Player Ratings: Birmingham Legion 1-0 San Diego Loyal
Only baseball has perfect games, but this was close
This game was such a team effort that I was half-tempted not to issue individual ratings. After all, how can you separately rate the various parts of a fully integrated whole? In the end, I decided to give it a shot. Then I had the problem of assigning Man of the Match honors, for the same reason. I toyed with the idea of giving the award to Tommy Soehn, but ultimately gave it to a field player.
GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 8. Another quietish day at the office for MVO. Given that the Loyal were averaging 5.3 shots on goal coming into the match, that he only had to make 2 saves is a huge credit to the defense. Both saves were relatively routine, although he did fumble the second. His passing was better than usual at 69.6% accurate.
LB: MIKEY LOPEZ – 9. Mikey ended up being my choice as Man of the Match. This was easily his best game of the season, possibly of his Legion career. In defense he won 5 of 10 duels and made 2 tackles, 4 clearances and 4 interceptions. He was also well-involved in attack, with 83% passing accuracy on 47 attempts, and had 1 shot that was barely off target.
CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 9. Between them, Phanny and Alex logged 6 clearances (Phanny had 4) but no other defensive actions. That’s how good they were. He won 3 of 7 duels and connected on 88.6% of 35 passes. He also got in the way of late potential equalizer.
CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 9. Got up close and personal with Kyle Vassell in the second half, who was clearly unaccustomed to the frustration the Legion center backs had caused.2 of 5 duels won, and exactly the same passing numbers as Phanny.
RB: JONNY DEAN – 8. Kaylor Hodges informs me that Jonny’s rocket that hit the post also hit a field mic and destroyed it. He also crashed the ad boards at one point. He clearly had devastation on his mind. Only 74.3% accurate with 35 passes, but that includes 5 crosses he sent in (1 finding its target). 3 of 7 in duels, but he made 2 tackles, 5 clearances and 2 interceptions.
CDM: ZACH HERIVAUX – 7.5. Zach is making a very good case to keep Ando out of the starting lineup. Yet another great game for him. An enormous 94.6% accuracy rate on 37 passes, including a successful cross, and a shot on target. He won 5 of 9 duels and made 2 tackles, 1 clearance and 2 interceptions. Picked up a yellow card in the second half.
LM: BRUNO LAPA – 8. Bruno’s 68 minutes ended without him having taken a shot. But he did create a scoring chance and was an impressive 91.9% accurate on 37 passes. He also won 5 of 7 duels and made 3 tackles and 2 interceptions, indicating that the Legion were keeping San Diego well clear of goal.
RM: ENZO MARTINEZ – 8. Enzo came really close to scoring on at least 1 of his 3 shots and probably on a second as well. He was his usual pestilential self and although his numbers don’t necessarily show it, the Loyal were clearly unable to figure him out all game.
LAM: PROSPER KASIM – 8. Prosper was playing as a true winger on Saturday, logging only 1 off-target shot all night. Instead, he attempted 7 crosses. 4 of those were corners and 1 was of course the game-winning assist. And he also switched sides with Marlon as has become a Legion standard. 68 solid minutes.
RAM: MARLON SANTOS – 9. Marlon left the game after 77 minutes cramping up, and that’s hardly surprising. He was in 14 duels, winning 9, and is now just 2 shy of the league lead in fouls won. He took 5 shots, 2 on frame, 2 off (although 1 was literally on the frame) and 1 blocked. He also sent in 4 crosses.
FWD: JUAN AGUDELO – 9. It took him a while, but Juan is coming good on his promise to shoot. He had 5 against San Diego, 1 finding the net, 3 more off target (but that chip came oh so close) and 1 blocked. And his ability to press all the way to the goal line and win balls is becoming extremely useful.
SUB: RYAN JAMES – 7. 22 official minutes for Ryan in which he didn’t really record much. He connected on 2 of just 5 passes, although 2 of the failed passes were crosses, which indicates that the Legion’s late defensive plan was to keep attacking.
SUB: ANDERSON ASIEDU – 8. Came on with Ryan and immediately made an impact on the game. No defensive actions; instead he ran the ball up the gut and created 3 scoring chances in 22 minutes. More attacking defense.
SUB: SADIK BALARABE – 6.5. No goal in his second Legion appearance. He picked up a yellow instead. He came on for Marlon in a last moment change of plans. He was intended to replace Juan but Marlon’s cramping put paid to that, So Sadik played winger and did OK.
SUB: JAKE RUFE – 7. Great to see him back. Just 4 minutes but he managed to make 2 clearances and win 1 duel in that time. The Legion are now very close to full strength.
HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 8. Coach Beers stuck with the 4-3-3 and went with a high press that didn’t relent all game. Good things happen when you make good choices.