BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham Legion FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies both remained undefeated on the season as the visitors notched a second half goal by Sebastian Guenzatti to earn a 1-1 draw at BBVA Field on Saturday night.
Looking for its third consecutive win to start the season, Legion FC struck first in the 16th minute as Bruno Lapa’s hot start to the season continued. A free kick from the left by Lapa picked out Alex Crognale in the middle of the penalty area for a flicked first-time finish that found the right corner of the net. Lapa almost connected with Neco Brett three minutes later when a first-time pass played the Jamaican striker in on goal, but Rowdies goalkeeper Evan Louro got off his line quickly to make the save.
The Rowdies’ first good chance arrived in the 32nd minute as Mustapha Dumbuya got in behind the Birmingham defense thanks to a good pass by Jordan Doherty, and his low cross found Guenzatti for a first-time finish that deflected off Crognale and wide of the right post. Doherty also produced a clever bicycle kick from a narrow angle after Legion FC goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel had come off his line to challenge for a corner, but Van Oekel recovered to save.
Tampa Bay leveled six minutes into the second half, however, as Juan Tejada created space in the left side of the penalty area and delivered a cross into the six-yard area that Guenzatti was perfectly placed to head home. Lewis Hilton then fired a good effort on goal from 30 yards in the 71st minute that had Van Oekel at full stretch to turn aside as it pegged toward the left corner.
Birmingham almost caught a slice of good fortune with 14 minutes to go when a free kick fell to Jacob Rufe, and his turning shot took a deflection on the way to goal but was still well saved by Louro. The Rowdies then had a big chance in the 86th minute to take the lead, but Sebastian Dalgaard’s cross from the right was headed wide of the right post by Kyle Murphy after losing his marker near the penalty spot.
That proved the last big chance for either side, though, as despite some late pretty Birmingham was unable to grab a winner and maintain its 100 percent record.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Bruno Lapa, Birmingham Legion FC – Lapa continued his strong start to his first season with the assist on Legion FC’s goal and completed 34 of 39 passes and four key passes overall in another positive display.