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Legion FC Attack Heats up in Miami

September 16, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Birmingham Legion FC News Release

MIAMI, FL - Birmingham Legion FC got back to its winning ways in an exciting fashion in the club's first ever trip to play Miami FC, winning 4-0 courtesy of two goals from defender Alex Crognale and two goals from forward Neco Brett.

BHM tested the home side with a couple chances early in the match and found the breakthrough in the 35th minute. Forward JJ Williams, starting his first match since rejoining Legion FC on loan last week, swung in a nice ball that found Brett at the top of the six-yard box just in time for a calm, composed finish over the 'keeper.

Fans watching from home did not have to wait long for goal number two, as Legion FC earned a corner in the 42nd minute, Bruno Lapa whipped in a pinpoint cross, and Crognale rose up over everybody to head it into the top corner.

Legion FC, and Crognale in particular, were not done providing first half highlights, and added a third in the 45th minute. Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel stepped out of his goal and hit a 60-yard ball over the halfway line directly to Lapa who flicked it, no-look, through the Miami backline to the onrushing Prosper Kasim. Kasim's shot was saved by the 'keeper, but only as far as BHM's #21, who was still in the attack following a prior corner kick. Crognale buried his second of the game, and third of the season to take home Man of the Match honors.

The visitors did not wait long into the second half of play to put the match away, as Williams notched his second assist in the 55th minute by turning his defender and playing a long looping ball over the top for Brett. After a mistake by the Miami goalkeeper, the Legion FC attacker deposited the ball into the back of the net for his team-leading ninth goal of the season. The nine goals put Brett in a tie for fourth-most in all the USL Championship.

"Getting back on track tonight was huge," said Crognale. "We stuck to the game plan tonight against Miami, and it paid off. As a center back, scoring a brace is special, but I'm happiest about the team performance and an excellent defensive showing. We go into a little break now to recharge and push for the playoffs.

"We just need to continue to focus on ourselves. Our performances have dictated results, so if we come ready to play, I'll take our 11 against any side we face. Finishing off strong against two division opponents heading into the playoffs will be huge for our confidence."

"We felt that we needed to focus more on our defensive shape," said Legion FC Assistant Coach Khano Smith. "We felt we were leaving too many gaps and too much space for teams to attack us, so we worked on that this week in training and through video and gave the guys a game plan. To their credit, they went out and stuck to it and, basically, they did really well."

Box Score:

1st Half 2nd Half

MIA 0 0

BHM 3 1


BHM - 35' - #11 Neco Brett (assisted by #9 JJ Williams)

BHM - 42' - #21 Alex Crognale (assisted by #8 Bruno Lapa)

BHM - 45+1' - #21 Alex Crognale

BHM - 55' - #11 Neco Brett (assisted by #9 JJ Williams)


MIA - #1 Mark Pais; #23 Brandon Griffiths, #3 Marco Franco (45' - #12 Miguel Gonzalez), #14 Lloyd Sam © (45' - #8 Tomas Granitto), #4 Hassan Ndam; #28 Mohamed Thiaw, #25 Lance Rozeboom (66' - #45 Jalen Markey), #7 Vincent Bezecourt (66' - #21 Hector Morales), #19 Janos Lobe, #17 Brian James; #9 Romario Williams (45' - #6 Harrison Heath)

BHM - #1 Matt VanOekel ©; #5 Mikey Lopez, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Bolu Akinyode (79' - #4 Josh Bauer), #30 Razak Cromwell; #24 Jonny Dean (79' - #2 Marcos Ugarte), #12 Eli Crognale; #10 Prosper Kasim (45' - #17 Jaden Servania), #8 Bruno Lapa (70' - #16 Daigo Kobayashi), #9 JJ Williams; #11 Neco Brett (64' - #7 Brian Wright)

Legion FC returns home to face North Carolina FC on Saturday, September 26, for the final home match of the regular season. Get your tickets at, by emailing [email protected], or by calling the Legion FC Ticket Office at 205-791-7145.

The last match of the regular season is scheduled for Saturday, October 3 vs. Memphis 901FC. For live match updates, follow @bhmlegion on Twitter, or tune in as the match will air live on My68 and ESPN+.

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