Player Ratings: Birmingham 1-1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds

An OK start

It’s been so long since the 2022 season ended that I almost forgot I needed to get this written and posted! Offseason rust doesn’t just affect the players. Anyway, here are the player ratings for Saturday’s game.

GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 7. MVO only had to make 3 saves all night. All of them came in the final 20 minutes of the game. The first he couldn’t stop, the other two were just 2 seconds apart in an incredible double save that is up for Save of the Week. His long passing remains suspect: of 15 deep balls into the attacking half, only 3 found a target and 4 went out of bounds.

LB: MOSES MENSAH – 6. In his first official game for the Legion Moses went the full 90, but wasn’t overly impressive. Defensively he logged 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 2 interceptions, along with winning 6 of 10 duels. Passing was weak, though: 75.5% accurate on 53 passes and no attacking plays at all.

CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 7. As usual, no one tried to get by Phanny. 1 tackle and 1 clearance was all he was required to do, and he won 6 of 8 duels. An okayish 78.8% completion rate on 52 passes, but he barely left his own half.

CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 7.5. Alex got the Legion’s first yellow card of the year just 6 minutes in. No real surprise there, but he made up for it in a Team of the Week performance. Along with the goal he had 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 2 interceptions, and was 5 for 8 in duels. Passing was a solid 81% on 58 attempts.

RB: JAKE RUFE – 8. Jake was yanked after 61 minutes in a rather odd substitution considering the Legion were leading at the time. But in addition to the corner assist on Alex’s goal, he was solid in defense, with 1 tackle, 3 clearances and 1 interception and going 4 of 4 in duels. Passing was a tad iffy at 76% accuracy on 25 passes, but he did create 2 chances.

LDM: ANDERSON ASIEDU – 6.5. Ando was slotted in as the attacking half of a double pivot but struggled with the lack of a real CAM in front of him. He also hampered himself by picking a yellow in the 23rd minute. He had a relatively low 46 passes and connected on 36 of them, but almost all were lateral and went nowhere. He had 2 shots in the game, predictably skying one but the other was on target.

RDM: BEN REVENO – 6. I’ll admit I didn’t really notice Ben very much. Which I suppose ought to be good for a defensive mid. That being said, his stats aren’t exactly sparking. He had no defensive actions, won 3 of 5 duels and was 75% accurate on 48 passes. Like Ando’s, they were largely aimless.

LAM: COLLIN SMITH – 7. Having a 19-year-old play in 3 different positions during a game is a monumental ask. He started at left wing, moved to right wing, and then to right back. As such, it’s hardly surprising that he ended up making a fatal mistake that cost the Three Sparks 2 points. Still, he’s clearly a player with significant upside. He had 1 shot blocked, had a completion rate of 62.5% on 32 passes (including 2 crosses) and won 7 of 9 duels.

CAM: JUAN AGUDELO – 7. Playing essentially as a false 9, Juan had just 1 shot late in the first half (long range and blocked) but that was hardly his fault as there was precious little service. He did create 2 chances himself though. His frustration was ended after 76 minutes.

RM: TYLER PASHER – 8. Alex may have gotten the goal, but Tyler is Man of the Match this week. He was clearly motivated and showed a ton of speed. He had 3 shots, 2 blocked and 1 off target (and probably should have had more), attempted 5 crosses (all unsuccessful though) and also contributed on defense.

FWD: DIBA NWEGBO – 7. Diba suffered from the same problem as Juan – no service. Still, as a Championship rookie playing the striker role he did not do badly at all. He had 2 shots, one on target and one blocked, and both were considered scoring chances. Rested after 77 minutes.

SUB: PROSPER KASIM – 7. None of the 3 subs played in the game had any attacking actions at all, a clear indication that missing a true CAM (i.e., Enzo) had a huge impact on the game. Prosper had just 14 passes in 29 official minutes and found targets on all but one.

SUB: NECO BRETT – 6. 3 passes, 2 connecting. That’s it for 14 minutes. Clearly that will not continue as Neco gets fully match fit, but how far off is that?

SUB: GABRIEL ALVES – 6. I was a little surprised that Gabriel did not start, the Legion leaning heavily on youth in this game. He barely had any opportunity to show what he can do. 4 of 7 in passing.

HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 6. The lineup was announced in the stadium as a 4-3-3, but it played as a 4-2-3-1, a formation the Legion has never been overly successful with. Granted, injuries affected Tommy’s choices, but the selection was still a bit strange and the substitution pattern was totally weird.

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