LEESBURG, Va. – A pair of second-half goals by Enzo Martinez and Macky Diop earned Birmingham Legion FC a 2-1 victory against Loudoun United FC on Sunday evening at Segra Field despite a late fightback by the hosts after they were reduced to 10 men.
Loudoun jumped out on the front foot and had a pair of early chances, including a flicked header by Rio Hope-Gund that went just over the crossbar off a corner kick from the right by Sami Guediri. Both sides then had opportunities to take the lead in the first half as United’s Luis Zamudio made a good low save on Birmingham’s Anderson Asiedu in the 14th minute before Enzo Martinez had a chance blocked behind by Hayden Sargis eight minutes before the break. Legion FC had the best chance to take the lead a few minutes later when Martinez’s weaving run and low cross from the left side of the penalty area hit a defender and came to Marlon inside the six-yard area, only for his first shot to be saved by Zamudio before the rebound hit the crossbar and fell into the grateful arms of the goalkeeper.
Legion FC had an even better chance to take the lead four minutes into the second half when Bruno Lapa was brought down in the penalty area by Loudoun’s Kimarni Smith. The Brazilian stepped up to take the penalty kick himself, but his shot to the left side of the net was well saved by Zamudio before the rebound was cleared behind for a corner kick. The breakthrough arrived for the hosts just past the hour-mark, however, as Lapa set up Martinez for a shot from 12 yards that he sent into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Loudoun was reduced to 10 men with 19 minutes remaining when Sargis was sent off for an intentional handball that broke up a potential counterattack. Despite that, the hosts had a chance to level in the 79th minute when Smith played a back-heeled pass that set up Gaoussou Samake for a shot that flashed wide of the right post. Less than a minute later Birmingham added a second when Martinez set up Macky Diop, who fired in a shot from the top of the penalty area, but Loudoun quickly responded as a shot by Zoumane Diarra from the top-left edge of the box was deflected across the penalty area, allowing Abdoul Zanne to react quickly and put home a close-range finish for his first goal for United.
Zanne went close to an equalizer with a minute to go as Loudoun manufactured a late chance with a curling cross that the young forward headed on target only for Birmingham’s Matt VanOekel to save. That proved the final chance for the hosts as Birmingham saw out its second win in the last three league outings.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Enzo Martinez, Birmingham Legion FC – Martinez’s first goal for Birmingham arrived at the ideal moment as part of a performance in which he also recorded an assist, two shots and six chances created overall for the visitors.
BHM – Enzo Martinez (Bruno Lapa) 62’
BHM – Macky Diop (Enzo Martinez) 79’
LDN – Abdoul Zanne 80’