Birmingham won its first ever competitive game against a first division side thanks to a beauty of a goal by forward Prosper Kasim in the 60th minute
BIRMINGHAM, AL (May 24, 2023) – Every player on the pitch did their part. Every tackle mattered. Every interception, pass, and block — and Prosper Kasim’s golden left foot made Alabama sports history. For the first time in the state, a professional team from Alabama has beaten a first division team in its respective sport, and it all happened at Protective Stadium in front of a record 12,722 person crowd.
Tonight’s win means Birmingham Legion FC moves on to the quarter finals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, where the boys will host MLS side Inter Miami at Protective Stadium. The contest is the oldest ongoing soccer tournament in the nation.
“It was second to none,” said Legion Head Coach Tommy Soehn when asked about the win and atmosphere. “We’ve been here five short years and I feel like the game continues to grow and then the city continues to back us up and it was hard not to enjoy that. I think [the players] understood what the game meant. We talked a lot about what it took to come out with the results tonight and then I think they executed quite well.”
In the 28th minute Charlotte FC’s Brandon Cambridge drove behind the Legion back line and delivered a shot that hit the goal post. The home crowd’s heart dropped, and the ball ricocheted back for a Legion counterattack. Stopping that attacking drive was Charlotte’s Adilson Malanda, who fouled Birmingham winger Tyler Pasher and received a yellow card for it.
The first half ended 0-0, with five shots to each side. Charlotte and Birmingham were neck-and-neck. In the 50th minute, Malanda’s foul against Pasher would come back to haunt him. Fouling Pasher again, Malanda received his second yellow card of the match, resulting in a red card. Charlotte FC were down to ten men against Birmingham’s eleven.
Fast forward ten minutes and forward Juan Agudelo sends a ball in behind to Kasim on the right wing. The Ghanaian cut the ball inside, beat fellow Ghanaian Derrick Jones, and sent a low driven shot to the far post with his left foot that was too low and fast for goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina to save. The emphatic roars from Protective Stadium’s record crowd dampened the microphones of the live stream.
“I just realized that there were just two guys behind and it was a counter,” said goalscorer Kasim. “So I felt like I just have to go inside to my favorite foot. So it just happened.”
This was not the first time Prosper Kasim has made Birmingham sports history. The “star boy” as fans call him has been with Birmingham Legion since its inaugural season in 2019, and he scored the first ever home and away goals in club history and was the 2019 Team MVP.
The Alabama Reds held on to the lead for the remainder of the match, and every player on the pitch did their part defensively in ensuring their triumph. Defender Alex Crognale was crucial in shutting down Charlotte’s attacks. The 6′ 5″ center back led both sides with eight clearances, while the next closest player for either side had three. Birmingham midfielder Mikey Lopez was massive as well as he led the team in tackles (winning four out of four), and interceptions (five).
“Tonight was a collective win,” said Kasim. “Everyone was fighting hard and then working very hard. So I feel like I just happened to be the guy to finish. It was a collective effort.”
The fans on Wednesday night were amazing, and the attending crowd of 12,722 shattered the old Legion FC record, from last October’s playoff game, by 2,500+.
“For me [the crowd] was amazing,” said captain Phanuel Kavita. “I think especially when we scored, you can tell how loud it was, and coming out at halftime I got excited, because when you’re walking out you just hear a bunch of fans in there, and it’s nice because it gives us confidence and gives us joy and excitement to be playing in front of that many people. So, it’s always fun, and hopefully we can get more fans to come out because I think that allows us to blow up the city and have more people come out and enjoy. To just see the fans in the crowd and everything was incredible.
“I’ll even compliment how into the game [the fans] were,” said Coach Soehn. “I mean, you could tell every play they were on top of it. It was awesome. Just a great feeling. Gave you chills.”
|1st Half||2nd Half|
BHM – 60’ – #10 Prosper Kasim (assisted by #9 Juan Agudelo)
BHM – 4-4-3 – #18 Trevor Spangenberg; #3 Phanuel Kavita, #16 Gabriel Alves, #21 Alex Crognale, #4 Collin Smith; #6 Anderson Asiedu, #5 Mikey Lopez, #10 Prosper Kasim (90′ – #33 Moses Mensah); #15 Tyler Pasher, #19 Enzo Martinez, #9 Juan Agudelo
Legion FC has a quick turnaround as the boys will hit the road to play at Detroit City FC on Saturday, May 27 at 3:00pm CT. The game will be streamed on My68 and ESPN+.
The squad will return home for a US Open Cup Quarterfinal contest on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:00pm CT versus David Beckham’s Major League Soccer club, Inter Miami, right back at Protective Stadium! Ticket information will be announced soon via Legion FC social media channels and the club website.
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.