Michee makes his mark as Hartford Athletic triumphs over Pittsburgh

Photo courtesy of Hartford Athletic

A first-half brace from Michee Ngalina was enough for Hartford Athletic to secure only their second win over Pittsburgh Riverhounds in club history. The other came in 2020 when an Ever Guzman goal gave the Latics an important three points on their way to the only play-off appearance in club history.

Tonight, a side struggling to get out of the gate made a quick impression in the first half as Ngalina put the hosts ahead in the sixth minute. Triston Hodge played a dangerous long ball that Ngalina was able to control and, after fending off a Pittsburgh defender, the striker finished well for the first goal Hartford has scored this season.

The Latics had an excellent opportunity to double the lead just six minutes later when the ball was turned over in midfield and Jay Chapman played an excellent ball to put Ngalina through for a second time. His shot was saved by Pittsburgh keeper Jacob Randolph, and although the ball ended up in the path of Deshane Beckford, his shot whistled just past the post.

Ngalina made up for the miss in the 16th minute with a close-range finish to double the lead. Chapman was again the architect, releasing Beckford on the left, and his cross was inch-perfect, evading Randolph and finding the feet of Ngalina, who bundled the ball into the back of the net to put the Latics well on top. .

Pittsburgh could not complain about being without chances in the first half as Edward Kizza had put a shot just past the post from a promising position in the fifth minute, Kazaiah Sterling hit the post in the 33rd minute after a bad turnover. created a transition opportunity for the Hounds. Despite the chances, no more goals were scored and the Latics maintained a two-goal lead at half-time.

The first good chance of the second half also belonged to Hartford, as Ngalina again controlled a long ball, this time into the path of an onrushing Beckford, with Randolph saving the resulting shot well.

The Hounds hit the post again in the 62nd minute, and Sterling had a shot well saved by Renan Ribeiro in the 79th minute as the visitors looked for a way back into the match. Ribeiro also made two good saves from free-kicks late in the match to maintain his first clean sheet of the season and secure all three points for the Latics.

Hartford will welcome the early goals, the clean sheet and the three points, as the result puts them at least temporarily above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. A Friday night visit from the Tampa Bay Rowdies – who just knocked off conference leaders Louisville City – will be a tougher test, but the Latics will take the positives from this match and build on them in the future.

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