HCFC news & events
Hartford, CT. – June provided a particular challenge for Hartford Colts, with four straight away fixtures and back-to-back matches on the 16th and 17th. On Saturday the team traveled to New York Athletic Club and Sunday to Greater Lowell NPSL.
On Saturday, the Colts opened up the match with a first half goal by Luke Alvaro (Somers, CT) with a tidy finish, from a Mark Grant (Coventry, CT) through ball. NYAC proved to be especially dangerous on set pieces, throughout the match, ultimately equalizing in the second half.
Finishing chances came one after the other for Hartford, throughout the game, but the Colts couldn’t produce. It wasn’t until a 50 yard through ball across the field by Paulinton Johnson (Hartford, CT) found a striding Mark Grant who slipped one by the NYAC goal keeper to put the Colts ahead 2-1. Heartbreak ensued as the Colts gave up the equalizer no less than two minutes later in the 88th minute from a rebound which Hami Kara (Wethersfield, CT) produced a full extension save initially on.
The next day, Hartford traveled up to Lowell for the second fixture on the weekend a bit weary from Saturday. Opening goal Deja Vu occurred, as the chemistry between Luke Alvaro and Mark Grant continued producing another goal. Alvaro would find the net again in the 2nd half, followed by game sealing finish by Andrew Geres (Portland, CT).
“Sometimes you just have to push through scheduling challenges,” said Head Coach Christian Benjamin “This weekend we took four out of six possible points on the road and I think any team would be happy with those results.” Indeed the Colts were happy as both NYAC and Greater Lowell respectively sat in 3rd and 4th in the table right behind the Colts. Securing those four points could mean the difference between securing a playoff bid and missing out.
The Colts return to action Saturday the 23rd at home versus the Rhode Island Reds.
June 22 at 4:39 pm
Malden, MA. – Last year’s playoff rematch between your Hartford City Colts and Boston City Lions was featured as the NPSL National Game of the Week. Full NPSL media coverage, can be read here.
Hartford was handed it first loss of the season, while Boston found its first win. Going into the fixture Boston had it’s season on the ropes with only 1 point and Hartford look poised to stay level with the NY Cosmos.
Energy and intensity was high from kickoff, Boston came flying out. Hartford looked overwhelmed in the first few minutes as Boston sent forward seven to eight players in each attacking sequence. After the midfield and forwards adjusted defensively, the Colts became poised. A strike by Sebastian Stezeswki (New Britain, CT) ricocheted off the cross bar in the 10th minute, was just one of the numerous scoring chances that alluded the Colts all evening.
An early set piece at the beginning of the second half, afforded a Boston service in the box, which Hartford was unable to handle. A clearance went astray to Boston’s Jimenez, for him to finish one past goalkeeper Carson D’Ambrosio (Andover, CT). Finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, the Colts were down for the first time all season. They continued to push for the equalizer, creating chances that either were saved, sought out by the Lion’s defense or just went wide.
The second Boston goal of the half, came at the hands of Addai in the 80th minute, which cemented the victory for the Lions. Hartford for the first time all season couldn’t find the back of the net. Not even second half substitution and last year’s playoff hero, Paulinton Johnson (Hartford, CT) could bring the Colts back level.
Hartford City returns to NPSL action next weekend with two road fixtures against New York Athletic Club on Saturday and Greater Lowell on Sunday. As always, you can follow the game via twitter or logon onto our Facebook page for the livestream of the match.
June 22 at 4:19 pm
Portland, ME. – Each week provides a new challenge within the NPSL, this week your Colts traveled to their farthest away fixture of 2018. Maine’s perennial soccer powerhouse, Seacoast United Mariners was the match up, a side that can never be overlooked.
Hartford’s lineup featured some fresh faces in the starting group, Lamar Chancey (Meriden, CT), Rashawn Dally (Bloomfield, CT) and Quentin Lux (Plainville, CT) made their first career starts for the boys in Navy and Gold.
