Goals from Enzo Martinez, Bruno Lapa and Zach Herivaux powered Legion FC to a 3-3 draw
KENNESAW, GA (July 6, 2022) – Birmingham Legion FC came out with a draw at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in one of the most intense, action-packed games of the season.
The first half was all Birmingham, and Enzo Martinez and Marlon Santos were the highlight. The Legion went up 1-0 early in the first half to score the fastest goal this season (8:06). Santos delivered a perfect, on-the-ground ball across the box that found Martinez who cleanly slotted it in.
Trevor Spangenberg made a diving save in the 28th minute, blocking a shot heading towards the bottom right corner — the first shot on target by Atlanta in the first half. He made another crucial save in the 41st minute to keep Birmingham up a goal in the first half.
Birmingham won a penalty to start off the second half in the 48th minute after an Atlanta handball in the box. Bruno Lapa’s penalty shot was brilliantly saved by Atlanta’s goalkeeper, but Lapa pounced on the rebound and put Birmingham up 2-0.
Legion FC’s 2-0 cushion was crushed by Atlanta in the span of two minutes at the 65th and 67th. Atlanta scored via a header from a cross and then just two minutes later an over-the-top ball from a freekick in the United half allowed Atlanta to slip behind the defense and score a second.
The intensity of the match didn’t stop there. Zach Herivaux rescued the Legion in the 74th minute and displayed one of the best solo performances this season. The Haitian international single handedly dribbled the ball 60 yards through multiple defenders to the Atlanta box, gave it to Agudelo, who passed the ball back to Herivaux to hammer into the top right corner.
“It always feels good getting on the scoresheet,” said Herivaux, Legion FC’s Man of the Match in the post-game Twitter poll. “I’ve had a few opportunities the past few games which I didn’t capitalize on, but the staff and my teammates kept encouraging me, so that helped me a lot.”
Assistant Coach Khano Smith served as Head Coach for this game, after Head Coach Tommy Soehn received a one game suspension for a red card in our last match, and according to Smith, “Zach [Herivaux] is playing the best I’ve ever seen him play. He’s calm, he’s assured, and he’s matured into a leader for us.”
Birmingham looked as though they were going to win the game, but in the 93rd minute Atlanta scored on another freekick to bring them up to 3-3 and steal a point. Both sides were lethal on the attack — Birmingham had 2.69 expected goals to Atlanta’s 1.90.
“When you take the lead in the game twice, to be up two goals and then let it slip, obviously, we’re disappointed, because we feel we should be closing games like that out,” said Smith. “So, it sucks to not come away with three points from that game, but that’s the game. That’s how the game goes. We move on and have a quick turnaround against Charleston. We can’t go feeling too sorry for ourselves. We have to put that behind us and get ready for another big one on Saturday.
|1st Half||2nd Half|
BHM – 9’ – #19 Enzo Martinez (assisted by #11 Marlon Santos)
BHM – 49’ – #8 Bruno Lapa (P)
ATL – 65’ – #41 Luke Brennan (assisted by #31 Erik Centeno)
ATL – 67’ – #21 Tristan Trager (assisted by #14 Robbie Mertz)
BHM – 74’ – #20 Zach Herivaux (assisted by #99 Juan Agudelo)
ATL – 92’ – #29 Nicholas Firmino (assisted by #14 Robbie Mertz)
ATL – 3-5-2 – #25 Justin Garces; #39 Noah Cobb, #35 Efrain Morales, #55 Toni Tiente; #12 Robrigues Lopes Raimar, #14 Robbie Mertz, #10 Darwin Matheus, #8 Ajani Fortune, #11 David Mejia; #21 Tristan Trager, #36 Jackson Conway
BHM – 4-3-3 – #18 Trevor Spangenberg; #24 Jonny Dean, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #7 Ryan James (93’ – #23 Grayson Dupont); #20 Zach Herivaux, #6 Anderson Asiedu, #8 Bruno Lapa (68’ – #10 Prosper Kasim); #19 Enzo Martinez, #9 Edi Horvat (61’ – #99 Juan Agudelo), #11 Marlon Santos (46’ – #17 Matthew Corcoran)
The Three Sparks again hit the road after this game, this time stopping in Charleston to take on the Battery on Saturday, July 9, for a 7:00pm CT kickoff. 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 for Salute to Service Night, presented by Vulcan Materials Company, to kick off a big fall of soccer in Birmingham 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.