The home side prevailed, 2-1, after a second half BHM red card and a questionable penalty kick call in the final minutes of the match
LOUISVILLE, KY (July 2, 2022) – Birmingham Legion FC lost on the road on Saturday night, against arguably the best team in the league, Eastern Conference leaders Louisville City FC. No shame in that. The way the victors prevailed however, via a late penalty kick that left even the announcers unsure about the call, will leave a sour taste in the mouth of the visitors and their fans.
The home side controlled most of the first half, effectively limiting the Legion FC attack, and they opened the scoring in the 31st minute via the head of center back Josh Wynder from a LOU freekick.
Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn made a couple of halftime substitutions in midfielders Anderson Asiedu and Bruno Lapa, moving Mikey Lopez to left back and Enzo Martinez out wide left, and the BHM attack revved up to open the second 45’.
Birmingham saw almost immediate results after the changes, as now winger Martinez rifled in a long-range effort from a tight angle to tie things up in the 52nd minute. Right winger Marlon Santos danced around and through a couple LouCity defenders along the end line and put a cross in that made it all the way through the opposite side of the box to Martinez. He picked his head up, and picked out the top corner, ripping his shot in at the far post.
“I think the message was really clear [at halftime],” said Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn, “that we’re fortunate to be only 1-0 down, and we haven’t even tried to play yet. If we start playing, it will flip the game on its head, and then it did! We got one early in the second half and then all of a sudden, the game switched.”
While the visitors were pressing for a second goal, the task at hand became that much harder as Lopez was shown a second yellow card and sent off in the 65th minute after a late tackle. While Lopez seemed to have caught the opposing player, the second yellow card was deemed “a little harsh” by color commentator Devon Kerr.
Legion FC continued fighting after going down a man, as Marlon Santos got into the box and got a dangerous shot off in the 78th. Things went from tough to brutal just a minute later, as a long ball over the top saw Louisville forward Brian Ownby dart into the box and cut the ball past Legion FC goalkeeper Matt VanOekel. Despite VanOekel getting a touch on the ball, Ownby went down and was given the penalty.
“He [Matt VanOekel] 100% got the ball, that’s why the call was so disappointing,” said Soehn. “It felt like that was such an influencer of the game, and it shouldn’t have been. Matt actually did a really good job to come out and get the ball.”
Center back Sean Totsch scored the ensuing penalty kick, putting the ball into the right-hand corner. Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn was also then red carded for dissent. He and Lopez will miss Birmingham’s next match at Atlanta United 2 on Wednesday.
“There are different aspects to the game,” said Soehn. “The first half wasn’t our best soccer. We played to their strengths, but then we made some adjustments and came back for the second half and put them under the gun a little bit. There are different elements to every game, and obviously there is some disappointment to this one, but we’re used to going through waves, coming back, and turning it around in the next one. That’s what we do. Sometimes having a game in a short amount of time lets to get over that disappointment real fast.”
|1st Half||2nd Half|
LOU – 31’ – #66 Josh Wynder (assisted by #11 Niall McCabe)
BHM – 52’ – #19 Enzo Martinez
LOU – 83’ – #4 Sean Totsch (P)
LOU – 4-3-3 – #18 Danny Faundez; #6 Wes Charpie, #66 Josh Wynder, #4 Sean Totsch, #3 Amadou Dia; #12 Tyler Gibson, #11 Niall McCabe ©, #9 Jorge Gonzalez; #77 Enoch Mushagalusa, #14 Wilson Harris, #10 Brian Ownby
BHM – 4-3-3 – #1 Matt VanOekel; #24 Jonny Dean, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #13 Jake Rufe (46’ – #6 Anderson Asiedu); #20 Zach Herivaux, #5 Mikey Lopez (65’ – Second Yellow Card), #19 Enzo Martinez; #7 Ryan James (46’ – #8 Bruno Lapa), #99 Juan Agudelo (75’ – #9 Edi Horvat), #11 Marlon Santos (87’ – #17 Matthew Corcoran)
The Three Sparks continue the summer road tour after this game, and the next stop is Atlanta on Wednesday, July 6, for a 6:30pm CT kickoff versus United 2. Tune in to watch the match on My68 or ESPN+, and follow along @bhmlegion on twitter for live match updates.
Legion FC will return home to Protective Stadium on Saturday, July 23 to kick off a big fall of soccer in Birmingham with a contest versus Eastern Conference foe FC Tulsa at 6:30pm, and fans can grab your tickets today!
For team updates, news and more, follow @bhmlegion on social media, sign up for Legion FC’s Newsletter, or visit bhmlegion.com. The Legion FC app is also available for download via Apple or Android. For gameday reminders, sync the Legion FC 2022 schedule to your calendar HERE.