From the beginning of the match, Hartford City looked to be in control, holding majority of possession while creating multiple chances. Seacoast deployed a very compact defensive structure, with a line of pressure starting at midfield and looking to counter Hartford whenever they could. Breaking down the Mariners didn’t come easy throughout the half, as space in the final third was typically filled with ten players. Patience eventually paid off as Ryan Taylor (South Windsor, CT), was able to gain some separation from his defender and finish an opportunity from the left side.
In the second half, the Mariners maintained their defensive structure, attempting to prevent a second goal. Patience paid off yet again for Hartford as second half substitute, Riley Strassner (Avon, CT) was able to pull off a beautiful shot that found its way into the side netting, giving Hartford a 2-0 lead inside the final fifteen minutes of play. Hartford would maintain their two goal lead to seal the match.
The result takes Hartford City FC to 4-0-0 on the season and sees them maintain their second place position in the table. The Colts remain just 3 points behind the league leading New York Cosmos, with a game in hand. Next week the Colts will again be on the road, facing Boston City FC in a rematch of last year’s instant classic, first round playoff game. Fans interested in traveling can make the trip to Brother Gilbert Stadium in Malden, MA or watch the live stream broadcast.
June 6 at 3:17 am
Hartford, CT. – Looking back at the month of May, any club would be happy with the results the Colts have produced. Two home and one away match has yielded the full 9 points against three very strong sides. The identity of the team is beginning to form and a style of play is emerging. We can expect to see a few things from this squad.
1. The bench is deep.
2. A high tempo offense.
3. Breakdowns in the back will not come easily.
Coach Benjamin has utilized almost every substitution available in each match. The production of 8 goals has come from 5 players. Clearly this team is deep in multiple positions, creating a challenge that most coaching staffs do not have the luxury of. It will be interesting to see how the squad changes from match to match based on player production.
If you’ve been watching the Colts play this year, its evident that the attacking possessions can be developed in multiple ways. From wing backs to the front line, the Colts bring numbers forward. The front three are athletic and dangerous running at opposition. While the goal production hasn’t directly come from the front three, they’re creating the chances for the rest of team to finish and are poised to break out.
Conversely the defense is again a source of strength for Hartford. Two of the three goals given up have come from penalties, something you don’t like to see. The positive news is that the back line is not getting broken down in the run of play. Finding spaces in between the center backs or the flanks is a challenge for opponents. Hartford is physical and imposing, expect the trend to continue.
Momentum is building heading into June, however the Colts will be tested with a three game NPSL road trip, facing Seacoast United, Boston City and New York Athletic Club. Anything could happen in this league, so if Hartford can produce the same level of play from May, the club should be in a comfortable position within the table.
To follow the Colts on the road, please check our Twitter, Facebook and website schedule page for live updates and streaming from the matches. “Let’s Go You Colts!”
May 29 at 7:35 pm
New Britain, CT. – Last year’s rematch of the Atlantic White Conference Championship between your Hartford City Colts and the Kingston Stockade did not disappoint this weekend.
Mark Grant opened the game up with a run through the final third, combining with Luke Alvaro and slotting home a shot in the 7th minute. Both teams continued the half attempting to break each other down with no avail. Midway through the half Kingston saw their best opportunity, a corner which dropped inside the six yard box, headed towards goal only to be saved by Hami Kara. The ensuing rebound shots were cleared away by the Hartford City defense.
Eventually, Kingston was able to capitalize in the first half when a shot was deflected to forward Mateusz Koziol within the box, who was able to finish the chance. With a halftime score of 1-1, nobody could anticipate the flurry of drama which would ensue in the next half.
In the 64th minute Connor Archambault was taken down in the box and Hartford was awarded a penalty. Andre Morrison stepped to the spot and converted the chance to increase Hartford’s lead 2-1. As the half continued, Hartford began to open up the game. Super substitute Sebastian Stezewski, building upon his last weeks performance, tallied another goal in the 74th minute after making a beautiful run that started from the center of midfield. With a 3-1 scoreline in favor of the Colts, a series of challenges and altercations saw multiple players on both teams receive yellow cards. In the 89th minute, a challenge by Hartford City resulted in a penalty for the Stockade, which was converted by Juan Parada. It was little too late, as the Colts saw out the remaining stoppage time to collect the win and improve to 3-0-0.
