Player Ratings: Birmingham Legion 1-0 New Mexico United

Good marks for everyone

This was very much a team performance and all the more satisfying for that. As such it’s a little hard to rate the guys individually, but we’re going to do it anyway.

GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 9. A big game for Matt. He got the donut, obviously, and made 4 saves in the process, of which only one was easy; one of them made the Save of the Week ballot. He also covered numerous other dangerous balls. A pretty typical 68.2% accurate in passing, but overall definitely a Man of the Match outing.

LB: MOSES MENSAH –6.5. Generally speaking, an error-free game from Moses. He stayed back most of the game so didn’t get caught out. Even so, he was just 3 for 10 in duels, but put up 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 3 interceptions. Took one for the team with the only yellow card of the game right after half time, which caused him some problems. Just 19 passes, of which 15 connected.

CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 8. For once Phanny got to show his attacking chops, with 1 shot off target and another blocked, and 1 chance creation. Despite that he was solid in defense as usual, going 4 for 6 in duels, and logging 2 clearances, 1 block and 2 interceptions. 88.9% good on 45 passes as well.

CB: ALEX CROGNALE – 8. A great game from Alex. On defense, 4 of 6 duels won, together with 1 tackle and a whopping 7 clearances. In attack, he had one headed attempt go just wide. Also a creditable 79.5% accuracy rate on a hefty 73 passes.

RB: COLLIN SMITH – 8. A relatively defensively oriented and very solid game from Collin, although he had 2 shots blocked and sent in 3 crosses, creating one scoring chance. Also was 91.1% accurate on 45 passes. 7 of 8 in duels, 1 tackle, 2 clearances, 2 blocks and 1 interception.

DM: MIKEY LOPEZ – 8. A rare start for Mikey, and he made the most of his 87 minutes. Only 4 of 11 in duels, but he made 2 tackles, 3 clearances and 2 interceptions. His passing was on the nose, with only 6 of 52 tries missing the mark. 1 shot off target.

DM: MATTHEW CORCORAN – 8. 2 shots off frame from Matthew and he probably should have done better with at least one of them (he knew it too). Both counted as chances created. His passing was excellent, with 90.7% of  54 attempts connecting. He win all 3 of his duels and made 1 tackle, 4 clearances and 1 interception.

LW: JUAN AGUDELO – 7. Out on the left wing for this game, Juan was largely effective in his 63 minutes, although he didn’t produce any crosses. He did have 2 shots: 1 off target and 1 blocked. He was a little weak in passing: just 21 of 32 tries found their mark. He was excellent in defense though: 6 of 8 duels, 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 1 block.

CAM: ENZO MARTINEZ – 8. A rather paltry 57.6% accurate on 33 passes, but otherwise Enzo was as threatening as ever. And I don’t mean just to the referees. He had 2 shots, 1 on target and 1 off. He created 3 scoring chances. He was also disruptive to New Mexico, getting in a massive 13 duels, winning 6.

RW: PROSPER KASIM – 8. Prosper went the full 90 exclusively on the right wing and was masterful. He sent in 5 crosses, 3 successfully, created an incredible 6 scoring chances and 3 shots, 1 on, I off, 1 blocked. 74% accuracy rate on 50 passes to boot.

FWD: NECO BRETT – 8. Neco could hardly miss on that goal against his former team, and with it moves into sole possession of second all-time in the USL Championship on 80 career scores. He had 2 other shots as well, 1 on target and the other blocked. Taken off after 79 minutes to raucous acclaim.

SUB: TABORT ETAKA PRESTON – 8. Preston replaced Juan and 10 minutes later got his first assist for the Legion. Beyond that he made the best use of his speed and generally created havoc that New Mexico seemed totally unprepared for.

SUB: GABRIEL ALVES – 8. 11 official minutes of bus parking, which he did perfectly. Perfect on 2 passes and 1 duel, as well as 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 1 block.

SUB: DIBA NWEGBO – 8. Diba was a surprise bench listing, but came on for Neco and defended by, well, attacking. He managed 2 shots, 1 off target and 1 blocked. He also won 2 of 3 duels and put in 1 clearance and 1 block.

SUB: JAKE RUFE – N/A. Just 3 official minutes for Jake and he didn’t record any defensive or attacking actions. All he did was hang around on the goal line, the deepest player on the entire squad, including Matt van Oekel.

HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 8. Another supposed 4-2-3-1 morphs into something else on the field, this time more or less a 4-2-4, which you don’t see too often. He got it right.

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