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 Birmingham Legion FC

Birmingham Legion Advances to the US Open Cup Round of 32

April 18, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Birmingham Legion FC News Release


BIRMINGHAM, Ala - Birmingham Legion FC advances to the Round of 32 of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after a 4-2 comeback victory against the Chattanooga Red Wolves, featuring four goals from Stefano Pinho.

The Brazilian forward scored two headers to level the Legion in regular time. Pinho would score two more goals in extra time sealing Legion FC's victory.

First Half

Chattanooga defender Leo Folla opened the score sheet in the 11th minute. Midfielder Ricky Ruiz fed a great ball to Folla in the 18-yard box and delivered a header into the back of the net.

Going into halftime, Legion controlled possession and had an 8-4 advantage on shots. Legion had many opportunities but failed to find any goals during the first half.

Second Half

Head Coach Tom Soehn made one change to his Starting XI at half-time. Tyler Pasher would come on for Enzo Martinez. This would be the first of four changes Soehn made.

Entering the second half the boys in gold came in with a burst of energy and had a great opportunity immediately.

"Our movement up top was better," said Head Coach Tom Soehn. "First half, we were a little stagnant, and then second half, we came out and second-line runs were better, the off-the-ball movement was better, and that really opened them up."

Legion's first goal came in the 48th minute from a corner kick. Tyler Pasher's Chick-fil-A Corner Kick found Stefano Pinho, who would bury it with a header.

In the 62nd minute Dawson McCartney would come off for Kobe Hernandez-Foster and Miggy Perez would come off for Prosper Kasim.

In the 75th minute, Matt VanOekel came off his line to clear a shot and collided with Chattanooga's Ropapa Mensah. The Red Wolves drew a foul and were awarded a penalty. Chattanooga's Ruiz converted it making the Red Wolves lead once again.

Legion trailed behind the Red Wolves but not for long. In the 80th minute, Pasher would service another corner kick for Pinho to score another header in the six-yard box. Legion would level the score.

"He [Pinho] needs service, and we got him service. Pasher came in and injected some life into us," said Soehn

Legion looked to score another goal when Pinho had a brilliant breakaway but got pulled down by Gustavo Fernandez. Fernandes was given a red card and ejected from the game in the 91st minute. Chattanooga would play with 10 men for the remainder of the match.

Extra Time

Once again Pinho would find the back of the net in the 106th minute with a great assist by Kobe Hernandez Foster. Hernandez-Foster would service a ball off a Chick-fil-A Corner Kick to the back post just in time for Pinho to chest it in.

"We worked so hard for this, I think the team deserves that," said Pinho. "We just have to have a good mentality. We were talking at halftime, we have to be strong we are the home team, so we put in our effort and that's it."

The boys in gold continued to put pressure as Prosper Kasim connected with Pinho in the 107th minute, who found himself behind the backline and was able to notch a goal. This goal would be Pinho's fourth goal and would seal Legion's win over the Tennessee side.

"I think this gives me confidence to play more games, score more goals, and help the team," said Pinho. "But the better thing is we improve each day as a team, so it's good for the rest of the season."

Pinho would come off in the 111th minute after playing the entire match. 15-year-old Ramiz Hamouda came on and made his professional debut.

"Raz getting his first game was a happy moment," said Soehn.

The Round of 32 draw will occur on Thursday, April 18 at 1pm ET and will be streaming on ussoccer.com. Matches will take place on May 7 or 8.

Box Score

1st Half 2nd Half Extra Time

BHM 0 2 2

CHA 1 1 0

Goals:

CHA: 11' - Leo Folla (Ricky Ruiz)

BHM: 48' - Stefano Pinho (Tyler Pasher)

CHA: 75' - Ricky Ruiz (Penalty)

BHM: 80' - Stefano Pinho (Tyler Pasher)

BHM: 106 - Stefano Pinho (Kobe Hernandez-Foster)

BHM: 107' - Stefano Pinho (Prosper Kasim)

Lineups

BHM: Matt Van Oekel, Moses Mensah, Alex Crognale, Jake Rufe, Dawson McCartney, AJ Paterson, Miguel Perez, Diba Nwegbo, Enzo Martínez, Tabort Etaka Preston, Stéfano Pinho

CHA: Tim Trilk, Jamil Roberts, Gustavo Fernandes, Leo Folla, Omar Gómez, Stefan Lukic, Declan Watters, Mayele Malango, Ricky Ruiz, Lucas Coutinho, Ropapa Mensah

Notes:

15-year-old Ramiz Hamouda made his professional debut in the 111th minute.

What's Next

Legion FC go back on the road this Saturday to face off against Miami FC for the first time this season. Tune in to watch the match on My68 or ESPN+.

The squad returns home on Saturday, April 27 to face rivals Memphis 901 FC at Protective Stadium at 7:00pm. Make sure to wear black as we Black Out Protective next Saturday.


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