Gabriel Alves gets his first goal and Legion earns its first shutout of 2023 in a professional, 1-0 team win at Hartford
Hartford, CT (Mar. 25, 2023) – On the road and playing in the cold rain, Legion FC found themselves a win in its first away match of the 2023 season against Hartford Athletic. An early goal in the 24th minute of the match by defender Gabriel Alves and some crucial saves by goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg made the difference.
A win today jumps the Three Sparks into first place in the Eastern Conference ahead of Louisville by one point, and a draw or loss for Loudoun United tonight would keep the Legion there.
Birmingham’s goal started from number 15 Tyler Pasher, who created some space in the middle of the pitch and found an open Alves. Standing well outside the box, Alves fired it low and hard across Hartford’s goalkeeper Richard Sánchez and put the ball neatly into the bottom-right corner.
Alves’ goal was the first of the young defender’s professional career, and Pasher’s assist gives him three goal contributions for the Three Sparks thanks to his brace against Tulsa FC last weekend.
“I think no matter what happens, you’ll always remember where, when and how [you score your first goal],” said head coach Tommy Soehn. “I thought it was a well struck ball and I know he’s got that ability. He’s pretty attacking minded as a left back and he’s got a nose for goal when he gets up there. So we’re happy for him getting a game winner. I’m sure that’ll help him remember it more.”
Matthew Corcoran, 17 years old, also got his first start for the Boys in Black and made an impact in the midfield.
“It’s always fantastic when the younger guys step up in a big way,” said goalkeeper Spangenberg. “But that’s the mentality of the whole team, really. Everyone stays ready here. It’s a long season and your name will get called on game day at some point. With the group we have there are a lot of options to play with and that’s going to be fun to build on as the season progresses.”
Spangenberg, voted Man of the Match by Legion fans, played brilliantly in his first start for the club in 2023 as he helped the team earn its first clean sheet with four crucial saves.
“Awesome for the guys to get a clean sheet today,” said Spangenberg. “That’s what we pride ourselves on and to do it on the road in tough conditions will make those donuts taste even better.”
Whenever the Three Sparks earn a clean sheet, the whole team gets a healthy dose of Birmingham’s Hero Donuts to celebrate the occasion. The tradition dates back to Legion’s first season.
With 54% possession (the highest this season) and 16 shots to Hartford’s 14, Vulcan’s Legionnaires stepped up and delivered a professional performance on the road.
“I enjoyed how professional this performance was,” said Soehn. “Winning on the road is not easy and getting shut outs on the road is impossible. The guys did a really good job of shoring up a game and being very professional.”
Thanks to Legion’s win, local fans can get a Buy-One-Get-One-Free discount at Birmingham Papa John’s locations. Just enter code ‘LEGIONWINS’ tomorrow, March 26th. Online orders only. When Legion wins, you win pizza.
|1st Half||2nd Half|
BHM – 24’ – #16 Gabriel Alves (assisted by #15 Tyler Pasher)
BHM – 4-3-3 – #18 Trevor Spangenberg; #2 Ben Reveno, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #16 Gabriel Alves (73′ #33 Moses Mensah); #6 Anderson Asiedu, #17 Matthew Corcoran, #19 Enzo Martinez; #11 Neco Brett (74′ #7 Diba Nwegbo), #9 Juan Agudelo, #15 Tyler Pasher (84′ #10 Prosper Kasim)
The boys hit the road again next week as they head to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Fans can cheer on the Three Sparks on Saturday, April 1 at 6:30pm and can watch the match on My68 and ESPN+.
For all club news and updates fans are encouraged to follow @bhmlegion on social media and keep an eye on bhmlegion.com and the Legion FC app. Download the Legion FC app today on Apple or Android, and sync our 2023 schedule to your calendar HERE.