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Legion FC Knocked off by Charlotte

September 12, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Birmingham Legion FC News Release

BIRMINGHAM, AL - Birmingham Legion FC and the Charlotte Independence went to battle for a fourth time in this shortened USL Championship season, and the Independence came away with their first win, 3-1, on Saturday night at BBVA Field. The result sees Legion FC maintain the top spot in Group G, but Charlotte closes the gap in second place to just one point.

The USL Championship's all-time leading goal scorer, Dane Kelly, put the first goal on the board in the 17th minute after a cross came into the box from the left, was partially blocked, and fell the to the forward around the penalty spot.

Legion FC struck back shortly thereafter, as forward Neco Brett, Legion FC's top goal scorer on the season with seven, pulled his side level in the 34th minute. The final product followed a well-worked move down the right, as midfielder Bruno Lapa's cheeky flick played in defender Jonny Dean in behind the Independence backline. Dean's driven cross found Brett, who found the back of the net. The goal moves Brett into a tie for sixth-most in the league, and the assist jumps Dean up to fourth in the league with five on the season.

Kelly responded right before the stroke of halftime with a smartly headed goal in the 45th minute off of a whipped in cross from midfielder Jake Areman in the 45th minute. The goal gives Kelly 87 for his career and 10 on the season, good for second in the USL Championship.

After a dubious second yellow card caution, and subsequent red card, was issued to Legion FC midfielder Anderson Asiedu in the 60th minute, Legion FC still created a few solid chances down a man, but the visitors put the game away in the 86th minute courtesy of a goal from substitute Derek Gebhard.

The top two teams in the group qualify for the 2020 USL Championship playoffs, and third place North Carolina FC are 10 points back, but the first-place team hosts a playoff game, while the second-place team will travel. Legion FC has three matches remaining in the regular season and Charlotte has four. The match was the first time Legion FC conceded more than two goals in 2020, just the third loss of the season, and the first loss by more than one goal.

"I think certain things become a habit," said Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn. "Right now we've been leaking the first goal and we're having to chase. Once you start chasing you open things up, so we have to get back to the idea of not leaking goals. Today was disappointing in the fact that we fought back and leaked another one right after. We just need to show more discipline, you can complain about the refs all you want but we control our own destiny. Every time we go shorthanded, you're not set up to be successful. That's something discipline-wise that we have to stop and just isn't good enough."

"I just think we need to fix those little things that are taking the results away from us," said Lapa. "I think we've shown that we are a quality team and that we can win games, so I think we just need to get back to doing the things that have made us successful and fix those little problems. We just have to make sure that we start strong, get the first goal in a game, and make sure that we don't concede in order to secure those wins. Going forward, there's three games left and that's plenty of games for us to get points and make sure that we make the playoffs."

Box Score:

1st Half 2nd Half

BHM 1 0

CLT 1 2

Goals:

CLT - 17' - #9 Dane Kelly (assisted by #4 Jake Areman)

BHM - 34' - #11 Neco Brett (assisted by #24 Jonny Dean, #8 Bruno Lapa)

CLT - 45' - #9 Dane Kelly (assisted by #4 Jake Areman)

CLT - 86' - #27 Derek Gebhard (assisted by #23 Guido Vadala)

Lineups:

BHM - #1 Matt VanOekel ©; #24 Jonny Dean, #21 Alex Crognale, #3 Bolu Akinyode, #5 Mikey Lopez; #6 Anderson Asiedu, #12 Eli Crognale (79' - #16 Daigo Kobayashi); #10 Prosper Kasim, #8 Bruno Lapa, #17 Jaden Servania (46' - #9 JJ Williams); #11 Neco Brett (79' - #7 Brian Wright)

CLT - #33 Brandon Miller; #22 Joel Johnson, #3 Hugh Roberts, #17 Clay Dimick, #14 Duke Lacroix; #21 Junior Etou, #4 Jake Areman (89' - #18 Aaron Maund), #15 Luke Haakenson (69' - #23 Guido Vadala), #7 Rey Ortiz (70' - #27 Derek Gebhard); #19 Enzo Martinez ©, #9 Dane Kelly (89' - #90 Christian Chaney)

Legion FC is back on the road to face Miami FC on Wednesday, September 16. For live match updates, follow @bhmlegion on Twitter, or tune in as the match will air live on My68 and ESPN+.

The last home match of the regular season is on Saturday, September 26 vs. North Carolina. Get tickets at bhmlegion.com/tickets, by emailing [email protected], or by calling the Legion FC Ticket Office at 205-791-7145. Fans can also download the Legion FC app to preorder concessions on gameday, load the remaining schedule straight into your calendar, and stay up to date with all things Legion FC!


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