MIAMI – Birmingham Legion FC romped to a 4-0 victory against Miami FC on Wednesday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium that saw the visitors build a four-point lead at the top of Group G and leave Miami’s playoff chances hanging by a thread.
Looking to rebound from defeat on Saturday night, Legion FC threatened early from a free kick as Prosper Kasim fired a low shot from the right to the near post that forced a good save by Miami goalkeeper Mark Pais. After a generally quiet opening half-hour to the game, however, Birmingham struck with 10 minutes to go before halftime as JJ Williams found space on the right side for an excellent cross that found Neco Brett between two defenders for a simple close-range finish.
Birmingham then ended the half on a flourish with Alex Crognale at the middle of things. The center back doubled Legion FC’s lead in the 42nd minute as he rose highest at the top of the six-yard area to head home a finish into the left corner of the net off Bruno Lapa’s corner kick from the right.
Then in the opening minute of stoppage time after Legion FC had recycled a short corner from the right, a beautiful flick by Lapa played Kasim into the right side. While Kasim’s shot was saved by Pais, the rebound came to the left side of the penalty area where Crognale was on hand to turn it home for a three-goal halftime advantage.
Things got worse for Miami 10 minutes into the second half when what looked like an innocuous ball over the top was misplayed by Pais just outside the penalty area, allowing Brett to seize on the loose ball and finish into the open net for his second of the night. The hosts tried to find a way back into the game and Mo Thiaw hit the woodwork in the 63rd minute with a header off a cross by Vincent Bezecourt.
Miami’s Tomas Granitto also went close with 14 minutes go with a powerful shot from the top of the penalty area that went just wide of the left post. Birmingham almost added another nine minutes later as Josh Bauer’s header was blocked away by Janos Loebe, but when Harrison Heath’s chance in the 90th minute went just over the crossbar from 25 yards, it proved the last chance of the night for the hosts.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Alex Crognale, Birmingham Legion FC – Crognale scored twice, completed 17 of 20 passes and made six clearances and one interception as Legion FC took away a vital three points.