Friday, June 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch all the action on ESPN+.

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