Memphis, Tenn. – With a four-match winning streak and chance at the top spot in the Eastern Conference on the line, Memphis 901 FC is set to host Birmingham Legion FC in the latest installment of the Southern Harm rivalry on Saturday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m. CT at AutoZone Park.
Memphis is coming off of their fourth consecutive victory after defeating New Mexico United 2-0 in Albuquerque on Wednesday. 901 FC moved to 16-5-3 on the season and surpassed the club record for points earned in a season, previously set at 50 in 2021, with 51 points and 10 matches remaining in the regular season. 901 FC looks to capitalize off the momentum going into Saturday’s match against fourth-place Birmingham.
Legion FC carries their own momentum into the weekend’s meeting after winning four of their last five matches before most recently coming out with a 2-1 loss to Eastern Conference foe Detroit City FC on Wednesday.
Birmingham holds a 7-4-0 road record and won the last matchup in the series after scoring the lone goal of the June 8th match in the 90th minute. Legion goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel leads the league with 11 clean sheets and command the Birmingham defense against a high-powered Memphis attack led by Forward Phillip Goodrum and midfielder Aaron Molloy
The matchup marks the final test in a series of three top-5 matches in eight days for 901 FC. With a victory, Memphis will have the opportunity to overtake Louisville City FC for the top spot in the Eastern Conference while Birmingham could use three points in pursuit of a securing home field advantage in the playoffs.
“This is the first time we’ve played three matches in eight days. They’ve rotated some guys and they didn’t get the result tonight so they might have that motivation. They beat us last match so we want to come out with spirit. We’ll be at home so hopefully we can get a good crowd for the last home Saturday match. Sometimes in these derby matches you can just throw records and form out. We’re just going to have to get on and play the best game possible.” – Ben Pirmann
History in the Making…
Memphis 901 FC is currently enjoying their best season since its start in the bluff city in 2019. After a playoff appearance last season, the club has established itself as a title contender with only five losses in 24 matches played. The battle at the top of the eastern conference has only intensified entering the second half of the season. 901 FC sits at second in the eastern conference with 10 matches remaining in the regular season, including a September 23 rematch against Louisville City FC.
Memphis 901 FC have defended AutoZone Park with only three losses in their 12 matches at home. The Boys in Blue managed a six-match home winning streak going back to may 14 while averaging 3.60 goals per match and +14 goal differential, putting 901 fc in the top three in both categories in the league.
Race for the Golden Boot…
Phillip Goodrum has been the jet fuel as the man up top for one of the most dangerous attacking teams in the league. The forward has netted 14 goals this season, currently sitting in fourth in the USL Championship. Memphis is unbeaten in the 12 of the 13 matches Goodrum found the back of the net including a 5-2 statement victory on june 5 when he scored two goals against his former club Atlanta United 2.
Goals Scored Leaderboard:
1 – Milan Iloski – 189
T2 – Ottar Magnus Karlsson – 15
T2 – Hadji Barry – 15
4 – Phillip Goodrum – 14
5 – Augustine williams – 13
Memphis 901 FC boasts one of the most dynamic duos of midfielders in the USL Championship with Aaron Molloy leading the league in assists with 10 and Jeremy Kelly not far behind tied at third with eight. Molloy has made his hay as the squad’s primary kickstarter picking up seven team of the week nods this season. Kelly has been at the center of the 901 fc attack since moving from the back line this season. Kelly was tabbed as the USL Championship player of the month in may after a stretch of three goals and three assists in four victories for 901 FC while picking up six team of the week nods this season.
1 – Aaron Molloy – 10
2 – Cameron Lindley – 9
T3- Jeremy Kelly – 8
T3- Hadji Barry – 8
T3 – Kenardo Forbes – 8
Set Piece Superstar…
Aaron Molloy has made his name as one of the most dangerous legs from the set piece in the USL Championship. Seven of the midfielder’s 10 assists this season have come off of the set piece, but not before scoring his first goal of the season on a free kick strike from 20 yards out against Oakland Roots on March 19. Molloy is currently tied for fifth in chances created with 50 this season.
Let the Kid Cook…
Seventeen-year-old Nighte pickering already made history as the club’s youngest professional signing ever on August 4, but it wasn’t the young forward’s highlight of the week. Pickering made his debut in last Saturday’s match vs. Hartford athletic, coming on as a substitution in the second half before notching his first USL career goal on a SportsCenter top-10 worthy bicycle kick that sealed the 3-1 victory and took home the USL Championship goal of the week.