From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — In its second ever game, the Birmignham Legion Football Club took its second loss in a match against Ottawa Fury FC at BBWVA Compass Field on Saturday. The Legion was bested by the Fury with a score of 1-0.
Ottawa capitalized on an early mistake by the boys in black, and despite Legion FC spending much of the second half around the Fury FC box, the Legion was not able to capitalize on its positioning.
There were two changes to the Legion FC’s starting 11, with No. 96 Tyler Turner coming in for No. 4 Marcel Appiah at the back, and newcomer No. 21 Zach Herivaux coming in to the midfield for No. 10 forward Prosper Kasim. Legion FC started the game playing tentatively, according to Head Coach Tommy Soehn, and only managed to get off one shot in the first 45’.
Ottawa turned a slight advantage in possession in the first half (51 percent) into four total shots, one of which found the back of the net off the foot of forward Carl Haworth in the 16’ minute. The Fury FC captain latched onto a through ball played in by midfielder Wal Fall and put it top corner, just skipping in off the underside of the bar after Legion FC keeper Matt VanOekel got his fingertips to it.
Legion FC changed the formation away from the original 4-2-3-1 in the second half, shifting midfielder Daigo Kobayashi higher up the field and playing more of a 4-1-3-2, with captain Mikey Lopez holding, and forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen initially joining Chandler Hoffman up top.
“We came out really flat…and we made some adjustments,” said Soehn. “I told the guys to be more courageous, and I think we played very tentative in the first half.”
Along with the formation change, and playing much more aggressively, Soehn made a couple early second half substitutions that seemed to boost the Legion FC attack, bringing on No. 7 Brian Wright for Hollinger-Janzen in the 59’ minute and then No. 10 Prosper Kasim for Kobayashi in the 65’. The adjustments helped push Legion FC to taking 11 more shots, including nine from inside the opponent 18-yard box, winning the possession battle 58.6 percent to only 41.4 percent for Ottawa, and attempting 16 open-play crosses in the second half.
The best two chances came from substitutes Wright, and No. 8 Joseph Holland. In the 83’ minute, Wright skillfully brought down a chipped ball by midfielder Daniel Johnson, but his off balance shot attempt was cleared off the line by Ottawa defender Thomas Meilleur-Giguere. Then at the death, at 90’ +4, a Holland header from the top of the six-yard box sailed just wide of the far post.
“I see signs of being a young group, but it’s also time now that we start learning some lessons,” said Soehn. “I think in the second half we were much better, but in the end, we still can’t get that first goal. I think once we get that one the flood gates will open.”