Enzo Martinez and Jonny Dean both assisted and scored, and Ryan James added a goal of his own en route to a 3-0 win
CHARLESTON, SC (July 9, 2022) – Following a lengthy weather delay, Birmingham Legion FC ended its three-match week with a three-goal win and clean sheet on the road against the Charleston Battery on Saturday night.
Jonny Dean opened up the scoring in the 22nd minute with his first USL Championship goal of the season. He dummied a pass that found Enzo Martinez, who, with one touch, put Dean in on goal to slide it past the goalkeeper into the bottom right corner.
When the half time whistle blew the Magic City had outshot the Holy City 10 to two — a trend that would continue straight into the second half with Martinez scoring just three minutes after the restart. Prosper Kasim laid off a cross to an open Martinez at the back post who buried the ball into an open net.
Despite their lack of rest, the Three Sparks continued their pressing, counterattacking soccer, and Ryan James scored his first of the season in the 71st minute, just over ten minutes after coming on as a sub. Martinez found Dean, who cleanly slipped it to an onrushing James who used a deft touch to redirect the ball into the bottom left corner.
“Every player wants to score goals and be in front of the net as a soccer player,” said James. “It always brings so much joy. I have been presented an opportunity to play more of an attacking role, and if this is what the team needs from me, I will be there to play my role to the best of my ability. I will never turn down an opportunity to play football, any position, put me on the field, that’s where I have the most fun. As for my goal, I’m thankful to score and help the team bounce back tonight.”
Both Martinez and Dean bagged a goal and an assist against Charleston’s defense, with Martinez scoring in each of his last four matches to give him 50 for his career in the USL Championship. With seven goals in a three-match week, the Magic City FC attack looks drastically different than it did in the beginning of the season.
“That’s what good teams do,” said Head Coach Tommy Soehn. “They’re not relying on just one or two guys, they rely on a lot of guys, and it’s similar to chances we’ve created early in the season, but we’ve not made them count, so it was nice to see us create and finish tonight.”
Matt VanOekel and his backline held the Battery off for the entirety of the match, earning their seventh clean sheet of the season and some well-deserved donuts. That solidity at the back was something Soehn and staff harped on following Wednesday night’s draw at Atlanta.
“I think it was really crucial [to finish a tough week with a win],” said Soehn. “Obviously finishing the road trip in a positive light sets you up for next week and then we’re back on the road again [at Sacramento on Saturday, July 16]. So, it’s always such a positive to come off a stretch where you felt like you could do more and put a solid performance together and close it out. I think there’s a lot of satisfaction in that.”
|1st Half||2nd Half|
BHM – 22’ – #24 Jonny Dean (assisted by #19 Enzo Martinez)
BHM – 48’ – #19 Enzo Martinez (assisted by #10 Prosper Kasim)
BHM – 71’ – #7 Ryan James (assisted by #24 Jonny Dean)
CHS – 4-3-3 – #30 Hugo Fauroux; #13 Matt Sheldon, #20 AJ Paterson, #23 Prestion Kilwien, #5 Leland Archer; #15 Joe Schmidt, #21 Enock Kwakwa, #10 Romario Piggott; #12 Geobel Perez, #24 Mauro Cichero, #9 Augi Williams
BHM – 4-3-3 – #1 Matt VanOekel; #24 Jonny Dean, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #5 Mikey Lopez (77’ – #17 Matthew Corcoran); #20 Zach Herivaux, #6 Anderson Asiedu (77’ – #8 Bruno Lapa), #19 Enzo Martinez; #10 Prosper Kasim (60’ – #7 Ryan James), #99 Juan Agudelo (77’ – #23 Grayson Dupont), #11 Marlon Santos (67’ – #47 Mataeo Bunbury)
The Three Sparks road tour goes from one coast to the other next week as the team heads to Sacramento to battle the Republic on Saturday, July 16, at 10:00pm CT. Tune in to watch the match on My68 or ESPN+ and follow along @bhmlegion on twitter for live match updates.
Legion FC’s next home game at Protective Stadium is ‘Salute to Service’ Night, presented by Vulcan Materials Company, and another edition of Kids Club Night, on Saturday, July 23 versus Eastern Conference foe FC Tulsa at 6:30pm, so grab your tickets today!
The club also recently announced that Half Season Ticket Plans are available now and more info is available HERE.
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.