A first half wonder goal from Prosper Kasim, plus successful penalty kicks in the shootout from Tyler Pasher, Gabriel Alves, Jake Rufe, and Enzo Martinez see Birmingham through
TUSCALOOSA, AL (April 26, 2023) – Birmingham Legion FC advanced to the fourth round of the US Open Cup for the first time in club history via a penalty kick shootout victory over Chattanooga FC on Wednesday night. After regular time concluded with the match tied 1-1, the home side prevailed thanks to a Trevor Spangenberg walk off penalty kick save to seal the deal.
Prosper Kasim opened the scoring on the night with a wonder goal off his wonderful left boot in the 31st minute. Legion FC made its way into the box and CFC attempted to clear, but the ball fell to the Ghanaian just outside the area. He cut in onto his favored side and left the ‘keeper rooted with a pinpoint, curling effort into the top left corner.
“You just saw he’s aware of those scenarios and when he looked up, you could tell he was going to take it and he hit it perfectly,” said Head Coach Tommy Soehn when asked about Kasim’s goal. “He sent the ‘keeper and the ‘keeper had no chance on that. So just good vision and good execution.”
The visitors evened things up from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after Chattanooga was awarded a penalty kick. Forward Taylor Gray took some slight contact and forward Markus Naglestad scored from 12 yards.
Despite finishing the match with 23 shots to CFC’s ten, the referee’s whistle blew at 90 minutes with the match still tied, 1-1, and again at 120’ to set up penalties. Four of Legion FC’s five takers found the back of the net, Tyler Pasher, Gabriel Alves, Jake Rufe, and Enzo Martinez, while Juan Agudelo’s effort was saved. With his side up, and the fifth Chattanooga penalty taker at the spot, Spangenberg came up big to deny the shot and win the game.
“You never know how penalty shootouts can go,” said Spangenberg. “You can think you’re good at penalties, but then they can come up and bury five on you. So, I just kind of stick to what I know and look at the things that I think are going to help me get a good read. And they still hit some good penalties, but thankfully we did too tonight. And I was just happy to get two. I count it as two. Misses count as a save in the goalkeeper union book. It was good to at least get two and move on to the next round.
“I just kind of space out in the moment and I’m just worried about each guy. I think as soon as I did save it, I was aware we had won. I don’t think even half the team was aware we had won, but it’s just one of those you’re just totally in the moment. You’re not really thinking next save, wins it, anything like that. It’s just yeah, zeroed in on one guy and one guy alone. I like it.”
|1st Half||2nd Half||Pens|
BHM – 31’ – #10 Prosper Kasim
CFC – 68’ – #99 Markus Naglestad (P)
Penalty Kick Shootout: BHM 4 – CFC 3
Legion FC Goals – Pasher, Alves, Rufe, Martinez
Chattanooga FC Goals – Naglestad, Prepelita, Mwape
BHM – 4-3-3 – #18 Trevor Spangenberg; #4 Collin Smith (120’ – #13 Jake Rufe), #21 Alex Crognale, #2 Ben Reveno, #33 Moses Mensah (116’ – #15 Tyler Pasher); #6 Anderson Asiedu, #17 Matthew Corcoran (102’ – #8 Dante Johnson), #19 Enzo Martinez; #9 Juan Agudelo, #10 Prosper Kasim (90’ – #3 Phanuel Kavita), #7 Diba Nwegbo (56’ – #16 Gabriel Alves)
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.