Birmingham Legion FC played to a scoreless draw against Charleston Battery SC on Oct. 5.
With the draw, the Legion will remain in the 10th place spot in the USL Eastern Conference table despite the fact the squad is tied in points (40) with 11th place Charleston.
Until a red card sending off in the 59th minute for Charleston’s Atualla Guerra, the game was very even with only a few chances presenting themselves on a rainy night at BBVA Field in Birmingham.
Two scoring opportunities came about for the Legion within the first six minutes of the match.
A Mikey Lopez half-volley from outside the 18-yard box in the fifth minute skipped directly to Charleston keeper and UAB graduate Joe Kuzminsky.
About 30 seconds later, a corner kick from Legion defender Kyle Culbertson found the head of striker JJ Williams, but his header was redirected a few feet over the crossbar.
Charleston drove down the pitch in the 10th minute of the game as Boston College graduate and Bermuda national team forward Zeiko Lewis forced a great save from Legion goalkeeper Matt Vanoekel, his first of the contest.
The Legion fell just short of net in the 19th minute as Culbertson directed a low cross toward the feet of Legion midfielder Prosper Kasim, whose shot was mishit and slowly rolled directly into the waiting arms of Kuzminsky.
Kasim had another scoring opportunity in the 28th minute as a corner kick from defender Eric Avila found his head as he was left open inside the 18-yard box. However, Kasim’s leaping header flew over the crossbar.
Kasim would test Kuzminsky again in the 43rd minute, but his low shot from nearly 30 yards out was aimed directly at the Charleston keeper.
The last opportunity of the contest fell for Legion midfielder Mikey Lopez in the 89th minute. His header, redirected off a corner from Culbertson, flew over the crossbar once again, ultimately resulting in a draw between the two sides.
“I think the disappointing end is that I knew they were going to sit in because that’s who they are on the road, they get a lot of ties from it, but I felt like we have enough creativity to break them down and we just couldn’t today,” said Head Coach Tommy Soehn. “You could hear a pin drop here in the locker room, everybody is pretty disappointed.”
With time running out and only two games left to play, the squad has little room for error in terms of qualifying for the final USL playoff spot.
“We can’t overlook anybody,” said Legion defender Kyle Fisher in a press conference. “We learned that last time against Swope, and that was just a bit of immaturity from us as players. We still have to focus on the first half of Hartford and take the next 45 minutes as they come, but we can’t look at the full picture of the result.”
The squad will face off against New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at BBVA field in Birmingham.
This make-up contest that was originally cancelled due to rain back in April can be streamed live on ESPN+.
Gunnar Sadowey is the sports editor for the Crimson. He is a junior journalism and mass communications major.