Photo courtesy Birmingham Legion FC
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham Legion FC made its debut at new home venue Protective Stadium on Sunday afternoon as a welcoming crowd saw the side fall 4-0 against Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United FC in a preseason friendly. While the contest saw the Three Sparks suffer defeat, the atmosphere was one that should leave fans excited for more.
Legion FC showed flashes of their potential throughout the match. The new additions of midfielder Enzo Martinez and forward Edi Horvat threatened the Atlanta goal on multiple occasions in the first half, but an early BHM own goal, followed by a goal from Atlanta forward Josef Martinez saw the visitors take a 2-0 lead into the break.
United tacked on two more goals courtesy of Martinez and fullback Ronald Hernandez right after the restart to cap the scoring. Legion FC again managed to break into the Atlanta penalty area through substitutes Prosper Kasim or Marlon Santos, and on a full-field Jonny Dean run down the right but was unable to break through.
All involved thanked the fans for their support and spoke highly of the atmosphere and amenities at Protective Stadium. Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn said he and the team is looking forward to the season playing in this “amazing” venue.
“Today was great,” said Soehn. “You know, I love our fans, I’ve always said that. They’re fantastic. And our supporters groups, they were all out in numbers. Today was an awesome experience. It’s not often you get Atlanta United to come visit you. And our fans, it made for a really cool atmosphere…Obviously, we faced Atlanta which is no easy game to play against. They’ve been in season a lot longer than we have and it showed tonight. But for us it’s a great experience, shows what we need to work on, but ultimately it gave our fans a taste of what this place is going to be like.
“A lot of [what we need to work on] is about the attack — we just got three of our attackers in this week [Macky Diop, Kasim and Santos] so we haven’t had time to really work them. You can see the chemistry isn’t there yet, but we have three more weeks to work and bring those guys in.”