The Colts take to the road for the next two NPSL matches before returning to Connecticut for June 10th, when they take on the Providence City FC Rogues.
Photo Credit: Instagram @sirserb
May 27 at 5:33 pm
Hartford, CT. – The capital city of Rhode Island is sending their finest, Providence City FC, to Hartford on Sunday June 10th. Known as the “Rogues”, Providence City FC currently plays in the Bay State League and Football Alliance 1. They have quickly established themselves as a competitive side for any opponent and present a unique challenge to the Colts.
“We’ve heard buzz around New England soccer about this group” commented Hartford’s Director of Football Nick Balistierri. “Our fans want to see more of our team during the season, especially against quality sides.” Balistierri recognizes that “Both clubs connect philosophically, with focusing their efforts through community building and bringing the football culture to the capital cities of their respective states.”
This match will be the first time the Rogues and Colts meet. For the Colts, its the only Sunday Home Fixture and only match at Clem Lemire Field. “We hope this partnership extends into the future and off the pitch, we support Providence City FC.”
For more details on the Rogues, check out their website. Match kickoff is 6PM, be there early to share in some pregame activities with our favorite friends the Agents of Hale.
May 24 at 7:49 pm
Brooklyn, NY. – The Hartford Colts took to the road this past weekend to play against a formidable Brooklyn Italians side. Both clubs secured playoff berths in the prior season with ambitions this year to replicate the same success.
For the first fifteen minutes of the match, the Colts looked a bit heavy-legged, but eventually settled in. The squad featuring a group similar to the prior week, with a lone change of James Thompkins (CCSU) in the back four. As the half progressed, the Colts began getting the better run of play as both teams created counter after counter attack chances. Eventually the deadlock was broken by a Xahne Reid (U. Hartford) header off a service.
During the second half, Hartford City was able to impose themselves even more on the home side. With substitutions of Rashawn Dally (Quinnipiac), Riley Strassner (Georgetown) and Sebastian Stezewski (SNHU), the three were able to raise the level of play. Two goals finished by Stezewski (Pictured Above) in the last 15 minutes were orchestrated by delightful midfield passing sequences.
After the third goal, it was a foregone conclusion that Hartford City would be leaving Brooklyn with three points and momentum towards their next match. The Colts will play next week, Saturday May 26th 7PM at Home against the Kingston Stockade.
Photo Credit: Instagram @sirserb
May 23 at 4:15 pm
Hartford, CT. – Hartford City FC is pleased to announce our Title Sponsor for the 2018 season, Armstrong Rockwell Watches & Fine Jewelry. We share our passion for the world’s greatest sport with a business that has equal passion for the world’s most luxurious and exclusive timepieces and fine jewelry.
The club recently presented Armstrong Rockwell with the 2018 primary kit. Owner Al Armstrong (picture) expressed “Our experience last year with Hartford City FC was amazing for my business and family. We had to be a part of it again.” Armstrong explained that “The level of engagement the club demonstrated towards youth community soccer, local business and community pride are the same values he shares and cares deeply for.” When asked about expectations for the upcoming season, on a personal level, Al is looking forward to “Meeting new friends and cheering alongside fans of HCFC.” He hopes the fans who have grown to learn about the gem of a local professional soccer team, will grow to learn more about his brand and products.
Armstrong Rockwell is located on 150 Trumbull Street, Hartford, CT, servicing its customers globally for over 40 years in downtown Hartford. For more information check out their website and mention the Hartford Colts when you stop in.
