A win in the final game of the regular season, Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday at 7:00pm at Protective Stadium, and the Three Sparks will clinch a home playoff game
BIRMINGHAM, AL (Oct. 9, 2022) – Legion FC lost to San Antonio FC, 2-1, in a tight, end-to-end match that ended with San Antonio, the league leaders, scoring a late winner in the 84th minute on Sunday afternoon at Protective Stadium.
After Legion FC opened the match with a few quality scoring chances, forward Marlon Santos converted a penalty kick in the 19th minute thanks to a thunderous shot down the middle from the spot. Midfielder Anderson Asiedu earned the penalty after being fouled while attempting a shot just inside the top of the box.
San Antonio responded 20 minutes later to tie it up, scoring off a long bit of build-up play that led to Ignacio Bailone using his head to flick the ball past Legion’s Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel after a cross from Fabien Garcia.
Halftime ended 1-1, after a couple incredible, diving saves from VanOekel. The score would remain, and play would remain even for the most part, until the 84th minute when San Antonio’s Santiago Patino found the back of the net for the final scoreline.
“I think we could have showed a bit better composure keeping the ball, and that puts you in their part of the field,” said Head Coach Tommy Soehn. “So, I was disappointed in our possession, and you know, I credit [San Antonio], that’s their philosophy of how to play and they make it hard on teams and they made it hard on us.
Obviously, it hurts not to get this one, but thankfully we control our own destiny in the next game [on Wednesday night]. We gotta win and then we get our home [playoff] game.”
The Three Sparks led in expected goals, with 1.24 to San Antonio’s 1.17, and the home side also led in possession (55%), passes (338), and passing accuracy (66.9%), but could not find the winner past the league’s best defense.
Tonight’s loss means the Legion’s hopes for a home game in the first round of the USL Championship playoffs come down to the last match of the season on Wednesday, October 12 against Indy Eleven. A win against Indy would guarantee Birmingham a home playoff game, but a draw or loss could send the Three Sparks on the road in the first round, depending on results from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Detroit City FC.
“We gotta take it as a final,” said midfielder Mikey Lopez when asked about the regular season finale on Wednesday. “It is what it is. We need to get back to winning ways, and I think if we win on Wednesday we’ll use that momentum for the playoffs, so we gotta lock in. It’s basically playoff time and this game has a lot of meaning to us. It’s a final for us, and that’s the mentality we have for it now.”
“[A home playoff game] is a special thing. We want to give back to the fans by hosting a home playoff game. It’s important, and it’s important for us to have that under our belt so we know what it’s like to host a home playoff game so we can, hopefully, host more home playoff games in the future. We want that taste, and we want to give that excitement to the fans. We know how difficult we are to play at home, especially with the support of our fans, so I think it’s something that we really need and really want as a team.”
After a 33-game regular season, it all comes down to this, so fans can get tickets to Legion’s last match of the regular season here! Join us at Protective Stadium for Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday night to enjoy $3 Miller Light drafts in the South Plaza after gates open at 6:00pm, while supplies last, as well as discounted White Claw and TrimTab cans.
|1st Half||2nd Half|
BHM – 11’ – #11 Marlon Santos (P)
SA – 40’ – #20 Ignacio Bailone (assisted by #4 Fabien Garcia)
SA – 84’ – #9 Santiago Patino (assisted by #80 Nicky Hernandez)
BHM – 4-3-3 – #1 Matt VanOekel; #24 Jonny Dean, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #13 Jake Rufe; #20 Zach Herivaux, #6 Anderson Asiedu, #5 Mikey Lopez; #19 Enzo Martinez, #99 Juan Agudelo, #11 Marlon Santos
SA — 5-3-2 — #1 Jordan Farr; #22 Shannon Gomez, #4 Fabien Garcia, #33 Jasser Khmiri, #2 Carter Manley, #17 Jordan Ayimbila; #5 Jordy Delem, #19 Cristian Parano, #32 Ates Diouf; #27 John Lynn, #20 Ignacio Bailone
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.