EC Semifinal Match Preview: Legion FC at Tampa Bay Rowdies- Saturday, November 13
Birmingham Legion FC at Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saturday, November 13 - 6:00 p.m. CT Kickoff
Watch Party at PNC Field! - My68, ESPN+
Legion FC finished off its third season in the USL Championship with the number two seed in the Central Division, but automatically to the second round after the contest against Pittsburgh had to be canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Riverhounds squad.
The strength of this Legion side has been its defense, which allowed just 31 goals all season, the second fewest in the league, only behind Tampa Bay's 23. Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel racked up nine clean sheets, Alex Crognale led the way with 110 clearances, Ryan James was tops in interceptions with 64, Phanuel Kavita was first in blocks with 25, and Anderson Asiedu had the most tackles with 59.
The attack was strong as well, finishing the regular season with 51 goals, which was top ten in the league, led by Neco Brett's 18, fifth-most in the USLC. Brett led the team in shots (61), while Jonny Dean was first in chances created (47) and assists (five).
The team did well on the road, winning eight games, losing four and drawing four.
Tampa Bay completed one of the best regular seasons in USLC history as the number one overall seed in the playoffs. The group conceded just 23 goals, eight fewer than any other team in the league, and the attack scored 55 times, which was tied for sixth-most.
Perennial All-League performer Sebastian Guenzatti led the team in goals (21, second-most in USLC), assists (six), and shots (86, most in the league), while Lewis Hilton was top in chances created (62).
Tampa Bay knocked off Legion FC in last year's playoffs, 4-2, thanks to goals from Jordan Doherty, Guenzatti, Lucky Mkosana, and Leo Fernandes (with BHM goals from Bruno Lapa and Prosper Kasim), and were again stellar at home this season, to the tune of a 14-2-1 record in 2021 at Al Lang Stadium.
This game's VIVA Health injury report is, thankfully, zero names long again, but defender Freddy Kleemann (recalled from loan by Austin FC) will continue to be unavailable for selection.
Join us at PNC Field (formerly BBVA Field) to watch the big game on the big screen in the Legion FC Plaza, free of charge. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. CT, and hot dogs, popcorn, and concessions will be available, as well as discounted, $5 beer and access to the Legion FC Team Shop.
Once the game kicks off, if we score, you score! For every goal Legion FC scores during the game, we will knock $1 off all beers, all game.
With a spot in the Eastern Conference Final on the line, come enjoy watching your favorite team with all the other Legion FC diehards on Saturday night at PNC Field. Space heaters will be set up, and we'll see you there!
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