Photo Credit: Instagram @sirserb
May 18 at 4:22 am
New Britain, CT. – The 2018 Season Opener for the Hartford Colts saw a match up of the NPSL Connecticut Derby and a visit from the defending National Champions, Elm City Express of New Haven. For both clubs, starting the season successfully was essential, due to the new conference format only allowing for single match fixtures.
Play opened up in the first half, after each team gained a better feel for their opponent and adjusted to the mild weather. Build ups from each side saw opportunities, with nothing materializing from either attack. As the half progressed, play settled, producing what looked like a nil nil halftime score, until Andre Morrison collected a ball inside the Elm City box, then turning inside to pull a bending shot to the far post, netting a goal at the 45th minute for a 1-0 Hartford City lead.
The second half required both teams to make some tactical changes and substitutions to impact play. As time progressed deeper into the half, pressure mounted on the Express to equalize, which created more counter attacking chances for Hartford. Elm City created a handful of chances in the final fifteen minutes of play, from a series of corners and ensuing crosses. A firm defensive stand, compounded by multiple Hami Kara saves, saw off any attack.
In efforts to gain field territory, Elm City played a long ball into the Hartford City half, only to have it diverted back into their end, where it was controlled by Hartford’s Rashawn Dally. As the forward drove towards goal, he was taken down in the box and a penalty was awarded at the 85th minute. Dally converted the spot kick to make it 2-0 with little time to spare.
As with any Derby, there was a bit of extra time drama as Elm City was awarded a penalty of their own, for a challenge at the top of the Hartford City box. The Express would convert the spot kick in the 95th minute making the scoreline 2-1. Time expired on the ensuing kickoff, leaving the Colts with an impressive victory to start the 2018 season campaign.
Photo Credit: Instagram @sirserb
May 16 at 3:37 am
Hartford, CT. The offseason has been a busy one for the Hartford Colts, with many new faces, there are a lot of question marks regarding how the team will line up this season.
Though there were some departures, there were also some big additions. Local product Rashawn Dally (Bloomfield, CT) has committed to the Colts while in between collegiate seasons at Quinnipiac University. The forward was called up to the Jamaican National camp this past March and will provide a further attacking presence to the existing presence of Luke Alvaro and Ryan Taylor.
One of the biggest additions has been University of Hartford defensive standout, Andre Morrison (Clarendon, Jamaica) whom was drafted 69th overall by Toronto FC in this year’s MLS SuperDraft. Morrison should bolster the defensive line next to Kieran Simms. Also adding to the back line, Andrew Geres (Portland, CT) comes in after a stellar career at UCONN where he looks to make an immediate impact at wing back.
Any good defense starts with the man in between the posts, goalkeeper Hami Kara is that player. Pushing him will be newcomer Carson D’Ambrosio (Andover, CT) who comes in from Central Connecticut State. Both should provide the consistent play expected out of the position, which will provide some reassurance to the back line. It’s no secret that Hartford’s biggest strength was its play in the back, Kieran Simms and Connor Archambault’s presence should set the mentality of the unit and build upon last year’s experience.
Joining the group will be newcomers Brendan Dennis (Tolland, CT) of Columbia University and Calvin Aroh (Glastonbury, CT) of Tufts University, both graduates of the US Soccer Academy Development system, (Oakwood SC, New England Revolution) and have had call-ups to US Youth National Teams. Expect both players to be featured once they settle in. James Thompkins, Quentin Swift and Pedro Gomes will push this group as they challenge a talented defensive unit.
Hartford City has a lot of good players going forward. Their midfield, will showcase some fresh faces, such as Lamar Chancey (Meriden, CT), Mark Grant (Coventry, CT) and Fredrico Ferriera (Rio de Janerio). All will be looking to compete for minutes with returning players Luke Albertini, Felipe Mendes and Sebastian Stezewski.
Colts fans will see a different chemistry and will wonder where these local talents were hiding. The depth of the midfield has improved, which should see for a higher connectivity of passing and possession from the back line to the forwards.
