With Connecticut moving to Phase 3 of its reopening plan this week, Hartford Athletic will increase the capacity of Dillon Stadium to 40 percent for Saturday’s first round United Soccer League playoff game against Saint Louis FC, allowing a maximum of 2,200 fans to be admitted into the 5,500-seat stadium.

“This match will be the biggest game in Hartford professional sports since 1986, and we are so proud to host it at Dillon Stadium,” said Hartford Athletic chairman Bruce Mandell. “Thank you to the state and city for their leadership throughout this season, making it possible to welcome fans safely and enjoyably.”

Hartford Athletic, which clinched a home playoff game with a win over New York Red Bull II on Sunday, previously allowed a 25 percent capacity throughout the summer at Dillon Stadium. The 85-year-old stadium was renovated in 2019, increasing its total capacity to 5,500.

The team’s decision to increase capacity to 40 percent was approved by the city and the state, and aligns with the state’s Phase 3 reopening plan. As of Thursday, outdoor events can increase in capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent.

Fans are required to wear masks at all times while in the stadium, and will enter and exit through designated points. Tailgating is prohibited in the parking lots.

Hartford was one of eight teams across the United Soccer League to allow fans into games this season. Hartford finished the regular season with a record of 11-3-2, first place in the USL’s Group F. Athletic trailed Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC by two points for first heading into Sunday’s regular season finale against New York, and picked up three points with a 2-0 win to leapfrog Pittsburgh for first.

This is the first postseason appearance for Hartford in its young history. The team finished second-to-last in the eastern conference in its inaugural season last year. The USL postseason is a 16-team, single-elimination tournament. With a win Saturday, Hartford would advance to play the winner of the Louisville City FC vs. Pittsburgh matchup.

Tickets are available at hartfordathletic.com Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Shawn McFarland can be reached at [email protected].


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