Just 63 seconds into the match striker Juan Agudelo found the back of the net, stellar defense the rest of the way secured three points for the Three Sparks
SACRAMENTO, CA (July 16, 2022) – At the tail end of a five-game road trip, Birmingham Legion FC jumped on Sacramento Republic FC early via a 2nd minute Juan Agudelo goal, and then put together a devastatingly impressive defensive performance to earn all three points and hand SAC its first home loss of the season.
The goal was Agudelo’s third of the season for the Black and Goal, on the back of Enzo Martinez’s team leading fourth assist, and was the fastest goal in Legion FC history, clocking at 63 seconds. Marlon Santos got on the ball out wide right, drove at the defense and found Martinez unchecked in the middle of the field. A one touch pass split the two center backs to Agudelo, and his sliding shot hit the back of the net.
“I actually think when you score early like that it almost puts you off your game, because you often go into too much of an offensive shell,” said Head Coach Tommy Soehn. “I mean, obviously getting a goal early is always important, because it forces the other team to come out, which is great if they come out, but you also have to make them pay, and I don’t think we made them [Sacramento Republic FC] pay enough tonight. But, I will say the commitment to defending was phenomenal from our guys, from Matt [VanOekel], to the back four, to everybody. That’s how to win games on the road. We’ve been road warriors here for a little stretch, have played against some really good Western team, and I’m really proud of our effort.”
VanOekel and his defensive unit stood strong all night, buoyed by the early goal. Legion FC’s number one made a huge save to preserve the lead in the 30th minute, getting a big paw down to spot a SAC shot and finished with three big saves. Captain Phanuel Kavita and his center back partner Alex Crognale were immense and always exactly where they needed to be to snuff out any danger, and Jonny Dean continued a strong run of form with four tackles and seven clearances.
“The entire back four has a strong understanding of each other on the field,” said Crognale. “I know what I’m going to get out of each of those guys and that builds a level of trust and confidence that is hard to come by in this game. I’d run through a wall for those guys, and I know they’d do the same for me.”
|1st Half||2nd Half|
BHM – 2’ – #99 Juan Agudelo (assisted by #19 Enzo Martinez)
SAC – 3-4-3 – #31 Danny Vitiello; #5 Dan Casey, #4 Lee Desmond, #24 Conor Donovan; #3 Damia Viader, #96 Luis Fernandes, #20 Matt LaGrassa, #2 Jack Gurr; #8 Rodrigo Lopez, #7 Keko Gontan, #99 Maalique Foster
BHM – 4-3-3 – #1 Matt VanOekel; #24 Jonny Dean, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #7 Ryan James; #20 Zach Herivaux (87’ – #8 Bruno Lapa), #6 Anderson Asiedu, #19 Enzo Martinez; #10 Prosper Kasim (67’ – #47 Mataeo Bunbury), #99 Juan Agudelo (75’ – #9 Edi Horvat), #11 Marlon Santos (75’ – #23 Grayson Dupont)
After five games on the road, Legion FC finally returns home to Protective Stadium on Saturday, July 23 at 6:30pm for ‘Salute to Service’ Night, presented by Vulcan Materials Company, to face former Birmingham forward JJ Williams and FC Tulsa. The homecoming also serves as another edition of Kids Club Night 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.