Player Ratings: Birmingham Legion 3-2 FC Tulsa

A lot better this week

Well, that was quite a game. It’s not often you get to see 5 top quality goals in a single match, but that’s what we were treated to Friday evening. We could have done without two of them of course, but that just added to the excitement. Here’s how we thought the various Legion players performed.

GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 7. Not much Matt could have done on the two bangers Tulsa put past him, especially Marcus Epps’ shot. He still made 3 saves in the game – or 4 if you consider one of them another double save. It’s also worth noting that Tulsa had just 1 shot on target after the 2 goals. He came way off his line to make 3 clearances too.

LB: GABRIEL ALVES – 6.5. Alves got the start over Mensah this week after a cameo appearance last week. In 80 minutes he was almost more involved in attack than in defense, with 4 crosses attempted (of which 1 was good). Overall accuracy was 90% on a low 20 passes. 1 tackle and 4 of 9 dules won. A good performance marred by a yellow card.

CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 7. Phanny did Phanny stuff. A whopping 92.1% accurate on  38 passes, no attacking actions to speak of, 1 of 2 duels won, 2 clearances and 1 interception. If there was a stat for scaring opponents off, he would rank way at the top of the standings.

CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 7.5. A second yellow card for Alex already, this time for dissent after an admittedly bad foul call. That’s offset by the assist on the first Legion goal and a solid overall 87.8% accuracy rate on 41 passes. Defensively he won 2 of 5 duels and racked up 6 clearances and 1 interception.

RB: JAKE RUFE – 6. Jake came off early again, after 57 minutes and right after the second Tulsa goal. He’d been less than effective this time though. He did create 1 scoring chance, but otherwise not so much. A poor 66.7% completion rate on 21 passes, 1 of 6 duels won and 1 clearance. That’s not so great.

LDM: ANDERSON ASIEDU – 6.5. His only shot was low (!!!) and blocked, and he got a predictable yellow card again, but was rather more comfortable playing as the defensive pivot than as the attacking pivot last week. He was in 16 duels, winning half of them, had 4 tackles, 1 clearance, 1 block and 2 interceptions. He connected on 28 of 31 passes.

RDM: PROSPER KASIM – 7. Prosper was playing in a rather unaccustomed position as the right and attacking half of the double pivot. It was a moderately successful experiment in the 58 minutes it lasted. He had one shot off frame and generated 1 chance, and was a decent 77.8% good on 18 passes. He won 3 of 8 duels, put up 2 tackles and made 1 key clearance.

LAM: JUAN AGUDELO – 8. A very different game for Juan, which saw him in a new position and all over the field. In attack he had 3 shots, 1 blocked, 1 saved and the other – the bicycle kick – nearly took out Kaylor Hodges and yours truly behind the ad boards. He completed 30 of 36 passes, won 4 of 13 duels (not so great) and made an impressive 4 tackles, 3 clearances, 1 block and 2 interceptions.

CAM: TYLER PASHER – 9. No surprise here: Tyler gets his second straight Man of the Match award. 2 highlight reel goals – especially the second – will do that. He has Jonny Dean’s speed and an eye for the net. 3 other shots in the game, 2 on target and 1 blocked, as well as 4 crosses, of which 3 were successful. Quite a night.

RAM: COLLIN SMITH – 7. Clearly, Tommy Soehn has some faith in this youngster, having him play two positions in the game again, this time pushing him to right back after Jake exited. In attack he created 1 chance and had 1 shot off target. Overall his passing accuracy was 77.8% on 36 tries. He won an incredible 10 of 12 duels and made 3 tackles.

FWD: DIBA NWEGBO – 7. This kid has massive upside and it won’t be long before he starts to really produce. He had 3 shots in the game, with 2 on target and was also offside once (which you actually want to see from a forward). He came out in the 58th minute, so those numbers look even better.

SUB: BEN REVENO – 7. Ben was much more useful this week than against Pittsburgh. 33 official minutes he missed on only 1 of 14 passes, and there is the small matter of the assist on the game-winning goal. He also had 1 shot blocked and won 3 of 4 duels.

SUB: NECO BRETT – 8. An assist to tie the game up and a goal to win it. That’s clutch. With him back to full fitness, the Legion will have a major embarrassment of attacking riches.

SUB: ENZO MARTINEZ – 7. Enzo’s primary contribution to the game – other than raising a massive cheer as he entered – was a professional foul to stop a breakaway attack, along with the normal dramatics that followed. Man, it’s good to see him back in action.

SUB: MOSES MENSAH – 7. The Legion now has two good options at left back, so I imagine we will see Moses and Gabriel tag teaming all year. 10 official minutes, 1 tackle and 2 of 3 duels won.

HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 7. Another strange game plan, but this one worked out very well in the end. Tommy essentially relied on the squad’s ability to play flexibly in a near Total Football style. Having that kind of faith in your players is a great quality in a coach.

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