Legion FC Clinches Spot in Playoffs Despite Loss at Memphis
MEMPHIS, TN - Despite being eliminated from the postseason already, Memphis 901 FC knocked off Birmingham Legion FC for the first time in the two-season history of the two clubs' on Saturday night, 3-1 at AutoZone Park.
A hattrick for 901 FC rookie forward Cal Jennings earned the visitors all three points on the evening and gives Jennings eight goals in his last four matches. The first goal came in the 36th minute as Jennings turned in a low, driven assist from defender Rece Buckmaster out on the right wing.
Legion FC evened the scoring just before halftime thanks to midfielder Bruno Lapa. Neco Brett fought to hold the ball up in the Memphis 18-yard box before laying it off to the onrushing Lapa. Lapa's first attempt at goal hit the left post but ricocheted right back to him and he deposited a difficult, bouncing, first-time finish past 901 FC goalkeeper Jimmy Hague.
With the goal, Lapa has scored seven times in his rookie season for Legion FC, moving him up into a tie for 14th best in the league, and added five assists. He's managed to score in all four matchups this year against the rivals from Memphis.
Memphis reclaimed the lead for the home side in the 54th minute after forward Keanu Marsh-Brown headed a misplaced Legion FC back pass into the path of the streaking Jennings who poked it past BHM goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg. With the visitors stretching for an equalizer late, Jennings got through on a breakaway again in the 86th minute to seal it with his third goal of the game.
"It's been a problem the last couple of games that I feel like we're just not playing up to where we need to be as these games get playoff caliber performances," said Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn. "If you don't come totally locked in and focused, you're going to be on the short end of things.
"It's disappointing because now we let something slip that was a goal of ours, a home playoff game, and now we're on the road against Tampa [Bay Rowdies]. So, you know, unfortunately we have to deal with the cards we're dealt and find a way to go to Tampa and get a result [next Saturday, October 10, at 6:30PM CT]."
"We really wanted to play at home first round, in front of all our fans in Birmingham, so we're disappointed, but we still feel confident we can get a result at Tampa Bay," said defender Mikey Lopez. "We have to come out from kickoff ready to fight and ready to outwork them for the full 90 minutes. We'll be ready."
1st Half 2nd Half
MEM 1 2
BHM 1 0
MEM - 36' - #26 Cal Jennings (assisted by #19 Rece Buckmaster)
BHM - 41' - #8 Bruno Lapa
MEM - 54' - #26 Cal Jennings (assisted by #9 Keanu Marsh-Brown)
MEM - 86' - #26 Cal Jennings (assisted by #20 Jose Baxter, #3 Zach Carroll)
MEM - #12 Jimmy Hague; #5 Triston Hodge (83' - #24 Jacob Hauser-Ramsey), #19 Rece Buckmaster, #3 Zach Carroll, #8 Marc Burch © (83' - #7 Raul Gonzalez); #23 Leston Paul, #16 Tommy McCabe, #20 Jose Baxter (90+2' - #70 Matt Hundley), #21 Duane Muckette (68' - #17 Michael Reed); #9 Keanu Marsh-Brown, #26 Cal Jennings (90+2' - #29 Brandon Allen)
BHM - #18 Trevor Spangenberg; #5 Mikey Lopez © (82' - #16 Daigo Kobayashi), #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Bolu Akinyode (82' - #30 Razak Cromwell), #24 Jonny Dean; #6 Anderson Asiedu, #12 Eli Crognale (54' - #17 Jaden Servania); #10 Prosper Kasim, #8 Bruno Lapa, #9 JJ Williams (82' - #7 Brian Wright); #11 Neco Brett
Legion FC came into the match knowing a win would guarantee itself a home game in the first round of the USL Championship playoffs next week, but due to a fast start to the 2020 season, and Charlotte's last second victory over North Carolina earlier in the evening, Legion FC have clinched a spot in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
The squad will head to Tampa Bay next weekend to take on the Rowdies at 6:30PM CT on Saturday, October 10. For live match updates, follow @bhmlegion on Twitter, and tune in to My68 or ESPN+ to watch the game and cheer on Legion FC!
• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...
United Soccer League Championship Stories from October 3, 2020
- Toros Fans Bring the Energy as RGV FC Defeat OKC 4-2 at Home - Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
- Battery Beat Rowdies 2-1 to Close Regular Season - Charleston Battery
- FC Tulsa Clinches Playoff Spot in 2-0 Victory over Colorado Springs - FC Tulsa
- Legion FC Clinches Spot in Playoffs Despite Loss at Memphis - Birmingham Legion FC
- OKC's Season Comes to End with 4-2 Defeat at RGV - OKC Energy FC
- Memphis Ends Season on High Note - Memphis 901 FC
- Late Sabella Strike Clinches Postseason Place in 1-0 Win North Carolina FC - Charlotte Independence
- Eleven's 2020 Season Ends after Loss at Saint Louis FC - Indy Eleven
- Switchbacks FC Conclude 2020 Season with Loss to FC Tulsa - Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
- STLFC Clinches Playoff Spot with 2-1 Win over Indy Eleven - Saint Louis FC
- LouCity Ends Regular Season on a High Note, Beating SKC II - Louisville City FC
- Hounds Close out Regular Season with Win against Philadelphia - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Pittsburgh Gets Better of Union II - Philadelphia Union II
- North Carolina FC Fall to the Charlotte Independence to Close out 2020 Season - North Carolina FC
- Match Preview: Tacoma Defiance vs. Reno 1868 FC - October 3, 2020 - Tacoma Defiance
- Rising Release Joint Statement with San Diego Loyal - Phoenix Rising FC
- Match Preview: ATL UTD 2 vs the Miami FC - Atlanta United 2
- USL Statement: COVID-19 Test Results - October 3, 2020 - USL
- Game Day: Follow Along with LouCity-Sporting KC II - Louisville City FC
- In Their Own Words: "We've Got to Show up and Do What We Need to Do." - Sacramento Republic FC
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.