Player Ratings: FC Tulsa 1-3 Birmingham Legion
Winning without the ball
The team and the league both posted this lineup on their apps as a 4-2-3-1 (yawn). When the team posted the lineup on X I postulated it would be a 4-1-4-1. The Tulsa commentators (otherwise uniformly atrocious) called it a 4-5-1, which is essentially the same thing, so that’s what we’re going with here. With that, here are the ratings:
GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 8. Matt was rather busier than on Saturday, making 4 saves in total including one impressive diving punch over the crossbar. His passing though…apparently it was 30% on just 20 attempts. Both those numbers seem ridiculously low…
LB: MOSES MENSAH –7. Moses stayed deep again as he did against Louisville, but got caught out too narrow and too high on the early Tulsa goal. Other than that, not bad. He won 3 of 5 duels and logged 1 tackle, 2 clearances and 1 interception. Even less passing than Matt: just 17, but he was 82.4% accurate.
CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 7. 16 passes is all Phanny made, connecting on 13 of them. 5 duels, winning 3. 2 tackles, 4 clearances. Only moderately busy considering how much possession Tulsa had.
CB: JAKE RUFE – 7. Jake was pressed into service as a centerback in the forced absence of Alex Crognale. He’s not unused to that position, thankfully. He won just 3 of 9 duels and had only 1 tackle. However, he racked up 7 clearances. That’ll get the job done. 73.9% accurate on 23 passes.
RB: COLLIN SMITH – 7. A somewhat different game than at the weekend, with less high penetration. 4 of 8 in duels, 3 tackles and 1 clearance. 27 of 33 in passing, including one unsuccessful cross.
DM: MATTHEW CORCORAN – 7. Also far less busy than normal. He won only 3 of 7 duels, a bit under par for him and made just 2 tackles. In attack, he created one scoring chance with a cross and went 85% on 20 passes.
LW: DIBA NWEGBO – 8. First of all, Diba was nowhere near offside on that called-off goal. He got the assist on Neco’s final goal, though and also had 2 other shots, one off target and one blocked. Given a bit of a break after a huge performance against Lou City, playing only 64 minutes. In that time he completed 6 of 10 passes.
LM: PROSPER KASIM – 7. Prosper played inside again, and was just as effective. 2 shots, one on frame, the other off. 3 crosses, 2 finding an attacker and 1 chance created. 61.5% accuracy rate on 26 was a tad poor, however.
RM: ENZO MARTINEZ – 8. Enzo had no shots in this game. When did that happen last? He did get the assist on the second goal, not wanting to be outdone keeping the ball in by Diba. He created 2 scoring chances though, and attempted 31 passes (2nd highest on the team and a clue as to how the game was managed). He connected on 23 of them.
RW: JUAN AGUDELO – 7. Just 1 shot – off target – and 80.8% good on 26 passes. However, he was in a whopping 15 duels (although he lost 11 of them) and made 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 2 interceptions.
FWD: NECO BRETT – 9. 3 goals. Man of the Match. Nuff said. He’s now on 78 career league goals, just 1 goal behind Cameron Lancaster and Hadji Barry for second all-time and trailing Dane Kelly’s all-time best 106-goal mark.
SUB: MIKEY LOPEZ – 7. Brought on as defensive support after 64 minutes, replacing Matthew, Mikey went 10 for 11 in passing, won 1 of 3 duels and recorded 1 clearance and 2 interceptions. Not bad.
SUB: TABORT ETAKA PRESTON – 8. Coming on for Diba in his first Legion appearance, Tabort (Preston? Tabortetaka? Who knows. Apparently there are all sorts of variants on his name) showed he is going to be a useful new threat in the Legion arsenal. Especially with his speed. 2 blocked shots, 4 of 8 in duels (in short time!), 1 tackle and 2 blocks.
SUB: GABRIEL ALVES – N/A. In 9 official minutes Gabriel completed 2 of 3 passes and lost 1 duel. That’s all.
SUB: TYLER FREEMAN – 7. Came on with Gabriel and completed all 3 of his passes. 2 of 5 in duels. OK I guess.
SUB: GRAYSON DUPONT – 7. Normally a stoppage time sub appearance doesn’t get a rating, but Grayson was extremely useful in short time. In particular, his breakaway scoring chance that ended in a time-chewing foul was excellent.
HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 8. 3 straight solid team outings now and it looks like Tommy has found a new solution. This team was playing with several key absences and still looked superb.