Player Ratings: Birmingham Legion 2-2 FC Tulsa

An exercise in never giving up

About the only thing wrong with this game was not winning. Otherwise it was incredibly enjoyable (except for the gaffe on the second Tulsa goal, that is). And it was mostly a strong performance by the boys in Vulcan black.

GK: MATT VAN OEKEL – 7. There was nothing Matt could have done differently on either goal. He made 4 saves in the game though, and was an impressive 90% accurate on 20 passes.

LB: MOSES MENSAH – 7. Both Legion fullbacks played extremely high, unsurprising in what was clearly intended to be a high press strategy. Moses went 68 minutes and logged just 1 tackle and 1 interception. He won all 3 of his duels. A creditable 84% completion rate on 31 passes, although all 3 attempted crosses failed.

CB: PHANUEL KAVITA – 7.5. Phanny picked up a yellow card and was fairly lucky not to get a second after bumping heads with Phillip Goodrum (who totally deserved it). Even so, 1 tackle, 3 clearances and 1 interception is about par for him. 85% accurate with 53 passes and he had 2 shots on target.

CB: A.J. PATERSON – 6. Between them, AJ and Dawson totally blew the coverage on the second Tulsa goal by Stefan Stojanovic. All told, his defending wasn’t stellar although he isn’t used much at centerback by the Legion. Just 2 clearances, and he lost 4 of 6 duels. A hefty 89% good on 36 passes in 77 minutes.

RB: DAWSON MCCARTNEY – 7. Despite the error and paying very high, Dawson still racked up 1 tackle, 3 clearances and 1 interception. A lowly 3 of 9 in duels, however. Passing was very good at 90% accurate on 41 attempts, including 1 for 4 in crosses. 1 shot off target and he is credited with creating 2 scoring chances.

LDM: KOBE HERNANDEZ-FOSTER –7.5. Another excellent performance from Kobe despite a yellow card. 1 tackle, 1 clearance and 1 interception along with 2 of 6 duels won in defense. In attack, 85% of his 53 passes found targets and he created 4 chances and had 1 shot off target.

RDM: ENZO MARTINEZ – 9. Other than an average 74% completion rate on 31 passes, Enzo’s numbers are off the charts. 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 3 blocks and 2 interceptions to go with sinning 5 of 10 duels. He scored the first goal, of course, but also had 1 shot off target and 3 more blocked. 1 for 2 in crosses and  2 chances created. Man of the Math? Heck, yeah.

LW: PRESTON TABORT ETAKA – 7. Preston played almost as a second striker; the Legion lineup was in some ways a 4-2-2-2. Still, he sent in 4 crosses, never finding a mark. He had 1 shot off target and was good on 11 of 13 passes.

CAM: TYLER PASHER – 8. Tyler went a whopping 6 of 9 in crosses, one of which found Stefano’s head for the equalizer. He’s credited with 8 scoring chances and had 1 of 3 shots on target. 79% good on 43 passes. Quite a showing.

RW: PROSPER KASIM – 8. Prosper was very busy in 60 minutes. He connected on 91% of 21 passes. 2 unsuccessful crosses, though. 2 shot off target but 2 chances created. And he was busy defensively: 3 tackles and 1 interception, as well as going 5 of 6 in duels.

FWD: STEFANO PINHO – 8. Strikers don’t usually go 8 for 10 in passing. They also don’t usually win 8 of 11 duels. They don’t usually make 2 clearances and 1 block. Stefano did all that though. Oh, he also scored the tying goal and had a total of 7 shots (3 on, 3 off, 1 blocked). Impressive.

SUB: DIBA NWEGBO – 8. The 4 Legion subs combined for 35 passes. They missed just one. Diba was good on all 12 of his, including of course the setup on Enzo’s goal. In 30 official minutes also racked up 6 shots, 1 on frame, 3 off and 2 blocked. Ot bad at all.

SUB: MUJEEB MURANA – 7. 22 minutes in relief of Moses. 11 perfect passes and 2 shots off target. Defensively, 2 tackles, 1 clearance and 1 interception; 4 of 5 in duels. That’s getting the job done.

SUB: JAKE RUFE – 7. Responsible for the lone missed sub pass, Jake still connected on 9 passes. He won both his duels and made 2 clearances in 23 minutes.

SUB: FINN CALLOWAY – 7. Another Legion youngblood gets a run out. Putting a 17-year-old on when you are still chasing thew game was a gutsy call, but it worked out fine. He made just 2 passes and made 12 clearance. Looked pretty confident out there.

HC: TOMMY SOEHN – 7. Should the Legion have won this game? Probably. But you can’t fault the attacking mentality behind the tactical choices. After all, when was the last time the Legion made THIRTY shots in a game? Or had 8 on target?

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