At this point in the season, Birmingham Legion FC need every point they can get.
The middle of the USL table has been tight for the last few months, as updated standings display the Legion in 10th place, crammed in between Saint Louis FC and Charleston Battery.
In a game with major playoff implications, possibly the most important of the season, the Legion fell 2-0 to Saint Louis FC on Friday, Sept. 13, snapping their nine-game win streak that extended over nearly three months. This allowed Saint Louis to jump Legion FC in the standings.
In that contest, the Legion played 90 minutes of uninspired football. Aside from the controlled performances of Eric Avila and Mikey Lopez, the squad played entirely disconnected on both sides of the ball, giving away possession many times.
After Saint Louis struck first on a first half blast from inside the 18-yard-box, Birmingham desperately threw men forward in sloppy fashion, only to eventually concede a second goal midway through the second half.
Legion forwards Brian Wright and JJ Williams never really found a groove in the contest and were essentially shut down by the Saint Louis backline.
Daniel Johnson played his sloppiest game of the season, making a plethora of erroneous passes and losing the ball multiple times, sparking the Saint Louis counter-attack.
Despite the fact that the Legion led in shots (9-8) and dominated possession (61 to 39 percent), Saint Louis was able to absorb everything Legion FC threw their way.
At this moment in the season, points in the table are so valuable that every single one counts. There is virtually no room for error and the boys cannot afford to take many more losses like they did against Saint Louis.
The Legion will face off against Indy Eleven at home on Friday. Indy has won 17 of 27 contests this season and are currently tied for the lead in the USL Eastern Conference.
With only 20 goals allowed all season, Indy has the best defense in the USL based on stats alone.
Offensively, Indy Eleven are lead by Canadian forward Tyler Pasher, who has scored 25 goals on just 39 shots in 10 contests this season.
In the first matchup between Indy and Birmingham this season, Indy won 3-0 in Lucas Oil Stadium on June 26.
Friday’s match against Indy is set to start at 7 p.m. The match can be streamed live on ESPN+ and viewed on CW21’s tape delayed local broadcast.
Gunnar Sadowey is the sports editor for the Crimson. He is a senior from Elkhart, IN. Gunnar is currently a journalism and mass communications major with a print concentration and a German minor.