Player Ratings: Hartford Athletic 0-1 Birmingham Legion

Good defense, poor offense

The Hartford game was in all senses diametrically opposed to the Loudoun game earlier in the week. Overall, this was a frustrating one to watch, although the Three Sparks did eventually come out on top. Nonetheless, not a great performance overall.

GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 8. MVO earned his 9th clean sheet to move back into a 3-way tie for first in that stat with Louisville’s Kyle Morton and San Antonio’s Jordan Farr. He’s had to make far more saves to get there though: 57 (3rd in the league) as compared with 45 for Farr and just 32 for Morton. Matt made 6 on Saturday, including at least 2 tough ones. His passing remains mediocre: just 57.1% accurate. Still, he earned Man of the Match honors.

LB: MIKEY LOPEZ – 6. Defensively, Mikey was fine. He won 6 of 7 duels and logged 2 tackles, 1 clearance and 1 interception. His passing was OK with an 80.9% accuracy rate on 47 passes. In attack he did almost nothing, acting more as a 3rd center back.

CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 7. USL strikers are learning to stay clear of the man mountain that is Phanuel Kavita. I half expect him to flex his biceps and snap the captain’s armband to intimidate them. Just 4 duels, winning 3, plus 1 tackle, 3 clearances and 1 interception.

CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 7. Alex could have done better with his one shot, heading it straight at keeper Yannik Oettl. His passing was somewhat below par, connecting on 77.1% of his 48 passes. His defense was mixed: he won just 2 of 7 duels, but made 2 tackles and a whopping 7 clearances.

RB: JONNY DEAN – 7. Most importantly, Jonny made no defensive errors in this game and on at least one occasion was clearly careful not to get turned the wrong way as he did Wednesday. He also won 5 of 7 duels and made 1 tackle, 3 clearances and 1 interception. In attack he created 4 good chances, including finding a target on 2 of 3 crosses. 86.8% passing accuracy as well.

LDM: BRUNO LAPA – 7. That Bruno is playing at defensive mid shows how much attacking power the Legion has (it also reinforces the argument for a 4-1-3-2, but that’s another issue). In 59 minutes he connected on 28 of 32 passes, even making 2 crosses (hitting on 1), had 1 shot on frame and 1 off, and was credited with creating 1 scoring chance. He also won 4 of 6 duels and made 2 clearances.

RDM: ZACH HERIVAUX – 7. Another guy whose omission from the starting lineup is getting very hard to justify. He had 1 shot on target and completed 89.2% of his        65 passes. Significantly, he won 8 of 13 duels and had 2 tackles, 1 clearance and 1 interception.

LAM: RYAN JAMES – 6. Not a great game for Ryan. He had 1 shot on target, but it was long range and easily handled; his other shot was off target. His passing was poor: he connected on 13 of just 20 attempts and missed on 3 of 4 crosses. He did generate a scoring chance though. Pulled late to waste a few seconds.

CAM: ENZO MARTINEZ – 8. Enzo was shown the yellow card, but it really should have gone to Juan Agudelo. It did precipitate the typical Enzo theatrics though, always good for entertainment. Both of Enzo’s 2 shots were on target and of course he was not going to waste the ridiculous opportunity handed to him on a silver platter by Oettl.

RAM: PROSPER KASIM – 6. An off day for Prosper who struggled, generating only 1 scoring chance. Just 84% accurate on a lowly 25 passes. 1 of 4 crosses found a friendly player and he had just 1 shot off target. Subbed out after 59 minutes.,

FWD: JUAN AGUDELO – 7. Both of Juan’s shots were fairly early in the game. 1 was on target the other blocked. Other than that, he got relatively scant service and was taken off after 73 minutes.

SUB: ANDERSON ASIEDU – 6. Would you believe Ando won only 1 of 7 duels? Also, in 31 official minutes he made a mere 12 passes, connecting on 10 of those. Nothing in attack and no other defensive actions. Way below his standard.

SUB: MARLON SANTOS – 7. Came on with Ando and his most obvious contribution was hurrying Oettl into that critical mistake. Oddly, though, the stats give him more credit on the defensive side: he won 6 of 8 duels and recorded 3 clearances. 1 shot off frame and made 2 of an incredibly low 4 passes.

SUB: MATAEO BUNBURY – 7. Came on in the 73rd minute. He completed all 6 of his passes and had 1 shot on goal. He was shown the yellow card for a blatant but very necessary tactical foul in stoppage time and thus is not deducted for it.

SUB: GRAYSON DUPONT – N/A. Just 1 minute on the field and 1 complete pass.

HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 6. Tommy’s game plan for this one was not clear at all, at least in attack. Waiting for Hartford to make the inevitable late error to blow the game? Probably not, but that’s how it worked out.

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