Player Ratings: Birmingham Legion 2-0 Loudoun United

Good marks all around

An interesting and successful game by the Legion, which could signal a change in tactics (more on that in Diving Deep). Here’s how the guys did:

GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 7. Loudoun never really challenged Matt. His 3 saves were all fairly routine on his way to an easy donut. His passing was solid too at 78.4% accurate on 37 tries.

LB: GABRIEL ALVES –6.5. Other than a silly yellow card, another positive performance from Gabriel. In attack he had only 1 unsuccessful cross. Passing though was good: 77.3% success rate on 44 passes, and just slightly less than that in the attacking half. Defensively, 6of 13 in duels, 2 tackles and 3 interceptions.

CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 7. As usual, Phanny was totally avoided in defense, so much so that he was even able to get a shot in, albeit off target. Just 38 passes, but he completed 31 of them. 3 of 4 duels won and 2 tackles.

CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 8. Two straight massive games for Alex now. He won all 9 of his duels, including 3 in the air, made 5 tackles, 6 clearances and 2 interceptions. No attacking actions, but his passing accuracy was a decent 71.9% on a whopping 57 attempts.

RB: JAKE RUFE – 9. Back in the starting lineup due to Collin Smith’s recall by FC Dallas, Jake took the opportunity and made his case convincingly. He connected on 31 of 36 passes and created one scoring chance. Defensively he was a beast, winning 11 of 15 duels, and logging 6 tackles and 6 clearances. With that, he earns our Man of the Match award.

LDM: ANDERSON ASIEDU – 8. Ando didn’t sky his one shot in the game, but it was blocked. He got the beautiful assist on Diba’s game-winner, though. Other than that he had 39 passing attempts for a 79.5% accuracy rate, and 80% in attack. He won 6 of 9 duels, made 2 tackles, 1 block and 1 interception.

RDM: MATTHEW CORCORAN – 8. Matthew got bossed a bit in defense, losing 7 of 8 duels, but he did get 1 clearance and 1 block. In attack, however: 81.5% of his 27 passes connected and he created a whopping 5 scoring chances, including a perfect 3 of 3 crosses and 1 blocked shot. A very impressive 70 minutes from the youngster.

LAM: DIBA NWEGBO – 8. Diba’s best game yet. There’s the goal, of course, which was great, but he had 2 other shots on target as well. All 3 were from close range, too; even better. Nominally the left wing, he was to all intents and purposes the main striker. He only attempted 12 passes, but finished all but 1 of them.

CAM: ENZO MARTINEZ – 8. This game highlighted just how flexible a player Enzo can be, as he was playing much of the time as a defensive mid as well as the CAM position. He managed 1 shot on target (and knew he should have made more of it, too) and one off. Good on 28 of 33 passes. Oh, and there’s the small matter of an assist.

RAM: TYLER PASHER – 7. Tyler was all over the pitch and causing utter mayhem the whole time. He only had 2 shots, one off target and the other blocked, but should have had more; he seems a tad hesitant to pull the trigger sometimes. 79.1% good on a hefty 43 passes, and he also won 4 of 9 duels, a big number from his position.

FWD: JUAN AGUDELO – 7.5. Juan taught a master class in the false 9 in this game. He had just 2 shots, 1 off frame and 1 blocked, but 1 was credited as a scoring chance. Instead, he racked up 45 passes, a ridiculous number for a striker and was good on 75.6% of them. He was in 19 duels, winning 10 of those, and recorded 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 1 block. Picked up a yellow card though.

SUB: NECO BRETT – 8. Neco came on for Matthew, a hugely aggressive move in a game that essentially was already in hand. He locked it down with the brilliant striker’s goal, holding himself perfectly onside for the trough ball.

SUB: MOSES MENSAH – 7. 14 official minutes in relief of Diba. Moses played more of a traditional winger role He didn’t do a great deal other than completing 11 of 12 passes, but that was what was needed at that point.

SUB: BEN REVENO – N/A. Only 5 official minutes. He came on for Gabriel Alves, but played a high right wing position, not a left back. His contribution was 4 passes, the only bad one being an attempted cross. Hmm.

HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 8. If Tommy’s plan was to confuse the hell out of the rest of the league, then I think he succeeded beyond even his own expectations. He certainly baffled Loudoun, and this commentator to boot. Is a new style Legion developing? We shall see.

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