By: Caleb Hilliard
Memphis and Hartford are struggling in their inaugural seasons and both teams will fight hard for three points tonight.
Memphis produced one of their best performances of the season at Hartford, with a 2-1 win on May 10.
Duane Muckette pulled Memphis ahead and Elliot Collier netted the match-winning goal in a thrilling match.
Tim Mulqueen will likely devise similar tactics for the reverse fixture and with the addition of Brandon Allen, the offense is deeper than it was two months ago.
What to watch for: Hartford Athletic
Hartford are 2-11-4 through 17 matches and 1-2-2 in their last five.
After the loss at home to the 901 FC, Hartford picked up their first win of the season at Loudon United.
The Athletic drew their next two matches against Ottawa Fury FC and North Carolina FC.
They picked up their second win of the year with a hard-fought 2-1 over Saint Louis FC to extend their unbeaten streak to four.
Hartford pushed Nashville SC to the brink but lost 2-3 at home.
In their most recent two matches, Hartford drew 2-2 to the Birmingham Legion FC and lost 0-3 at home to Bethlehem Steele FC.
Hartford are coming off one of their worst performances of the season but the team has greatly improved over two months.
José Angulo and Harry Swartz each have three goals and Angulo has two assists.
They have been the most efficient offensively but, Hugh Alexander Dixon is the team’s craftiest players.
He gave the 901 FC fits with his speed and awareness, in May. He has one goal and two assists through 14 appearances.
Sam de Wit is Hartford’s best defensive player. He is also dangerous on set pieces due to his heading abilities.
What to watch for: Memphis 901 FC
Scoring woes are once again plaguing the 901 FC.
After the 2-2 draw at Swope Park Rangers, Memphis has failed to score in their last three matches.
Management made the decision to add another offensive weapon and now Allen needs to produce.
He surprisingly started in the 0-1 loss last week at Charlotte, a few days after arriving in Memphis.
He now has a full week of practice under his belt and understands what the team needs from him. If Allen plays the way he did in 2016, the Memphis offense could be one of the best in the USL.
Another positive is, Muckette is back in the team-sheet and he scored the last time out against Hartford.
Defensively, Abdi Mohamed was impressive to start out the season but recently has not been playing to his full potential. He is one of the better players on the teams and we need him at his best.
Mohamed was effective in the first match against the Athletic and hopefully he mirrors that performance.
The goalkeeper position is another area where fans need to close attention. Scot Levene has assumed the role as starting keeper and has played well so far. He needs to be at his best tonight as Memphis vitally need all three points.
(photo: Memphis Flyer)