Hartford and Rhode Island battle to a 1-1 tie in the first meeting

Hartford’s Jordan Scarlett jumps for the ball during Saturday night’s USL Championship game against Rhode Island. The Athletic drew 1-1 against Rhode Island. (Photo courtesy of Hartford Athletic)

Expansion Rhode Island Football Club leads the USL Championship in ties.

They secured another on Saturday night at Trinity Health Stadium as they battled the Hartford Athletic to a 1-1 draw in USL Championship action. It was the first tie of the season for Hartford and the eighth of the season for Rhode Island. It was the first meeting between the two New England rivals.

Rhode Island started scoring early and put the first goal of the game on the board after just four minutes. Rhode Island’s Mark Doyle fired a volley into the bottom right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead, capitalizing on a weighted pass across the box from Jerome Williams.

Hartford (4-6-1) fought from behind and battled for possession throughout the first half, with Michee Ngalina and Marcus Epps making multiple advances toward the goal, each contributing two shots for the Athletic.

In the 24th minute of the match, Hartford tied the match with a Joe Farrell goal off a corner kick, making the score 1–1. Farrell got a piece of a perfectly placed ball sent into the box by Triston Hodge.

An onslaught of Hartford scoring opportunities followed Farrell’s goal.

In the 40th minute of the match, the Green and Blue came close to taking the lead over Rhode Island when Michee Nglaina fired a fantastic header into the bottom left corner of the visiting team’s goal. Nglainas’ header forced a diving save from Rhode Island goalkeeper Koke Vegas.

Hartford dominated in distribution across the board, maintaining 53% possession during the first half compared to Rhode Island’s 47%.

We need to stop giving up on the former. It has been a common theme in recent weeks and it is not a recipe for success,” Hartford coach Brendan Burke said. “It’s great that we have enough in us to fight back in those moments, but that’s a game we should have won in the first half but we hit the post. I mean it’s just the way our season is happening, but we have to fight through it.” “It’s really positive signs that we’re creating four or five really high quality chances.”

Both Hartford and Rhode Island (1-3-8) came out hot in the second half. The visiting club made their first attempt to score just minutes into the half when Jerome Williams drove in a powerful shot from outside the penalty area, forcing the third save of the match from Hartford goalkeeper Renan Ribeiro.

Hartford’s first shot of the second half came in the 85th minute of play after Marcus Epps intercepted a blockout attempt by Rhode Island defenseman Karifa Yao. The forward regained possession for the Green and Blue and Hartford’s Marcus Epps took the ball upfield before playing a dangerous ball into the Rhode Island penalty area.

Michee Ngalina received Epps’ pass and fired a shot that flew just over Rhode Island’s top post. The two rival clubs traded scoring chances as the match entered the late stages, but neither could break the tie.

Epps had an active night offensively for Hartford, leading the team in shots on goal (4) and passes (39). Renan Ribeiro made four saves in goal and Hartford created a total of nine chances on the night.

Hartford is back in action next Saturday when they travel to the Western Conference’s top team, New Mexico United, on Saturday, June 8, with kickoff at 9 p.m.

Hartford 1, Rhode Island 1
Near Hartford

Rhode Island (1-3-8) 1 0 — 1
Hartford (4-6-1) 1 0 — 1
Goals: Rhode Island: 4′ – Mark Doyle (14); Hartford: 24′ – Joe Farrell (15); Recordings: Rhode Island, 14-11; Shots on target: Rhode Island, 5-2; Corners: Hartford, 7-5; Saves: Hartford, 4-1

40 (GK) Renan Ribeiro, 4 (DF) Jordan Scarlett, 15 (DF) Joe Farrell, 5 (DF) Triston Hodge, 19 (DF) Rece Buckmaster, 6 (DF) Beverly Makangila, 8 (MF) Jay Chapman, 12 (MF) Asiedu Anderson, 7 (MF) Marcus Epps (Mamadou Dieng, 85′), 31 (F) Deshane Beckford (Romario Willaims, 67′), 11 (F) Michee Ngalina
1 (GK) Koke Vegas, 4 (DF) Collin Smith (Conor McGlynn, 45′), 15 (DF) Frank Nodarse, 24 (DF) Karifa Yao, 3 (DF) Stephen Turnbull, 23 (MF) Marc Ybarra, 12 (MF) Clay Holstad, 8 (MF) Jack Panayotou (Noah Fuson, 72′), 9 (F) JJ Williams, 10 (F) Albert Dikwa (Joe Brito, 81′), 14 (F) Mark Doyle (Prince Saydee) , 88′)

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