Memphis 901 FC unable to hold onto lead in high-stakes Southern Harm rivalry
Playoff implications were at play with Memphis taking on Birmingham for the final time this season, the first at AutoZone Park. The Legion came into the match wanting to distance themselves from eight-seeded Miami while Memphis is still after a home playoff game.
There was little rhythm to the match from kickoff with neither team keeping possession for a notable amount of time. Birmingham were the more direct team, however, pestering Drew Romig with in-swingers and corner kicks from Enzo Martinez.
Despite being on the back foot for the majority of the half, Memphis entered the break on top thanks to a Rodrigo da Costa penalty and a solid job absorbing pressure. Forty seconds into the second half, the momentum of the match flipped with a Legion equalizer off a deflection.
Birmingham pounced on the opportunity and continued to attack. The away side scored again six minutes later with a perfectly placed lob over the top of the Memphis back line from Diba Nwegbo to Nico Brett – allowing the striker to chip it over Romig.
“We didn’t play particularly great the whole night to be perfectly honest,” head coach Stephen Glass said. “[We] gave them two goals and then they managed to sit on it and still threaten on the counter attack.”
Memphis held 73 percent of possession in the second half, but were only able to put two shots on target. Birmingham were able to bunker their defense and frustrate the Memphis attack. Glass went to his bench in an attempt to find an answer, which included Emerson Hyndman who made his return to action after suffering a lower body injury in early August.
Even with the loss, 901 FC did not lose any ground in the standings and is still level with Louisville at 49 points, holding the tiebreaker in both head-to-head and goal difference.
Memphis will be on the road for the final time in the regular season, taking on the El Paso Locomotive on Saturday, October 7 at 7pm.
Photo Credit: D’Angelo Connell Photography
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