Current Roster Breakdown

Roster Going into Atlanta United

Our “Best XI” as of February 17th

As of the day I write this, Legion FC obviously has top tier talent at every single part of the pitch. The part that is clearly terrifying is the lack of depth in the defensive half of the pitch. While the lack of depth is a scary thought, the fact is that this defense is one of the best in the USL. All that said, let’s do a short breakdown of each position. Some of these players will be mentioned in multiple positions, but that’s just farther proof how much versatility this club has. Any player that has been here since 2019 (Year One) will have a * beside their name. Any player new to the club will have a % beside their name.

Goal Keepers

Matt Van Oekel*

Matt Van Oekel (MVO) has been the #1 (starting keeper) for as long as Legion have been around. The 35 year old had the best year of his career since his wonderyear at Edmonton in 2016. The Donut King finished as one of the top keepers in the USL, finishing in the finalists for Keeper of the Year. And, of course, he’s been on Hammering Down before so we like him.

Trevor Spangenberg*

Trevor Spangenberg has been here since day one as well, and was the starting keeper in the first ever match the Legion played. Also, at Hammering Down we have friends of the show, but Trevor is our best friend. He’s been on the show three times now, and he’s an absolute legend. He’s a wonderful keeper who would be the #1 at any other club. Absolutely buzzin’ to have him here.

Defense/Backline

Alex Crognale

6’5″. MLS experience. Best friends with Zack Steffen. What else is there to say? Alex has been a mainstay for the 3 Sparks for two years now, and moving into his third year with us, he isn’t going anywhere. He’s one of the skyscrapers Birmingham has on the roster. He’s known to put in bone crunching tackles and a perfect header in the top bins. He’s always a threat anywhere on the pitch. Oh, and he has a very cute dog.

Phanuel Kavita

Kavita Going Nose-to-Nose with SAFC Player

O’ Captain, my captain. A 6’2″ Center Back, Phanuel Kavita just joined the club last season, but he’s quickly become a favorite of everybody around. Barely a third of the season went by and Phanuel was already going nose-to-nose with San Antonio players. The team MVP really showed out for the Legion last year and I cannot wait to see him absolutely out-strength every single player in the USL. Oh, and he also has a very, very cute dog.

Thomas Vancaeyezeele

The first player not 6′, but he’s 5’11” which is still very sizable. The center back can also play in the midfield if he needs to. I personally have him playing in the defensive midfield, but he will absolutely get play in the backline. Don’t sleep on this All-USL player. While he didn’t have the best time with the San Diego Loyal, he showed his class with the 3 Sparks and we hope to rekindle the spark he had with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Zach Herivaux

Zach was a year one guy for the Legion, but left for San Antonio FC for one year, so he’s technically not a guy who has been here since Day One. The 6’1″ midfielder is another guy who can play anywhere from the attacking midfield to center back. While we would much rather use his talents in the midfield, we know we’re in good hands if he has to pick up some minutes on this stacked backline.

Jake Rufe

Jake is a 6’1″ full back from Huntsville, Alabama. Jake has been a quality player off the bench for two years now. He’s one more of the skyscrapers that the Legion can put in the back and be an absolute mammoth for the backline. He also scored his first ever professional goal from the halfway line last year against the Indy Eleven. Not a bad way to get that first goal, eh?

Mikey Lopez*

Mikey is another year one guy who has proven to be an absolute star for the 3 Sparks. He played anywhere from full back to the Center Attacking Mid. His versatility will see him appear in almost every single match. The former MLS Rookie of the Year and NCAA national champion has showed greatness in his defensive presence and continues to impress with brilliant passes and impeccable positioning.

Ryan James

Despite wearing the 7, he’s not a right winger. Ryan is a left full back who will get some play in the midfield, which is where he won the Fan MVP with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The Canadian is an absolute talent who was an absolutely ballhawk, leading the team in interceptions. While he is not as fast as his other fullback counterpart, what he lacks in pace he will make up in amazing positioning.

Jonny Dean

Graphic by USL Tactics

You know the song. He’s here, he’s there, he’s every-wait, this is a family friendly article-where, Jonny Dean! He’s stupid fast, he’s a smart player, he has great vision, and a brilliant ability to pass. What else could you want? My good friend John Morrissey had Jonny as the sole reason that the Legion jumped from the 5th best team in the Eastern Conference to the 5th best team in the entire USL. Yeah, he’s that good. Don’t believe me? Look at this cool graphic John made.

Midfield

Bruno Lapa

Graphic by USL Tactics

Bruno Lapa has been dubbed the name “The Brazilian Magician” for a reason. The midfielder has been the glue that holds this entire system together. You want a USL version of Chris Paul, aka “Point God”? That’s Bruno Lapa. His vision is unmatched. His ability to great the “final pass” is amazing. It was obvious that his talent was missed when he was out for a sports hernia. Now that he is back and healthy, this team is looking to reach new heights.

