Match Preview: Legion FC vs. West Chester United SC - Wednesday, May 15
Birmingham Legion FC vs. West Chester United SC
Wednesday, May 15 - 7:00PM CT Kickoff - BBVA Compass Field, Birmingham, AL
Watch - ESPN+
Birmingham Legion FC play the club's first-ever U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday, May 15 at 7:00 PM CT against West Chester United SC. A club promotional campaign, 'Everyone wins on WINSday' (a theme for all Wednesday home fixtures), offers complementary seats to season ticket holders and those buying tickets to the May 22 match for the May 15 Open Cup clash.
West Chester United SC reached the second round of Open Cup play by winning a shootout, following a 1-1 draw with FC Baltimore Christos after an early goal by forward Troy Amspacher. West Chester, nicknamed the Predators, was founded in 1976 and currently compete in the Keystone Conference in the Northeast Region of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The club finished third in their conference in the 2018 season and is led by head coach Blaise Santangelo and captain Mike Gonzalez.
In their only match of the 2019 regular season thus far, Colin Furlong scored but the Predators fell, 4-1, to fellow Keystone Conference side Atlantic City FC.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 105 consecutive years dating from 1914. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor American soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
The Third Round will pit the 22 Second Round winners against one another in regionally determined action, with the opportunity on the line to face a Division I club in the Fourth Round on June 12 when Major League Soccer teams enter the competition. The winner of Wednesday's match at BBVA Compass Field will travel to face the winner of Louisville City FC versus Reading United AC on May 29.
Home teams for each round of the tournament are determined by a random selection process among those clubs that have applied to host and whose venues meet the minimum tournament requirements. Every game of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup from the First Round through the Final will be available for fans to watch on ESPN+.
Despite it being the club's first time competing in the Cup, Legion FC can rely on Head Coach Tommy Soehn's experience in the tournament, as he has won it both as a player, in 1997, 1998 and 2000, and as a coach, in 2008.
"I think the whole process of that tournament, when amateur teams come and compete, there's just not too many tournaments like that in the world when an amateur team can go up against a pro team, and then the lower leagues go up against the higher teams," said Soehn. "It's a pretty unique feel, and... I've won it quite a few times and been lucky to do it with different teams, so it's pretty special to me."
When asked about team strategy in the Open Cup, Soehn said, "the only strategy is that we have a lot of games in a row, and we're pretty beat up, so we keep trying to patch it together and come out and put a performance together. We've just got to get healthy and manage our guys. Some guys are going to get minutes that normally don't, and you have to just because we have a lot of games in a row."
Forward, #9 Chandler Hoffman on what's so unique about the U.S. Open Cup tournament in the landscape of American sports:
"It's really special because you have every level of team, so for us we have to take this game seriously and then as you progress you play MLS teams, and it's a huge opportunity for us as players and for the club to make a mark on the national stage."
Ticket information: Everyone wins on WINSday
All Legion FC season ticket packages include complementary tickets to this match, as the seats will not be counted against one of the 19 guaranteed matches. Season ticket holders may purchase additional tickets to the U.S. Open Cup fixture through their on-line account or by calling their Legion FC ticket representative.
Fans buying tickets to the Legion FC match on May 22 versus Nashville SC, and those who already purchased tickets May 11 for Louisville City FC, will also receive an equal number of complimentary tickets for the May 15 match. All single-game tickets are available for sale at bhmlegion.com/tickets and via the Legion FC app. For any questions or concerns, please contact the Legion FC Ticket Office at 205-600-4635 or [email protected]
'WINSday' special promotions will come into play for all Legion FC matches played on Wednesdays this season.
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