Two second half goals gave the visitors a 2-1 win in the competitive tie
BIRMINGHAM, AL (April 9, 2023) – Birmingham Legion FC lost at home for the first time in the 2023 season to Phoenix Rising FC in a tight back-and-forth match that saw three second half goals.
The first goal of Easter Sunday came from the Rising in the 58th minute. Coming off a cleared corner, Gabriel Torres sent a ball into the Phoenix box and Danny Trejo got a head to it.
Immediately afterwards Birmingham responded with a goal of its own in the 59th. Enzo Martinez found Gabriel Alves open on the left side of the area and the Brazilian smashed it into the net. Alves led in several stats on the night to accompany his goal, with the most duels won (12), interceptions (3), tackles (6), and fouls won (3).
“I think the team performed well, but we can get better at keeping the ball,” said Alves. “Unfortunately, we had some rough calls that frustrated the team… but that’s part of the game. We will learn from this and keep improving.”
Less than ten minutes later Phoenix found another goal to give them the lead they would hold on to for the rest of the 90 minutes. Carlos Harvey linked up with Manuel Arteaga to get in behind Legion’s backline, and Harvey slipped it past Birmingham goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg.
It was a frustrating loss for the Three Sparks, with two goals called offside and nine yellow cards issued to the visitors. With this loss, the Black & Gold remain at the top of the Eastern Conference with only one point separating them from second place Louisville City.
“Well, I don’t think we were sharp in the final third today,” said Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn. “Lacked the precision, lacked the sharpness, and I’m not sure why. Yesterday [in training] we had good signs of that.
“I still feel like we have strides to make [on coming together as a group], especially after today, especially after giving away home points. That’s a no-no.”
Stats wise, the tie was fairly even. Birmingham had 14 shots compared to Phoenix’s ten, but the Western side led in shots on target (four to three), expected goals (1.12 to 0.81), and possession (53.3% to 46.7%).
“The coaching staff gives me a lot of freedom to join the attack,” said Alves when asked about his goal in the match. “The staff and players give me the confidence to be aggressive. I have a lot of fun joining the attack with the high-quality players playing alongside me, so my job gets easier. But there’s still room to improve!”
|1st Half||2nd Half|
PHX – 58’ – #11 Danny Trejo (assisted by #16 Gabi Torres)
BHM – 59’ – #16 Gabriel Alves (assisted by #19 Enzo Martinez)
PHX – 66’ – #67 Carlos Harvey (assisted by #9 Manuel Arteaga)
BHM – 4-3-3 – #18 Trevor Spangenberg; #4 Collin Smith (90+5’ #23 Grayson Dupont), #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Phanuel Kavita ©, #16 Gabriel Alves; #6 Anderson Asiedu, #17 Matthew Corcoran, (69’ #7 Diba Nwegbo) #19 Enzo Martinez; #9 Juan Agudelo, #10 Prosper Kasim, 11 Neco Brett
Legion FC’s next match is on the road at Loudoun United on Saturday, April 15th. Tune in to watch the match on My68 or on ESPN+ and follow @bhmlegion on twitter for live match updates.
The Three Sparks return to protective stadium on Sunday, April 30th to face the Hartford Athletic, and fans can grab tickets today at bhmlegion.com/tickets!
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.