Rhode Island FC and Hartford Athletic Battle to 1-1 Draw in First Derby Match

 Rhode Island FC and Hartford Athletic Battle to 1-1 Draw in First Derby Match
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Mark Doyle secures first USL Championship goal in historic match

HARTFORD, Conn. (June 1, 2024) – Rhode Island FC took on Hartford Athletic on Saturday in the clubs’ inaugural derby match, battling to a 1-1 draw at Trinity Health Stadium. A strong RIFC start coming from a goal by Mark Doyle put the visitors up early, but it wasn’t enough to take all three points as Hartford would go on to tie the match at 1-1, forcing the clubs to split the points.
The Ocean State club came out on top early, striking first with the opening goal in the fourth minute of play. As RIFC marched towards the Hartford attacking third, Albert Dikwa “Chico” found midfielder JJ Williams on the wing. Williams took advantage of the pass and launched a cross down to Doyle in front of goal. From the center of the box, Doyle was able to get his right foot on the ball and poke it to the bottom right corner for the early lead.
RIFC’s early lead would not last long, as Hartford Athletic would take advantage of one of its seven corner kicks in the first half in the 24th minute of play. Defender Triston Hodge turned his corner kick into a floating cross to Hartford captain Joseph Farrell inside the six-yard box. A close-ranged header by Farrell found its way past a diving Koke Vegas to secure the goal and tie the match.
Both teams continued to exchange chances as the match went on. In the 68th minute of play, second-half Hartford substitute Romario Williams attempted to make a key play to give his squad the lead with a pass to Michee Ngalina near the penalty box. However, Ngalina could barely get a shot off as Vegas was quick to come off his line and knock the ball away with. The save kept the match tied 1-1, where the score would stand for the remainder of the match.
Up next, RIFC returns to Beirne Stadium on Saturday, June 8 to welcome Eastern Conference foe Detroit City FC at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the next home match are available now at rhodeislandfc.com/tickets.
RI – Mark Doyle (JJ WIlliams), 4th minute: Doyle pokes in a Williams cross pass from the center of the box for the goal. HFD 0, RI 1
HFD – Joseph Farrell (Triston Hodge), 24th minute: Farrell heads in a Hodge corner kick past an outstretched Koke Vegas. HFD 1, RI 1
  • Mark Doyle scored his first goal of the season.
  • JJ Williams recorded his first assist of the season.
  • Doyle’s goal marks the sixth occasion in which RIFC scored the opening goal in a match.
  • Conor McGlynn came on as a substitute in the second half for RIFC to go up against his former club for the first time. McGlynn spent the first four years of his professional career in Hartford before signing for RIFC in November.
  • Prince Saydee came on as a substitute for Doyle in the 88th minute of play to face his former club for the first occasion. Saydee spent the last two seasons in Hartford before signing for RIFC in December, and was the club’s top scorer with 10 goals in 2023.

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