Anderson Asiedu*

Anderson Asiedu. An absolute dog. An absolute hero. He’s one of the most beloved players in Legion or Hammers history. The defensive midfielder is one of the best players in the USL. He’s considered to be one of the most influential players in this Legion side. In 2019 and 2020, Anderson did have a bit of a hothead, but in 2021 he only got booked twice and calmed down heavily. He’s one of the most improved players in the USL. He has some of the best dribbling and one of the best defensive players the 3 Sparks have to offer.

Thomas Vancaeyezeele

This center back by trade has the ability to be a starter in the midfield. I personally have him playing in the defensive midfield, but he will absolutely get play in the backline. Don’t sleep on this All-USL player. While he didn’t have the best time with the San Diego Loyal, he showed his class with the 3 Sparks and we hope to rekindle the spark he had with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Zach Herivaux

Zach was a year one guy for the Legion, but left for San Antonio FC for one year, so he’s technically not a guy who has been here since Day One. The 6’1″ midfielder is another guy who can play anywhere from the attacking midfield to center back. While we would much rather use his talents in the midfield, we know we’re in good hands if he has to pick up some minutes on this stacked backline.

Enzo Martinez%

Graphic by USL Tactics

Our first brand new player on this list might be one of the most infamous players in Legion history, and one of the best players in USL history. Enzo is famous for being a world class s–thouser, but off the pitch he is known as one of the most humble people ever. He fits perfectly in the midfield for the 3 Sparks and can play ANYWHERE on the pitch in this Tommy-ball system. While my ideal lineup has him on the wings, he will likely get run in the center and center attacking mid positions.

Mikey Lopez*

Mikey is another year one guy who has proven to be an absolute star for the 3 Sparks. He played anywhere from full back to the Center Attacking Mid. His versatility will see him appear in almost every single match. The former MLS Rookie of the Year and NCAA national champion has showed greatness in his defensive presence and continues to impress with brilliant passes and impeccable positioning.

Eli Crognale

Eli, if you haven’t noticed, is the younger brother of center back of Alex Croglane. While Alex may be older and stand 5 inches taller than his younger brother, Eli is NOT in the shadow of Alex. Eli had his breakout season with the 3 Sparks last year scoring two BANGERS that seemed to finally get the monkey off of his back. The 6 foot midfielder can slot in most roles from being that creative 10 to the gritty, ball winning 8. When Eli isn’t playing for the club, he’s flipping houses, which are honestly beautiful.

Matthew Corcoran%

On this list, Matthew is only the second new player to join the club. The other new player we discussed was Enzo Martinez, who has been in the USL since 2013 (9 years). This guy, Matthew Corcoran, would’ve been SEVEN (7) when Enzo made his debut for the Railhawks. Matthew is a 16 year old midfielder who recently signed a professional contract with the 3 Sparks. If you’re wondering why the Legion would sign Matthew, well, he’s considered to be the best u18 talent in the United States. Not bad. He’s a big body who can play the 6, 8, or 10. While I think he’ll primary be a substitute for Anderson or Thomas, his vision and passing ability is already top 5% of the USL. His potential is insane.

Forwards

Prosper Kasim*

Who scored Legion’s first ever goal? Prosper! Prosper! Who scored Legion’s first ever goal? Prosper Kasim! Prosper Kasim is a winger from Ghana. The winger was the first ever goal scorer for the club, but he seemed to open up a new part of his game last year. While in years past, Prosper was a shoot first attacker, he has transitioned to being a dribble, then pass winger. This has singlehandedly changed his entire game and helped the Legion open a new avenue for attack. Oh, and his left foot is pure magic.

Enzo Martinez%

This winger has been mentioned a few times, but it’s purely because he might be one of the more infamous characters in Legion history. Enzo is famous for being a world class s–thouser, but off the pitch he is known as one of the most humble people ever. He fits perfectly in the midfield for the 3 Sparks and can play ANYWHERE on the pitch in this Tommy-ball system. While my ideal lineup has him on the wings, he will likely get run in the center and center attacking mid positions.

Marlon Santos%

Graphic by USL Tactics

Marlon Santos is one of the most talented attackers in the USL. He has the dribbling ability to get around anybody in the USL, the pace to get on the end of almost any ball, and is lethal as a scorer. Despite standing 5’8″, Marlon was the primary free kick target for FC Tulsa last year, scoring several clutch headers. While the Legion has several skyscrapers to target, Marlon is elite at putting the ball in the back of the net.

Macky Diop%

Macky is a player who has been been in the Atlanta United system for a while. The 6’3″ forward is very comparable to former Legion man JJ Williams. While Macky’s stats are not that impressive at Atlanta United, that is not on Macky, in my opinion. If the 3 Sparks play a system that I project they will, Macky will absolutely EXPLODE this year. That said, he is extremely unlikely to join Legion for the match against Atlanta United due to traveling issues.

Edi Horvat%

Of the new signings Legion have made this year, Edi is the one I’m most excited to see. The 6’1″ Croatian is a largely unknown commodity here in the United States, but he has the attributes to become a star in the USL. While highlights are highlights for a reason, his tape from his time at KNK Fužinar is INSANE. He’s big, he’s fast, he has a rocket for a leg, and he’s about to become a fan favorite player. If you’re a non-Legion fan reading this, Edi is about to become a star in this league. Just be ready.

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