Memphis 901 FC, in desperate need of points, faced a tough battle as they kicked off against Group G Leader Birmingham Legion FC. Struck with injuries from Wednesday night’s match, Memphis was without captain Marc Burch and key defenders Mark Segbers and Triston Hodge.
The rivalry between these two teams was felt on the pitch as play got physical from the first whistle. Over ten fouls we’re conceded in the first 20 minutes of play.
Birmingham held 59.4 percent of possession in the first half, but it was Memphis who got on the board first. Memphis newcomer Tommy McCabe played the ball over the top of Birmingham’s defense finding Keanu Marsh-Brown. Composed, Marsh-Brown settled the ball on the fly with his right and chipped it over Birmingham keeper Matt VanOekel who had come off his line.
This was Marsh-Brown’s third goal for Memphis tying him with team leader Brandon Allen.
When these two teams met on August 22, Birmingham scored a penalty-kick goal. This trend continued tonight as Birmingham was awarded a penalty in the 48th minute of the match. Birmingham midfielder Bruno Lupa took his spot at the penalty mark and had Tim Howard going right as he buried the ball in the bottom left corner.
Memphis held 45 percent of possession throughout the second half until the 73rd minute when they went down a man following Dan Metzger’s second yellow card. Following the dismissal of Metzger, Memphis continued to push forward winning 60 percent of duels and tallying four shots.
Jose Baxter’s presence back on the pitch provided quality passing and strong soccer sense to the midfield for Memphis throughout the match.
Memphis defense, led by Zach Carroll and Liam Doyle, held strong fighting off Birmingham’s strong attempts in the final minutes of the match. Tim Howard saved two of three shots faced holding the score to 1-1.
After taking home one point tonight, Memphis still sits in last place within Group G and needs to gain 11 points on second-place Charlotte Independence to reach the playoffs.