Memphis 901 FC ended their three-game homestand in dominating fashion, as they defeated Hartford Athletic 4-2. The Beale Street Boys entered the contest in 5th in the USL Championship's eastern conference with 42 points, while Hartford Athletic came into the match last in the eastern conference with 16 points.
Both teams started the game aggressively attacking, with a flurry of shots in the early going. Hartford Athletic had a goal wiped off the board in the 3rd minute as offsides were called. A minute later, Hartford had another great opportunity with a 1-on-1 save by Memphis goalkeeper Drew Romig.
In the 15th minute, 901 FC got their first good chance of the game as Romig played a goal kick beautifully, but striker Nighte Pickering’s shot went wide right.
Memphis’s Luiz Fernando earned a penalty kick in the 17th minute, after being tripped cutting inside the box. Midfielder Bruno Lapa scored the penalty giving 901 FC an early 1-0 lead. Hartford responded in the 26th minute as striker Prince Saydee made a tremendous move, faking a shot before switching to his right foot and scoring the equalizer.
The tie did not last long, as Memphis keeper Drew Romig’s pass was intercepted by Saydee in the 33rd minute. Saydee scored his second goal of the contest to give Hartford Athletic a 2-1 lead. 901 FC outshot Hartford 7-6 in the first half, but they also had 8 more fouls in the first 45 minutes.
Hartford came out aggressive in the second half, but they missed a golden opportunity to take a two-goal lead in the 56th minute. New transfer Samuel Alejandro Careaga scored in the 60th minute to tie the match for the Beale Street Boys.
For the rest of the game, Memphis 901 FC dominated possession and got 19 second-half shots off against the Hartford defense.
Luiz Fernando scored from the top of the box in the 73rd minute, and 901 FC took their first lead of the match. Rodrigo Da Costa scored a free kick in the 78th minute to ice the game and give the home team a 4-2 lead.
Despite some questionable backline defense, 901 FC’s offense carried them to a much-needed win.
Samuel Alejandro Careaga for Nighte Pickering (46’)
Jelani Peters for Bruno Lapa (46’)
Dylan Borczak for Rodrigo Da Costa (83’)
Rashawn Dally for Luiz Fernando (83’)
Laurent Kissiedou for Jeremy Kelly (90+1’)
Memphis remains in 5th place in the eastern conference, but they move within one point of Louisville for the 4 seed and home-field advantage in the first round of the USL Championship playoffs. Hartford falls to 4-20-4 and remains in last place in the eastern conference.
Memphis 901 FC will hit the road next week, playing Birmingham on Wednesday and Tampa Bay next Saturday. The Beale Street Boys will return home on September 30th to host the Birmingham Legion in their second-to-last home game of the season. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. CT at AutoZone Park.