The Oppo: Memphis 901 FC

Still figuring out those neon lights.

In our newest edition of the Oppo, we’re looking into our new neighbors in the north, Memphis 901 FC. Memphis are still finding their footing in the league. They just found a head coach for the season. They’re on the lookout for an assistant, and they’re still building their roster as this is being typed. The 901st have a lot to do, and little time to do it in, before they meet the Birmingham Legion at BBVA, May 15th.  

Overview

The new kids on the block are still looking for somewhere to fit in. Into this division, and into the league in general. Two years in, and Memphis 901 is still at the bottom looking up. The 901st were only able to grab 4 wins in 15 outings last year. That’s a bit better winning percentage than 2019 however, where they only won 9 of their 35 matches. 

Things are starting to take shape at Memphis though. From the Front Office down to the pitch. The 901st are bringing in proven talent to the squad. Finding players with MLS, La Liga, and even international experience into the squad. New head coach Ben Pirmann, who was only announced earlier this month, will look to these more experienced players to help get some quick cohesion to his side before May 15th.

Coaches

Ben Pirmann. He was officially announced head coach earlier this month on April 8th. However, Ben has been with Memphis 901 since the beginning. Following his predecessors’ dismal performance shouldn’t be too difficult for Pirmann, however. Ben has had fairly consistent head coaching jobs in the past. He was even able to simultaneously coach at his alma mater, Michigan State University, and then NPSL side Detroit (Rock) City FC . He even won 49 of the 83 games he was in charge of for Detroit City FC. 

Now, with a little time under his belt, the full backing of the FO, and a few players of his own, Pirmann should be in prime position to start the long trudge that is climbing the table. 

Roster 

Yet another roster under construction. Memphis 901 is currently only listing 15 players on their roster, including only one goalkeeper. Unless Tim Howard is gonna take a break from the desk job and glove up again, then the 901st aren’t quite finished building this roster it seems.

Pirmann and company are moving in the right direction it seems. Heavily favoring experience Memphis is looking to draw from all different wells of footballing knowledge going forward. They have a pair of players returning, experience fighting for the 901 crest. They’re bringing in a few guys that have spent some time in MLS. But the most eye opening signing so far is that of winger Roland Lamah.

Roland brings with him wisdom from around the world. Having spent time in leagues the likes of  La Liga , Ligue 1, and the Premier League, Lamah should be a hugely calming influence on the pitch for his teammates. 

Expect a few more sloppy performances like their preseason loss to Chattanooga Red Wolves, but with such a wealth of experience on the pitch don’t expect any slip ups to stop Memphis’ growth this year.

Schedule

What an introduction to a new season. Want to know where Memphis 901 stands among its peers this year? Well, we’ll all find out very fast. Memphis 901’s home opener is preceded by five away matches, all to in division opposition. 

First on their travels is Birmingham Legion. While these fixtures have gone back and forth in the past, this Legion team looks dominant and ready to run. Oh, and they’re really fast. Any lapse in judgment at BBVA is going to come at a cost.

Both Memphis and Birmingham Legion played preseason friendlies against the Chattanooga Red Wolves. Legion won theirs 4-1, Memphis lost theirs 2-1. The Legion had difficulties against the Red Wolves’ solid shape, and also gave up a goal to them in their preseason match. However, Birmingham Legion capitalized on speed and picking up loose passes. With such a new squad learning each others tendencies, there’s bound to be a loose ball or two for Legion to pick up on in this match. For Memphis’ newly minted squad that’s a tough task first time out. 

Then there’s the rest of the central division gauntlet Memphis will be running. After they meet the Legion they head on to face ATL2, OKC Energy FC, Indy Eleven, and Louisville City FC! If Memphis are able to make it to their home opener with 6 points or more it’ll be surprising, and very well earned. 

Seeing where one stands at the very offset of the season might not be the worst for Memphis 901 though. This stretch of games should give great insight into what Memphis is going to need to do throughout the rest of the season to make into their first ever playoff scenario.  

Conclusion

It’s going to get better. Memphis 901 has it all to do first, however. They need an assistant coach. They have to round out that roster. They also have to make it through almost their entire division before they even get to set foot on their own home grounds. So long as the 901st doesn’t let a few poor performances early on shape them, they should make it through the season better than the last two at least. 

Final Grade: C-

Patience will be key for Memphis 901 FC, and fans. It’s been two hard years, and it looks like another is in store. After the shark tank of an opening they have, I expect Memphis to refocus themselves and cause some unforeseen upsets later in the season as they fine tune their game plans.

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