In a Must Win Match, the 3 Sparks Didn’t Win. They Dominated.
You can talk tactics in this match all day long. I can talk about how the team completely dismantled a team who has been a bit of a Boogieman for us in the past. I can talk about how the system last night should be the default, not the exception. I can talk about how the pressing system is exactly what I called for to a T (subtle brag…). But that doesn’t matter. Then what does matter?
We came out and played to dominate from 1′ to 90’+. This was not about winning. It was about sending a message.
The Most Exciting Half in Legion History?
In the first half, we saw:
- A smothering press out of the 3 Sparks.
- A barrage of shots.
- The Save of the Week from Sean Lewis.
- One of the best celebrations in Legion history from Enzo Martinez.
- Allowed only one shot, which was a brilliant save by MVO.
- Prosper goes near post.
- An attempted punch from Neveal Hackshaw.
- One of the greatest flops of all time from Alex Crognale.
I don't know if the missed punch or the dive is funnierJohn Morrissey
Originally tweeted by john morrissey (@USLTactics) on October 13, 2022.
I cannot think of a more fun half. Sure we have scored more goals in one half, but those games did not have an attempted Two Piece and a Biscuit. And the flop by Alex is truly Oscar Worthy. He also got away with a shove that did not even brandish a yellow card. What a moment.
And how about that celebration. How about that goal? A backheel pass from Prosper to Jonny Dean, which is SO similar to his fake backheel earlier this year.
Jonny puts in a nice aerial cross into the box and Enzo goes full Karate Kid and toe pokes in mid-air it far post. Then pandemonium. A scream of excitement. A full sprint and hurdle over the advertisement boards. A Lambo-esque leap into the arms of the supporters. The rest of the team comes sprinting to celebrate. The lights go out, the smoke fills the air, and dream of a home playoff game is coming true.
The true nail in the coffin from Prosper was incredible. The near post shot completely caught Lewis off guard, truly fantastic finish. You can tell how much it meant to him, how much it meant to our fans. Our first ever goal scorer, our first ever Mr. 100, giving us our first home playoff match. Truly magical from the Ghanaian with a Golden Left.
We Have Found Our Penalty Taker
After one of the clearest handballs you have ever seen, Marlon Santos stepped up to the spot for the second time in four days. Marlon has a different approach than we see of other players.
The 5 second stare down of the opposing keeper after the whistle has been blow. The hop step, the run up, then the strike. Oh, the strike. He does not try to place the ball roof of the net. He does not try and fake the keeper. Oh, no. He tries to kill the ball. He is actively trying to rip the net. If the keeper saves it, his wrist will break. Marlon makes you fear saving the ball. Even if the keeper were to save it, there is no holding on to it. There’s little a keeper can do to push the ball away. There will almost certainly be a follow up shot.
Marlon Santos strikes a ball like he hates it, which terrifies me considering he could sky it, but until that happens, I have 100% confidence in the Brazilian.
Playoffs Are Coming Home
The post match has been my favorite part of this season. Seeing young children meet their heroes, seeing parents talk to other parents who also happen to play professional soccer, seeing the supporters celebrate with the players on the pitch. It has been magical, but last night was different.
The realization that the playoffs were coming to Birmingham swept over the entire stadium as they made their way to the pitch. Instead of “good-byes” and “see you next year”, we had, “See you on Sunday!” The smile from our guys who have been here since Day One as they talked to fans who have been here just as long was beautiful. The kids having a kick around scoring BANGERS on the same goals that Enzo, Prosper, and Marlon also scored on just an hour before.
There was something truly magical about last night. I heard people on their phones calling friends, significant others, family about coming to the match and buying tickets. All we can ask for is some beautiful fall weather that we know the Magic City can provide.
Now the Cutest Thing Ever
Ready for one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen?
I just want to share that Enzo and his daughter might be my favorite thing ever.
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!
BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY! GET YOUR FRIENDS TO BUY TICKETS. BUY YOUR FRIENDS TICKETS. DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO GET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO PROTECTIVE STADIUM. NO. MATTER. WHAT.
BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE.
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