Player Ratings: Birmingham Legion 3-1 Southern States SC Stars
On to the third round
A cold and windy evening proved just what the doctor ordered for the Legion, as the team came away with a relatively easy 3-1 win. Obviously, with a game this weekend, there was some rotation in the lineup, though perhaps less than you might normally expect for an early round in the US Open Cup. Given the quick turnaround until the next game against Hartford Athletic and limited statistics available for Open Cup matches, there won’t be a Diving Deep analysis for this game, but here are the Forge’s player ratings:
GK: TREVOR SPANGENBERG – 7. It’s always tough to rate a goalkeeper when he has almost nothing to do other than make a few passes and take goal kicks. Of the two saves he needed to make one was well stopped and the other slipped through his hands, to his own dismay.
CB: JAKE RUFE – 8. A rare start for Jake and he made the most of it. 89% accurate on 66 passes, he won 8 of 10 duels, and logged 5 tackles, 1 clearance, 9 recoveries and 5 interceptions.
CB: THOMAS VANCAEYEZEELE – 7. Thomas is now pretty much the assumed starter (No official word on Freddy Kleemann, but the word is not good). He has the chops, clearly. He completed 52 of 58 passes, won 4 of 8 duels, to go with 1 tackle, 2 clearances, 1 interception and 3 recoveries.
CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 8. Alex probably spent more time in the Southern States half than he did his own. A massive 84 passes with 83% accuracy, he won all 4 duels, 1 clearance, 1 interception and 6 recoveries. And then there’s the assist…
LWB: RYAN JAMES – 7. OK, it seems weird to say Ryan started in place of Jonny Dean, but that’s what happened here. Going the full 90, Ryan connected on 38 of 44 passes and hand one shot on target. He was also fairly active in defense.
LM:BRUNO LAPA – 8. No longer a regular starter, it seems, but Bruno went 79 minutes in this one. An impressive 85% completion rate on 59 passes. He took a total of 6 shots, 2 were blocked, 2 were off target, 1 was saved and the last one found the back of the net.
CM: ANDERSON ASIEDU – 8. One of these days someone is going to figure out how to dispossess Anderson. Let’s hope that’s far in the future and for now let’s revel in his incredible ball control. He took 3 shots. 1 was predictably over the crossbar, 1 was blocked and the last one was saved.
RM: ENZO MARTINEZ – 8. Should probably get bonus points for wearing a Ukraine flag captain’s armband. Not that he needs the boost. Given a break after 66 minutes, Enzo had already made 67 passes, connecting on 85% and assisting on Bruno’s goal. Amazingly, he took no shots himself.
RWB: MIKEY LOPEZ – 7. Surprisingly Mikey played the full 90. He was fairly busy: he connected on 49 of 60 passes, including 5 of 7 long balls and had 1 shot on target. Almost mad a call for a handball which was ludicrously ignored by the ref.
FWD: PROSPER KASIM – 9. Played just 57 minutes, but that’s he needed. 2 shots in that time, both were blocked, but one of those was by the net. Active all night and did enough to earn Man of the Match honors.
FWD: JUAN AGUDELO – 8. This man is going to completely change the Birmingham Legion. The plan was for him to play the first half, but he went an additional 12 in the second. All 4 of his shots were off target, but his speed and strength and general ability to cause havoc in the box are going to be real fun to watch.
SUB: MARLON SANTOS – 8. A goal in 33 minutes counts as a job well done. His other shot was off frame, but who cares. Gave us a bit of a scare after a heavy challenge, but he seems fine.
SUB: MACKY DIOP – 6. Also played 33 minutes and is looking like a disappointment. No shots taken and he does not seem to have a sense for positioning. At least, not yet with this team.
SUB: JONNY DEAN – 7. Given a rest but played 24 minutes, coming on for Enzo and shifting Mikey to an inside position. Jonny’s speed was far too much for the opponent. No shots, but he connected on 15 of 19 passes.
SUB: EDI HORVAT- 7. In my opinion, Edi should be seeing the field before Macky, and would likely be a good late game replacement for Juan. He had 1 shot off target in 11 official minutes, but could have had 2 more attempts if Macky had not ignored his calls for passes.
HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 7. Tommy’s game plan worked well yesterday, but he had the benefit of an overmatched opponent. The degree of rotation was good, though, and keeping Juan on the field as long as possible was also good.