BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham Legion FC and Miami FC each had chances, but neither was able to find a decisive finish as they ended in a 0-0 draw on Wednesday night at Protective Stadium as a late shot off the woodwork by Legion FC’s Zach Herivaux proved the closest either side came to a winner.
Neither side was able to create a clear chance early on, and it wasn’t until the 13th minute that Miami FC’s Joshua Perez got the first real look on goal as he cut inside from the right flank and curled a low shot that was saved by Legion FC’s Matt VanOekel. Perez was again involved 12 minutes later as he won possession after a pass upfield on the right and centered for Florian Valot at the top of the penalty area, with the French playmaker’s shot also denied by VanOekel, but the game went to the break scoreless.
Miami continued to press for the opening goal early in the second half and Perez headed over off a cross by Lamar Walker in the 49th minute before Legion FC’s created its first good look on goal soon after. Enzo Martinez had an initial shot blocked, but regained possession and found a square pass to his right to Anderson Asiedu, whose shot from 25 yards went just wide of the right post. Asiedu threatened again in the 64th minute after a well-worked free kick saw Jonny Dean set up the Ghanaian for a shot from 15 yards that was tipped over by Miami goalkeeper Connor Sparrow, while a few minutes later Phanuel Kavita also forced a good save from Sparrow with a header off a corner kick by Prosper Kasim from the right.
Legion FC continued to try and find the lead as the second half progressed, and with nine minutes to go Herivaux rang the crossbar with a shot from 20 yards toward the top-left corner. Kasim then had a chance to put the hosts ahead in the 87th minute after Herivaux turned over possession in the attacking third, starting a move that set up the Ghanaian in the left side of the penalty area only for Sparrow to come off his line quickly to save. Miami also had a late chance to grab all three points when a clever pass by Adonijah Reid set up Romeo Parkes for a shot that was denied by VanOekel, but neither side was able to find a breakthrough as honors ended even.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Jonny Dean, Birmingham Legion FC – Dean had a strong all-around game, recording one key pass and completing 38 of 48 passes overall while winning 7 of 10 duels and making 10 recoveries defensively.