It wasn’t pretty.
But in the end it sorta worked out.
Three lightning delays later, the boys in black were able to capture a point on the road in Charlotte, tying with the Independence by a score of 1-1.
This game was very painful to watch until the last 10 minutes or so.
Both sides never seemed to find a groove in a game filled with sloppy passing, poor chance creation and finishing, and lots of walking bodies.
The atmosphere completely changed after USL career goal leader Dane Kelly slotted home a sweet finish in the 83rd minute for the hosts from what seemed to be an impossible angle.
It seemed hopeless for the Legion after this. After all, midfielder Anderson Asiedu had just been sent off so the boys were relying on a mostly exhausted set of 10 men.
But, a spark (pun intended) jolted the Legion players to finish the game with an incredible amount of intensity. Birmingham earned a clutch series of late corner kicks.
It was keeper Matt VanOekel who initially got into the action, sending a powerful, perfectly executed header to the corner of the Charlotte goal in the 92nd minute, which Independence keeper Brandon Miller had to parry away. Then, for a second time, an unmarked VanOekel headed the ensuing corner back into the mix for the ball to land at the feet of Neco Brett, who went down with no call. After many players froze, the ball was flicked to defender Mikey Lopez at the edge of the six-yard box for him to slot home his first goal of the season at the most crucial moment of the game, sending every Legion player and coach into a celebratory frenzy.
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Legion FC worked incredibly hard to ensure a point on the road and remain atop USL Group G.
Legion FC will wrap up its road trip with a match at NCFC on Saturday, August 15, at 6:00 PM CT. The game can be streamed on MY68 and ESPN+.
Photo courtesy of AL.com.