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Why Legion FC’s Prosper Kasim was the man for the moment in the Open Cup

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/25/23, 12:40PM EDT


Nicknamed ‘Star Boy’ by fans, the club original delivered another first on a historic night before 12,722 fans

If you ever need to guess which player in Birmingham Legion FC did something first, your best answer will be Prosper Kasim.

Started the first game in club history? Yep, did that.

Scored the first goal in club history? That too, against Louisville City FC on March 31, 2019.

Scored the first goal before the club’s home fans? Indeed, a thrilling stoppage-time winner against Loudoun United FC on April 27, 2019.

Scored the first playoff goal in club history? Not quite, but he did notch the assist on Femi Hollinger-Janzen’s finish against North Carolina FC in the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs.

Scored the first goal against an MLS opponent in club history? You just saw that one, as Kasim and his teammates earned a 1-0 victory on Wednesday night against Charlotte FC before a club-record crowd of 12,722 fans at Protective Stadium to advance to the Quarterfinals of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Prosper likes making history,” said Legion FC captain Phanuel Kavita.

The fans call him Star Boy, and with good reason.

When it comes to big moments, Kasim finds a way to shine.

On Wednesday night, it was another moment where the Ghanaian created something seemingly out of thin air. Receiving a pass from teammate Juan Agudelo as he drifted in from the right touchline, Kasim cut past a defender and onto his trusty left foot. From there, it was a repeat of what we’ve seen time and again over the years, a dart guided to the left corner of the net with power and precision that left the goalkeeper helpless.

“I just realized that there were just two guys behind, and it was a counter,” he said. “So, I felt like I just have to go inside to my favorite foot. It just happened.”

The man of the moment, again.

There could easily be more to come. After victory in the club’s first game against an MLS opponent, Inter Miami CF is set to be the next to come to Protective Stadium in two weeks with a place in the Semifinals on the line.

Legion FC could easily smash their attendance record again for that one with Head Coach Tom Soehn’s squad relishing the atmosphere that provided an awe-inspiring backdrop to Wednesday’s triumph.

“For me [the crowd] was amazing,” said Kavita. “I think especially when we scored, you can tell how loud it was, and coming out at halftime I got excited, because when you’re walking out you just hear a bunch of fans in there, and it’s nice because it gives us confidence and gives us joy and excitement to be playing in front of that many people.

“It’s always fun, and hopefully we can get more fans to come out because I think that allows us to blow up the city and have more people come out and enjoy. To just see the fans in the crowd and everything was incredible.”

That crowd saw a team that bent but didn’t quite break in the first half, and then as a group went on to deliver a second-half display and result that will help shape the club’s future.

“Tonight was a collective win,” said Kasim. “Everyone was fighting hard and then working very hard. I feel like I just happened to be the guy to finish. It was a collective effort.”

When it came to producing the Magic of the Cup in the Magic City, though, there could only be one man for the job.

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