INDIANAPOLIS – Jonathan Dean scored the winner in second-half stoppage time as Birmingham Legion FC took a 2-1 victory against Indy Eleven on Saturday night at Michael A. Carroll Stadium to remain in touch with Louisville City FC at the top of the Atlantic Division standings.
Both teams took time to settle early and the first real look on goal didn’t arrive until the 12th minute when a short corner for Legion FC on the right saw Prosper Kasim pick up possession unmarked in the right side of the penalty area but shoot from a tight angle into the near side-netting. Five minutes later Indy’s Nick Moon set up the first look for the hosts with a pass from the right that picked out Ayoze as he cut through the penalty area, but the Spaniard was unable to cleanly connect with his finish.
Legion FC had arguably its best chance of the first half seven minutes before the break as Dean took a pass from Jaden Servania in the right channel and powered forward into the penalty area before shooting toward the top-left corner of the net, forcing a diving save from Indy goalkeeper Eric Dick. Anderson Asiedu also went close with a shot from 25 yards that took a deflection but flew wide of the right post a couple of minutes later, but nine minutes into the second half Kasim put the visitors in front as he received a pass from Dean at the top of the penalty area and set up a low, left-footed shot that tucked just inside the right post.
Indy almost responded quickly as Nicky Law delivered a cross from outside the top-left corner of the penalty area to the near post where Manuel Arteaga headed just wide of the left upright. The Boys in Blue went even closer with 18 minutes to go as Ayoze curled a ball from the right side into the back post that found Karl Ouimette for a header that hit the crossbar before it was scrambled to safety by the Legion FC defense.
In the 77th minute the equalizer arrived, though, as Ayoze dug out a cross from the left byline to the back post where Jordan Hamilton headed powerfully to score his fifth goal of the season. A minute later Birmingham almost went back ahead as JJ Williams fired a low shot off a cross by Dean that was well saved by Dick, while Hamilton almost grabbed his second of the night with six minutes to go with a low shot from 12 yards that was well saved by Legion FC’s Trevor Spangenberg.
Dean provided the decisive moment for the visitors in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, however, as a cross from the left by Ryan James found him in the right side of the penalty area. Dean slipped a pass inside for Neco Brett, whose shot was blocked, but the ball rebounded to Dean, who fired a low shot into the left corner of the net to give the visitors their second win of the season at Carroll Stadium.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jonathan Dean, Birmingham Legion FC – Dean scored the game-winning goal to add to an earlier assist and completed 43 of 51 passes while recording five key passes overall.
BHM – Prosper Kasim (Jonathan Dean) 54’
IND – Jordan Hamilton (Ayoze) 77’
BHM – Jonathan Dean 90+1’