Ryan Taylor, Luke Alvaro and Paulinton Johnson will appear again, after accounting for more than half the goals scored in 2017. Joining them will be Xahne Reid (Clarendon, Jamaica) from the University of Hartford, a talented young dynamic attacker. The Jamaican could be a dangerous attacking player on the wing or could even come inside. Additional options up top could feature either Riley Strassner (Avon, CT) of Georgetown University or Rafa Junquiera (Sao Paulo) of Northwest Nazarene, whom return to the Colts having the opportunity to be deployed as target players.
Clearly, the team has multiple options depending upon which system is played. They’ll certainly have speed, the question remains if this group can create more opportunities going forward and more consistency from game to game.
We know that the squad has returned a solid core group of players and with the right additions, Coach Benjamin has a talented roster. We can probably ascertain that the team will take the knowledge from its inaugural season and dictate a higher tempo, possession offense style, complimented by a higher press defensive strategy. This kind of system when implemented correctly, with the talent available will pose a formidable challenge for any opponent.
The expectations are high, however the conference realignment makes reaching the playoffs a bit more tricky as each team only plays each other once. The top four teams from the table will meet at the end of year to contest for the Atlantic Conference Championship. Still the conference is dangerous with the returning National NPSL Champions Elm City, New York Cosmos, Kingston Stockade, Boston City FC and Brooklyn Italians all vying for the playoffs. Each match is crucial towards finishing top of the table.
If the Colts start the season strong, there will be a confident feeling that the club can go far in 2018.
May 11 at 5:45 pm
Hartford, CT. After the inaugural season, Hartford City FC Head Coach Christian Benjamin will again lead the squad in 2018, signing a new contract, the club announced Monday. It will be Benjamin’s second full season at the helm of the Colts organization.
In his first season last year, Benjamin as head coach guided the Colts to their first postseason berth and first postseason win, while reaching the Atlantic White Conference Finals. Along the way, the Colts created the foundation for a winning culture.
“Christian has proven to be the right man to lead us into the future, since becoming the head coach of the Colts back in 2016,” said Owner Aaron Sarwar. “We set expectations high in 2017, and I expect that Christian will continue to guide this team in the right direction. We’ve been working hard since the first day of the off-season to bring in an even stronger championship-caliber team in 2018. We want to build a team that Connecticut and especially our home in the city of Hartford, will continue to be proud to call their hometown professional soccer team.”
The club is now set to announce several additions to the squad in the coming days and weeks as the 2018 roster is constructed and we start our quest for the 2018 NPSL Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship and NPSL Cup. COME ON YOU COLTS!
May 9 at 6:42 pm
Saturday, May 5th the Colts lined up against the Hartford Ports of the Hartford Portuguese Club of Hartford for a Charity Match. Hosted by the Soccer Club of Newington, all proceeds went directly to the restoration efforts of the Portuguese Club of Hartford which tragically burned down a few months prior.
A skills clinic was held before the match with some future stars of the Newington youth soccer. After the clinic, the teams took the pitch for an eventful match.
By the end of the day the real champions (É campeão!) was the Portuguese Club of Hartford. If you’d like to donate directly in the restoration efforts please go to https://www.gofundme.com/portugueseclubofhartford
May 7 at 2:17 am
Important updates to all our fans we have two schedule updates to announce.
Our Away match versus Brooklyn Italians has moved from Saturday, May 19th to Sunday 5PM, May 20th. We apologize for the date change, but the Home team cannot reserve the field due to university scheduling conflicts.
Our Away match versus Greater Lowell was scheduled originally without the consent of Hartford City FC. We’ve worked hard to avoid a double so close to the July 4th holiday for our fans. It’s been agreed upon to play now Sunday, June 17th.
We don’t anticipate any more changes to our Regular Season NPSL schedule. If there are future changes we’ll be sure to let you know!
May 4 at 8:24 pm
We’d like to thank everybody that came out to our first Soccer Clinic at the XL Center. The HCFC Staff had a blast working alongside all the kids!!
April 11 at 10:10 am