Player Ratings: Loudoun United 1-2 Birmingham Legion
A strange one up in Virginia
It’s probably fair to say at this point that assessing Legion lineups and player performances is an exercise in headscratching. The Three Sparks traveled with just 17 players this week, and used all but two (Trevor Spangenberg and Grayson Dupont). This demonstrates the fragility of team roster in this league: what starts the season looking like a very deep squad can quickly become extremely shallow with injuries at the wrong places.
This also of course affects the lineup choices a coach can make. Pretty much everyone was confused at the Legion formation prior to the game. I must have seen at least four different lineups on various platforms, including the ESPN broadcast, which was a 3-4-3 with some highly dubious player placements. As we will see in the Diving Deep post this week, it was actually Tommy Soehn’s old go-to formation, the 4-2-3-1 (although it was affected by substitutions). Not optimal, but hey, when you have no choices, you have no choices. With that in mind, here’s how they did:
GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 7. Yet again, Matt was victimized by his own back line to lose the clean sheet. He made 2 saves in the game, one early and one late and only the early one was anywhere near difficult.
LB: RYAN JAMES – 7. A fairly rare start for Ryan, he played 61 minutes. In that time he generated a creditable 33 passes for 78.8% accuracy, creating one scoring chance. Defensively, 1 tackle and 1 clearance.
CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 8. Phanuel attempted 37 passes. 28 of those were in the attacking half. And only 2 did not find their target. Unsurprisingly, he also got in a shot, but off frame. He only had 3 duels in the game, winning 2 of them, and had just 1 clearance.
CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 7. Alex had one material error in the game, failing to control the ball in front of Amadou Diarra on the assist for the goal. Otherwise, 76.3% completion rate on 59 passes, 4 of 6 duels won, 2 tackles and 1 interception.
RB: JONNY DEAN – 7.5. Generally similar numbers to Ryan on the opposite flank, Jonny went 34 of 43 passing, and was an excellent 77.4% accurate in the attacking half. He also created one chance, and was 1 of 3 in crossing. He also had 1 shot, off target. Loses a half point for a yellow card (which he had little choice but to take).
LM: ANDERSON ASIEDU – 7.5. As ever, Ando was a busy man. A very healthy 90.9% accurate on 33 passes, 1 shot on target again, and 3 chances created. In defense he won 6 of 11 duels, and had 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 2 interceptions. He was shown the yellow card, but it was a completely phantom foul (if not an actual dive).
RM: MIKEY LOPEZ – 6. Probably as a result of Ando being used more in the attack lately, Mikey held back rather and put up no attacking actions at all. However, he was a whopping 93.5% accurate on 31 passes, won 5 of 7 duels, and had 1 clearance and 1 interception. On the other hand, he was responsible for covering Abdoul Zanne on the goal.
LAM: MARLON SANTOS – 8. It’s not too often that a player gets 7 shots in and doesn’t score. It’s even rarer that a shot hots the crossbar and bounces off the keeper’s back and doesn’t go in. 69 minutes that must have really frustrated Marlon.
CAM:BRUNO LAPA – 7.5. Should he have done better on the PK? Maybe, but that was a quality save by Luis Zamudio. Bruno racked up 4 shots, 2 on target and 1 blocked and was an impressive 91.2% accurate on 31 passes in 85 minutes. Spoiled a bit with a yellow card.
RAM: PROSPER KASIM – 7. Only 1 shot off target, but that does not mean hew wasn’t active. 77.4 completion rate on 31 passes, including 2 crosses. 2 chances created. Pulled after 85 minutes for defensive support.
FWD: ENZO MARTINEZ – 8. Enzo is the engine that keeps the Legion moving. His numbers may not show it, but there is absolutely no question he was the Man of the Match. And not just because of the richly deserved goal and the assist. Overall, he also created 5 chances.
SUB: ZACH HERIVAUX – 7. In a slightly odd decision, Zach came on for Ryan, playing much more centrally. Enzo scored barely a minute after he entered the game, so something was clearly right about it. 6 of 9 passing, won 4 of 6 duels, and had 3 tackles.
SUB: MACKY DIOP – 7. 21 official minutes and he started off by blasting a shot right at Zamudio. But then he got two shots in, one of course finding the net, and also forced the red card play.
SUB: THOMAS VANCAEYEZEELE – N/A. Brought with 5 minutes left to see out the game, was perfect on 1 pass and had 1 tackle.
SUB: JAKE RUFE – N/A. Came on with Thomas and did pretty much the same. Took the ball to the corner to kill time, which we haven’t seen the Legion do much lately.
HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 7. This week Tommy did what he could with what he had. But the team’s build up is still way too slow. Now let’s see what he manage with his hobbling team on short rest.