Home Playoffs or Failure

There Can Be Success in the Playoffs, but There Will Not Be Growth

This article is partially about the 2-1 loss to the Oakland Roots, but it is more about how this team needs to win out. This team cannot drop a single point. Our home playoff birth has been helped by winning and results going our way.

Now? Detroit City FC is on fire, Legion have to play the best team in the USL, and there is no margin for error. For four years, this team has given the city of Birmingham great highs and crushing lows. While losing a home playoff game last year thanks to a Hoppenot game winner vs Louisville and a Halloween Party the next week, not hosting a home playoff match may be the most crushing defeat of all.

Why So Serious?

The four years of Birmingham Legion FC have brought some of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows that the City of Birmingham has ever seen in sports. 4-2 wins against Memphis 901 FC, coming back from 1-0 after a HORRIBLE offsides call against Pittsburgh, the last minute winner from Anderson against 901, hundreds of hours without conceding a goals, the list goes on and on.

That didn’t go without failures. Having that opportunity to win the division last year, having the opportunity to win it the year prior and completely falling apart, not scoring at home and losing all interest in year one from casual fans. There have been ups and downs. Much like the Oakland Roots match on October 1st. Go up early, conceded 2 to lose a must win match. Feels like the normal story book for Legion.

So, Why Failure?

To me, this talent and coaching is elite. We all know that the talent on this team can compete with the top of the top, crème de la crème, whatever analogy. The Tampa Bays, the Louisvilles, the San Antonios, the San Diegos. Why do I say that? Because we have done it.

I get it. There are fans would will scream “#SOEHNOUT” from the mountain tops. Is there merit to it? Maybe, but I’m not there. We have seen growth out of Coach Soehn and this coaching staff. Khano, Tommy, Eric, and so many more involved have grown like never before. This team can win a championship with Tommy at the wheel. Say what you want about the tactics, but talent comes to Birmingham for a reason.

We have seen Juan produce at a high level, we have seen Prosper become the striker we all thought he could be, we have seen this backline become the best backline in the league. That said, we have moved away from what was successful. We have one of the best squads in the USL. We have seen it play like the best squad in the USL. This is a team that should be competing week in, week out. 3 points against The Miami, FC Tulsa, Las Vegas and we’re sitting comfortably at a home playoff match. That’s all it took. Getting 3 points as opposed to 1 or 0 from ONE of those matches.

So You’re Telling Me There is a Chance…

We need 6 points to ensure that we hold off those pesky TMFJ’s from Detroit. Who is the run in?

Oh, it’s the best team in the USL with San Antonio and an Indy Eleven who looks like the USL’s Boogie Man. What are the chances of getting those 6 points? Well… It’s certainly a possibility.

San Antonio has won 12 straight away matches and Indy Eleven’s narrow system get the better of this 3 Sparks side in Indianapolis a few weeks back. So, TL;DR: not great.

Why Does it Even Matter?

Let me ask you something. 6,000+ people go into BBVA (now PNC) Field. Win or lose, the stadium is full. Now, imagine the excitement of the new fans going into the brand new Protective Stadium.

Fast forward to brand new Protective Stadium. We pulled 10,000 people into the new stadium on the opening match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Imagine what a playoff match could bring. 12,000? 15,000? More? Of those brand new fans, maybe 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, we get 10% to stay and that could be a new foundation that can grow.

I know what you’re saying. Really, Kaylor? We’re freaking out about 500 new fans? Yes, we are. Because those 500 fans talk about it to their friends. They invite their friends. They buy the merchandise. The brand grows to even larger than is it now. Instead of a gimmick, it is seen as a real professional organization. Because 500 fans can turn into 1,000 in the blink of an eye. That’s what this can mean. This can be the kickstart into making this PROFESSIONAL TEAM into more than “minor league soccer.”

Bring in 10,000, 12,000, whatever amount of fans into Protective Stadium. The moment they watch the ball go from Bruno, to Marlon, to Jonny, to Enzo, to the back of the net, they will be fans for life. I can promise you that.

What if We Make a Playoff Run AWAY From Home?

For the players and for the established fans, it would be incredible. I would be excited, but there’s extra talk that comes from home playoff matches. Local media members are more likely to talk about it. Local icons will be in attendance. That matters. A lot. We have been working on getting the people from WJOX to show up. Getting the Roundtable to talk about the matches again. Getting local news to cover the ENTIRE match. That matters. That WILL happen with a home playoff match.

If Legion make a playoff run, but the local cameras aren’t around to capture it, did it even happen? To the new fan. Nope, it did not. Because they will never hear about it. For the sake of this club and to reward the players, we need this home playoff match. It is what this club and its fans deserve.

Changes Coming to Hammering Down

I talked about it in the last episode of Hammering Down, but there are changing coming to the show and the articles. I think they’re great changes, but they are changes. More of that will be uploaded in the next day or two.

Thank you all so much for the love and support.

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